Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Religion: Spirituality!

I go to church, and I like it. At the same time it is hard to do so without wanting to get into the whole debate over what my testimony is. Many people asked. I guess this post is it, as close as it gets in few words. I am one of those people that says "I'm spiritual, not religious". People that second that sentiment are trending right now because they are disillusioned or can't identify with the restrictions of religion anymore. Or, like in my case, do not want to. If I felt that a single religion can answer my questions I'd have no problem whatsoever sticking with every rule that comes with it but that just isn't the case. I used to be very religious, and my beliefs have not changed. However, the limitations that come with these restrictions have alienated me a little bit over the past few years. And I don't mean the no alcohol, no sex before marriage or no lying parts...

I was born and raised Catholic but was baptized again in my Christian church community in California in 2006. One can already tell that a certain development took place there. I never drank alcohol before, I had never had sex and I wasn't a big fan of lying ever so acclimatizing to a new "religion" was pretty easy, especially since we were talking about the same Jesus. What I preferred in my Christian community over the Catholic ideas was that I was able to have my own dialogue with God, not through a priest. And the service actually gave me something. Not drinking, waiting until marriage and all the other things that people assume happen for religious reasons sounded reasonable to me, too. Not to do these things wasn't necessarily a religious rule I obeyed but a choice I considered valuable. I had become religious.

Over the past few years I have increasingly abandoned thinking of my life in the frame of a religion which is a bad development in some parts but in most it was good. However, this hasn't happened because I wanted to drink or have sex but because for me the rules of Christianity did not end up making me a better Christian. I think Christianity is a fantastic religion and I identify with its values. The part where I started to disagree was that obeying these rules would affect my relationship with God. When I started to drink occasionally at age 20 my beliefs, my faith and my relationship to God was not altered. I hung out with people that were not living a Christian lifestyle but were exceptional people. For me to judge their heavenly potential seemed to disrespect the rule "love thy neighbor!" And that sentence is really the only religion I chose to live after...

I then came to realize that this in fact the limitation of the frame I don't want to live with. I want to have an open mind in my life about all kinds of situations, and I'd like to extend this ability on the unknown. I don't know what or who God is and I want to have the chance to be wowed once I find out for sure which I expect can only happen after death. I therefore believe there is something but I refuse to put any sort of tag on it, even the tag "God". What I believe in is much bigger than anything describable by a word. There can be learning from every person whether they're Christian or Catholic, Muslim or Atheist. I do not want to limit myself to a religion to find out what the true meaning of everything is. I believe few human beings have found it. I believe Jesus to be one of the enlightened ones but in my eyes that doesn't rule out Siddhartha as another person that has understood life better than us. 

My ultimate goal is to become the best person I can be. I am nowhere close to being the person I want to be or can be but I know that I want to consider everything in order to get there. I want to obey Jesus' rule of loving my neighbor because I feel it's the best way to live, not because I feel I have to do that to please that God of mine. I met many Atheists who were incredibly loving and Christians and Muslims who were very judgmental. For me that is a sign that there is no right or wrong for us to assess who we are. We do not decide what is right or wrong. The only thing that the first 25 years of my life have taught me is that I don't know very much so how can I assume to be right about something that extends forever. That brain of mine can't even comprehend that number, forever

I decided to not spend my life thinking about what could happen because frankly, I think in the end we're all wrong. We talk about eternity, and yet we're not physically able to understand eternity. We talk about unconditional love but have failed to define what love is. Both science and religion cannot make true sense of some things. I will accept that I don't have all the answers. I won't cease to ask questions but my realm extends any dimension science or religion could answer. Since these notions are freakishly bending the boundaries of all existing religions the only thing that remains is the mere idea of spirituality. What that spirit is doesn't matter as long as it helps me figure out where I need to go. And that includes where the parts of me go that I have not yet figured out...

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