***This post was originally password protected, I was afraid of offending someone. But, this morning I decided that my opinion on my blog is mine alone. With that said, I hope you stick around for the whole post, but I also hope that I don’t offend you – as it’s not my intention***
I was nominated by The Little Butch That Could nearly a month ago. For that I apologize. I have been meaning to sit down and write this post, but with Easter, I now feel like I may have an answer to the question you posed!
The rules for accepting the award are:
Thank the person who gave you the award.
Thanks again for thinking of me, and I hope people will set out and read your blog here!
Complete the challenge they set you.
Select a blog or blogs that you want to give the award to. The amount of blogs you select is up to you.
Tell them about it and set them a challenge.
Please include the rules in your post
The challenge set forth to me was this:
“When was the last time you changed your mind about something you believed strongly?”
Well, by the very nature of this blog, it’s likely obvious the answer to my question. But, with Easter just leaving us, I have been mulling around how I might write the post in such a way to get my point across. I know that I have many believers in my followers, friends, and family who read my blog. I’m pretty open about my wish to raise our daughter, with Kim’s wishes as well, as religion free as possible. I think I have been pretty clear about why.
So, when was the last time I changed my mind about something I believed strongly?
The day I declared I didn’t believe there was a God or a Jesus – not in the way that is described in the Bible. That’s the last time I changed my mind on something so strongly held in my belief system.
It isn’t something I changed my mind lightly about. I was a Christian – I grew up in the church. I was baptized three times in my life. Once when I was a baby in the Methodist Church; not because my parents were altogether religious people, but because that’s what is expected of a couple to do in a small town.
The second time I was a tween; in a non-denominational Pentecostal Church. My grandmother took me there every Sunday and every Wednesday night and we worshiped and we sang and my heart was truly filled overflowing with the spirit of the Lord. My belief was solidified when my dad became a “jailhouse convert”. If my prayers could be answered and someone like my dad could be saved, then there must be a God.
The third time, I had moved to another small town, my senior year in high school; away from all my family and friends I had grown up with. I had no one to turn to, the girls at school invited me to church. I went. I was involved in their Youth Ministry, I spent time learning all the worship songs, attending church every chance I could get. I read the Bible from the beginning to the end, studied it (yet never fully understood), kept the word as gospel.
In college, I took a Bible to school with me. I was the girl who actually said the words “I don’t believe in homosexuality, it’s wrong because the Bible says it is.” But, when I tried to get into the church lifestyle there, I never found anything that really stuck with me. I began to question how true my beliefs were, when my best friend came out to me. I loved her anyway. I began to realize that God couldn’t possibly damn anyone who loved another of his creation to Hell. Not when my best friend was so pure and loving and kind-hearted. That’s just not possible that she was damned to Hell because she loved women.
And from there, I began to continue to question, but never fully renouncing the belief. Not until a few years ago, when I just decided things didn’t add up for me. When the calls for prayers over surgeries began to make me uncomfortable.Why not ask for steady hands for the surgeon or instead of thanking God that the surgery went well, thank the surgeon who went to school for many years. The empty words of “You are in my prayers” were written on every sympathy card I ever signed and yet, I couldn’t bring myself to write those words.
I began to realize that religion doesn’t allow you to question. It doesn’t like when you are curious. I am a curious mind. I have a knack for asking questions and people have yet to have an answer for the questions I’ve been asking since I was a believer. The questions that I asked and brushed aside the pastor’s vague or non-response and continued to ‘just have faith’.
– If Adam and Eve were the first people on Earth, where are the dinosaurs? We know they exist, science says they existed. If Adam and Eve were in fact first creatures on Earth, what role did dinosaurs play? I never really came across them in the Bible.
– Also, if Adam and Eve were the first people on Earth, does that make them the original cavemen? The Bible makes them out to be simple and pure minded, but they did seem more intelligent than the primitive cavemen of science. So, where are the cavemen? Did we suddenly devolve since the time of the Bible?
And on a more relevant note, I have been thinking of Easter. The time when Jesus, the son of God, was crucified, died for other people’s sins and then rose again three days later. And while the traditional Christian holiday of Easter celebrates the day that Jesus rose from the dead, we modern people celebrate it on a different day each year.
I began to wonder why?
I learned that it was determined, by someone, somewhere that Easter would be celebrated on the first Sunday after the first Full Moon after the Spring Solstice. The Spring Solstice being a pagan holiday. Once again, a pagan holiday has been adapted to Christian holiday and it just so happens there’s a neat, fantastical story to go with it? I don’t know that I buy that. Who’s to say, and we will never know the truth, any of us; that it wasn’t more like this:
The pagans got rowdy during the Spring Solstice and celebrated a little too much for the religion people’s liking. So they made their own holiday just happen to coincide. The two holidays rivaled for a bit, but soon the Christian faith and ideology became more popular, and they began to overtake the pagan holiday; making it only a distant memory.
Perhaps another way for Christians to bully another religion and take over with their own beliefs and stories?
What if it’s like the lyrics to a song “Wonderful” in my most favorite Broadway Musical:
A man’s called a traitor – or liberator
A rich man’s a thief – or philanthropist
Is one a crusader – or ruthless invader?
It’s all in which label
Is able to persist
There are precious few at ease
With moral ambiguities
So we act as though they don’t exist
And, how much of the Easter story is left to conjecture, hearsay, rumors? Do we know when the story was ACTUALLY written? The story in the Bible is written in third person, where most first person accounts (according to a pastor I once asked) were written by people in real time, who had really been there to witness the events. So, third person accounts of this miraculous rise of the Lord and Savior of the Christian people. But, when?
I’d like to know, as my questioning mind tends to do so, when it was that the book was written? Was it written shortly after -as told by someone who actually witnessed it? Or was it written after several word of mouth people told the story and it was then written down for posterity? If that’s the case, there’s cause for translation errors; opinions; he said, she said type vague accounts; and is quite susceptible to the possible embellishment of the own writers’ creative license.
In a time when fear was the main motivator to get people to do what it was they wanted; and a time when oppression and crucifixion was a means of punishment, people were bound to believe anything leaders told them, and then come to fully make their minds bend to make that reality. And then as more people talk and more people believe, it becomes a group think type situation.
I’m not saying this is what’s happened. I’m simply saying it’s possible and no one can say for sure. No one living today knows the true story and no one living today knows what is truth or fiction in the Bible. We only have ‘faith’.
And while I have no qualms with faith – those who have it, more power to them. I don’t have issues with people who believe the story, who dispute my mistrust in the story that just can’t add up in my head.
I do have qualms with people who don’t question. I do have qualms with people who don’t try and get answers to their questions. So, blind faith, without research and lots of questions are never truly a belief, but an action.
And it causes people to do and think things that hurt other people. Such as using the Bible to justify the means to mistreat and oppress entire groups of people. A book, which is chalk full of holes and possibly susceptible to errors and mis translation; opinion and perhaps embellishment or hearsay.
Can we say for sure that any of it is true? No. Does it matter if it is? No.
At the end of the day, if you believe in God and Jesus and you get to Heaven, your life will be fulfilled. If you find there was no Heaven, but you lived your life without judgement and loved your neighbor, you life will still be fulfilled.
And at the end of the day, I will continue to be a good person, teach my child to question things and make up her own mind about God, Christianity, and religion. And if I raise a good and decent human being by the time I die and I don’t find Heaven at the end of it; my life will be fulfilled.
So while we don’t celebrate the rise of Jesus – we do celebrate family and being a good person. And we celebrate the giant magical bunny that poops jellybeans, hides eggs, and sugars up my very dressed up kid! 😉 Because who doesn’t like an excuse to put a pretty three year old in a fluffy dress and tiny heels??!!
I challenge you to write about: “What is the moment in your life that made you who you are today?”