I’ve gone from Fundamental Christianity, to agnostic, to new Atheist, and now to A-theistic A-gnostic. I use the hyphens in my current designation to bring attention to the basic meaning of the words. Basically, I don’t have a Theistic system I follow and I don’t claim to know jack.
I’ve gone through these phases by studying, reading, and conversing with leaders and followers of all types ( I call these ventures my field studies). After coming through all these titles to a less aggressive and open not knowing shit stance, I’ve had time to reflect, humbly and honestly, on what I have learned from religion.
1. You Reap What’s Been Sown
Ah, the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13) paired with “You reap what you sow. (Galatians 6:7). This was a favorite of my farmer-turned-Pastor’s weekly sermons. The farming metaphor was drilled so far into my mind that it will never leave.
But it’s a universal truth that can be applied to anything really. What our parents down into us, will we see bloom in our lives later on: be it abuse, wisdom, or neglect. Bad attitudes often sow negativity, and creates a harvest cycle of negativity. Hospitality and good deeds, likewise, brings the same when down and the individual falls into their own hard times; after all, we’re all more likely to help those who helped us, aren’t we?
2. Not all Religions/Denominations/People are ” Religious”.
We’ve all seen Atheists do this a lot in defense of the “Atheism is a religion too” argument:
1. belief in, worship of, or obedience to a supernatural power or powers considered to be divine or to have control of human destiny
2. any formal or institutionalized expression of such belief: the Christian religion
3. the attitude and feeling of one who believes in a transcendent controlling power or powers
Newsflash: Google, Webster, and Collins are not the gods of word meanings. Yes, yes, it’s a dictionary. But language belongs to those who are communicating. It’s a tool, a subjective one. Words change meaning at the drop of a hat. A “wall” now, when one “posts” on it, for example, almost always means FB now. Before FB, it spoke of people tacking things physically to a wall.
So no, not all religions fit all mighty Webster’s definition. Which leads to my next point:
3. Not all Religions believe in a God, or find it necessary to do so.
I learned this soon after jumping out of fundamental Christianity and into atudying. Ancient and Reform Judaism. Both give no clear definition of God, no face, no none metaphorical descriptive words. Ask a Jew, oftentimes what or who God is and they won’t give you a definitive answer.
Ancient Judaism (think Old Testament) is riddled with doubt and woes over the focal question we all ask at times “Where are you God?” Reform Judaism was best explained to me in books and from meeting with a local Rabbi. When told of my disbelief, he responded: “Judaism has always queationed, and these questions are encouraged even questioning the very existence of god”.
As far as Christianity, some follow the ” once saved always saved” doctrine. In this case, I’m still a Christian since I did the prayer and was “born-again,” as my family says: “I’m just on a journey.”
4. Religion has many assholes.
We’ve all met these, they’re everywhere. And no, they’re not exclusive to religion. However. When one goes into an honest search and quest to “find themselves” and meet such people it can and does deter many from the religion. Instantly. The wiser seekers will head my last point below, but when one keeps trying and finding nothing by condescending, holier-than-thou, fire and brimstone preaching, guilt tripping, damning, judgmental representatives of a religion…. Well, one can only take so much before they cross that religion off their list.
5. Fundamentals, Hate Groups, and Terrorist do not represent the entire religion.
This can be best exemplified with a modern example: NYC after 9-11. Almost every was out from a Muslim. The ridiculous profiling (often those profiled, not a Muslim at all) went hay-wire for a while.
Despite many Islam-haters interpretation of the Koran, many Muslims are very peaceful people who have interpreted THEIR (its their book, let them interpret how they want) Holy Book in a completely different fashion than the Terrorist we like to jokingly describe as strapping bombs to themselves.
The old adage reigns true here: ” Don’t miss the Forrest for the trees.” Many religions have a vast wealth of knowledge concerning culture, community, spirituality, and life wisdom. Don’t miss it.
What do you think of this list? Is it true? Would you add any or take any out?
Leave your thoughts!