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Feb 5, 2010

Faith, Lurkers and Inspiration...

I am loving the delurking! Feel free to keep on popping your heads out of the shadows: I really enjoy hearing from you! I am planning on doing a blog post on you, my dear lurkers, tomorrow! So, you have approximately 24 hours to come out of the closet if you wish to be included!! I really would love it if you were! 


I was just inspired by Bethany over at IN BLOOM to post a little earlier than first planned. 

She was sharing her struggles with finding a new balance in her post divorce world. Titled Welcome to the Broken, it sums up beautifully the desperation of creating a new faith system out of the wreck and ruins of the old one. She calls it her "faith crisis". 

Faith crisis indeed. Long have I walked the paths of the "faith crisis" and felt utterly bereft of any and all help. The help that was offered did not satisfy my single burning question: "WHY?". The bible didn't answer it, and neither did god, regardless of how often I plunged myself into prayer and supplication, or read the well worn (scribbled over) pages in my bible. 

I deconverted. A long, drawn process which ultimately led to some peace, happiness, and more importantly, balance, in my life. A process I wouldn't wish on my own worse enemy. To deny everything that you have been taught (and believed) since childhood isn't pleasant, to say the least. I cannot say this process would be suited to everyone, nor that everyone should follow my way. 

But I will say, that most people deserve and need to re-evaluate their faith systems on a semi-regular basis, just like an oil change or a change of hairstyle. People need to stop, look and think. Particularly if they are veering into hurtful or harmful territory (check out this checklist for more), or if they are pushing people away based on belief systems alone. 

What are my beliefs right now? Many people like to put me in the atheist box, even though I think I really don't fit well in there. I  personally would align myself most closely as an apathetic/pragmatic agnostic. Belief/lack of belief is a really personal, complicated issue, and I no longer wish to "own" a black and white belief system, in that it judges other people based solely on sexuality, gender etc. I would still class myself as spiritual person, not just as in a faith based sense.

So how does this lack of faith impact me now, particularly as I am looking at attending church again on a semi regular basis?

Well, for one thing I am not really attending church for myself/my spiritual experiences, etc. I am attending church solely for Miss Dee and expand on her previously narrow experiences with the Christian/other faiths. I don't attend without her.

My now innate cynicism, means that I question (and in turn, get her to question) every part of the service and people involved in it. I am open and honest with her when there is something hurtful or biased said, and get her to think of the people that I have introduced her to (and that she already knows) that would be judged under that system. But above all, I am very clear on my (and Justin's) own lack of faith. I keep informing her that ultimately her choices in that arena are up to her, and her mind: but that it is equally important to remember that if you chose not to believe, you can still be a good person. Good and Christian/faith believing, don't always go together. Churches which could be such forces for good, often aren't, thanks to the people that inhabit their pews.



Bethany Patchin said...

yes yes yes. Not long winded at all! It takes bravery and honesty to keep going in this direction. Your daughter will be so much better for it. I can't stand labels anymore - I feel like I switch from agnostic to Christian and back about 500 times a day. And I just don't see other people in terms of them UNLESS they are pharisees/fundamentalists.

Bethany Patchin said...

The church I've found the love at is Presbyterian. Don't know how well the Presbyterians are acting in Australia, but might be worth a look.

Finbarpurpleton said...

Hi Jo,

This is soely my opinion but, I've been reading a lot of your entries pertaining to Christianity and to be honest I find a lot of your views biased and over generalised. You need proof as well as personal experience. You shouldn't critise things you don't trully understand.
Also (still my opinion)God and religion are too seperate things. Religion specifically Christianity is a man made insitution which is merely a vehicle to reach God and to please him. A relationship with God and trully believing in him and having faith with or without church to me is entirely different. I believe the Bible is written by God and man and has been reinterpreted many times by man to suit there understanding and unfortunately to suit there own goals and belief systems which I agree with you can lead to abuse. I also agree its a very patriachial based religion, but so are many others. I perfer to think of the Bible as a collection of stories and history and its from this we can learn. It can't be taken in the same context as today because it is an entirely different culture then now. However, you must remember not all Christians are bad or think they are hollier then thou, it's a stereotype. And maybe when people who get come to faith lose contact with friends is because they have troubles reconecting with those who haven't or have disconected entirely. I perfer to say I am a secular Christian and I will always be your friend no matter what, whether you're Christian or not. Given your experience some of your opinions are valid, but some are not.
For some Christianity gives people hope and meaning in life. No one can "interupt there joyful ignorance," because they truly believe.

Melissa :)


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