01 February 2008

This I Believe

I have many beliefs - social beliefs, political beliefs, emotional beliefs. My beliefs are a central part of who I am and why I react the way I do to that which happens around me. But today, rather than write about those beliefs, I'm going to write about another belief that I have a harder time verbalizing. My belief in life after death.

I was baptized Catholic, had my first communion and believed in the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost for much of my formative years. It wasn't until I'd moved to Florida at 15 that I started looking at other religions. I went to Youth Group with my best friends in high school, an Assemblies of God church. That was where some of my hot button topics, like abortion and sexuality, came into play. (Strange, isn't it, that it wasn't the Catholic Church where these questions came up. I think I was too young at the time to realize they were hot button topics.) My friends would speak about how abortion was always wrong, how those that were gay were sinning, and I couldn't get my head around that thinking. I think that's where I first started breaking from the church, though I did flirt with it once more when I got to college. Though, to be honest, a large part of why I went to service in college was because it gave me a chance to sing.

After college, I started thinking more seriously about what I believed. I had friends that were Wiccan, friends that were Buddhist, friends that were Jewish, Christian, Atheist, Agnostic... you name it, I've known someone who has practiced the religion.

Seeing so many believers of so many religions made me think that there couldn't be one true religion and the rest were all false beliefs. How could such large portions of the world be condemned to hell if the Christian view in which I was raised was the correct one? For all that the word is Belief, what makes one belief right and others wrong? And all of the religions that say "Ours is the only way" seem to rely on blind faith. While I have no problem with faith, it's the "blind" part that I have a problem with. It's difficult to tell the difference between magic and science when you're not nearly as advanced as those who are showing you their tricks.

I knew that there was something out there. I've had too many things happen in my life that I can't chalk up to coincidence. Too many experiences that border on the mystic. But what was out there?

I finally decided that it didn't mater what was out there. They all, in the end, were one in the same. Whether it is the Universe, God, Yaweh, the Great Mother... they all were one in the same - someone to believe in, to watch over us, to guide us. I don't think s/he/they/it care what we call them - for all that many bibles claim otherwise. The importance is that they ARE there more than the belief that they are.

I'm not sure if I'm getting this written as clearly as I would like to. I think I'm going to have to dwell on it a little more. I would like to discuss my beliefs with anyone who would like to, though. And maybe I'll take another go at writing this belief up, of clarifying it more, in a month or so.

It's sometimes easier to know your belief than it is to put it into words.