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30 August 2007 @ 11:50 am
Why I'm a "Believer"  
I am a believer because I have had too many experiences where I felt in touch with something or someone not to be. I know there is definitely something more than science can measure. Either that or I am delusional--I concede the possibility.

However, what I believe, how I choose to interpret these feelings and what they mean spiritually, that is a result of my meandering religious path through my Protestant upbringing, my Catholic teen years, my joining the Hare Krsna movement and studying other Eastern schools of thought, and my brush with new age literature, as well as knowing members of several faiths well enough to have a fair handle on what they believe. I also studied the anthropology of religion and got some insight as to how religions are created, and realized that many religions were created by people feeling the kinds of connections I feel and then trying to explain it, not just that they wanted to create a nice bedtime story to reassure themselves about the nature of the world.

As I moved through different belief systems, trying to find a whole system that "fit" what I believed or that seemed "right" to me, I gradually noticed that my sense of connection to the divine (as I conceive it) and the joy I felt as a result, did not change from faith to faith. I always felt that I was having a relationship with the same "person" no matter which name I was using.

I began to think about it from the perspective of a deity. You have this one planet among many with life forms upon it. Many sentient beings in a vast universe, in fact, more than one universe. Some of those beings are reaching out to know you, to love you, from their various cultures and with varying degrees of ability to understand and conceive of you.

Do you expect them all to follow just one religion? Do you really care deeply about the specific rituals they use to connect with you? What silly rules they follow in order not to invoke your wrath? Are you deeply concerned with their individual sex lives? Or are you more focused on the desire to see all these various beings strive to live in harmony with each other and evolve to take on their own parts in maintaining the "music of the spheres" as some call it?

If you try to communicate with them to encourage them to embrace a path of spiritual growth and harmony with others, would you try to impose the same form of worship and belief on all these diverse groups or would you look at each group and craft your message to resonate with their culture and level of understanding?

At the same time I was having these thoughts, I was reading more and more books by long time practitioners of various faiths, and seeing a commonality in their language and methodology that crossed religious boundaries. It seemed no matter where they started, or how different the details of their paths looked, they were ending up talking about the same kinds of things and using very similar language if one accounted for religious terminology.

I began to think that as we make progress we are all led to a similar level of realization, even if the outward form looks different to a casual observer. The Christian monk, former nun, Buddhist monk, Hindu guru, witch, etc., were really coming to a similar platform and the joy in their paths seemed identical.

Influenced, perhaps, by my American individualist conditioning, I came to believe that each of us should follow an individualized course of spiritual learning (our religion) that is best for each of us to connect with the deity or deities we feel called to connect with (if we feel called at all).

Therefore, I do not feel moved at all to debate the "rightness" of my position on any spiritual matter. I feel no need to convert anyone. If the fundie Christian feels they need a highly structured and strict religious environment and that works for them, go fundie! Just don't try to make your beliefs law!
 
 
 
Angie: What Would Joanith Do?xtremeroswellia on August 30th, 2007 07:24 pm (UTC)
Yeah...this is pretty much the same conclusion I've come to as well. Lovely post! <3
Tapatitapati on August 30th, 2007 07:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Mari Adkinsmariadkins on August 30th, 2007 08:02 pm (UTC)
I am a believer because I have had too many experiences where I felt in touch with something or someone not to be. I know there is definitely something more than science can measure.

Exactly...

Either that or I am delusional--I concede the possibility.

In Gwyddonics, we say that all Third Degrees are insane, and there's a reason for this insanity...:cough:

realized that many religions were created by people feeling the kinds of connections I feel and then trying to explain it, not just that they wanted to create a nice bedtime story to reassure themselves about the nature of the world

While we don't know for sure and likely never will, we're fairly certain this is where Gwyddonics came from (aside from being created by Co-Masons).

I began to think that as we make progress we are all led to a similar level of realization, even if the outward form looks different to a casual observer.

:nods: Indeed!
(Anonymous) on August 30th, 2007 10:31 pm (UTC)
About 20 years ago, my husband and I attended a Unitarian Universalist (UU) church service. During the service, the minister talked about how belief is like a mountain with many people climbing it. Some take the easy paths, some take the difficult paths, some make their own paths. But each is getting to the top of the same mountain. There was more to her analogy, but it was enough for my agnostic husband to say "we're coming back here." And my self-defined family trad Celtic pagan whatever agreed. For we found all kinds of spiritual paths there, all co-existing with each other and not trying to change anyone else. It does work.

Tapatitapati on September 2nd, 2007 04:55 pm (UTC)
I love the UU model and if I could get myself up early on a Sunday, I'd go to a UU church. :)

I'm so lazy...
(Anonymous) on September 2nd, 2007 04:13 am (UTC)
tapati
Hi Tapati, Pranams!

I just wanted to say "thank you" for making the Gaudiya Repercussions website. It was very helpful when I had to deconstruct some realities. I started reading it about 2005 (?) after
the website that Darwin had for the longest time closed [that was a very informative website also].

I wanted to tell you a long time ago but you don't have a feature on that site where you can post anonymously.

I think it's a nice service that you did. I'm sorry to hear about all of your bad things but happy to hear about all of the good stuff in your life also. And since I can't post anonymously on G-R [can you edit out this part after you read it?] I would like you to give a shout-out to Dhyana, Chanahari, and also Prsni because I really enjoyed all of their writings too.

Well good luck with everything!
Tapatitapati on September 2nd, 2007 04:53 pm (UTC)
Re: tapati
Thank you very much. We've pondered the possibility of having a guest comment area and the objection I always get is that it may draw a lot of trolls and offensive material, and of course we have had a lot of spammers try to join so they could post their porno links. We are worried that it would require a lot of work to monitor and delete such offensive and pornographic content. I may try once again to present the idea and at least give it a trial run.

I couldn't edit your comment because that's not an option. If you want me to delete it, let me know.

Blessed be,

Tapati