Thursday, January 20, 2011

So ya gotta have faith...

The question of religion is coming up now that I declared that I don't think I'm an atheist. And it's funny because before I usually avoided religious conversations because people get offended or angry when they meet an atheist. And I don't want to make people angry or uncomfortable.

But since I said that here, it seems like religion is popping up everywhere. First, I've had several blog readers send email asking about it. I've also had several comments from readers in the comments section. Outside of the blog world, religion came up at work several times this week and it came up again today in a discussion of foster parenting.

I'm not really sure I can pinpoint my change of heart as far as religion goes. First and foremost, I want to say I am not ready to believe in Jesus, God, the Bible, or ready to commit to Christianity. I think I've become agnostic. I believe in a higher being of some kind, but am not really sure of who or what. I would say I'm not faithless any longer.

In reality, I would say I lean more toward Judaism than anything else.

And for those who wonder what changed my mind... that's sort of a weird evolution. I think it boils down to the fact that since I've started at Alcatraz, which is a faith based institution, and working with those kids, seeing them change and turn for good, seeing what they've survived in their home lives, hearing people's stories... well, it's influenced me. I also think I was called to serve at this place, at this time... it's not easy for me to say that but I really feel that's why I'm changing my ideology.

I don't know if that's a very good answer to any of this because I'm still sorting it out myself. It's interesting. It's challenging. It's... well, I guess it's faith.

Oh sheesh. Faith. Just what I need. I have a teenage son about ready to go to college, I'm looking for new housing, I might get married, I might be a foster parent, I have a fairly new job--- yeah, let's just toss God in here. Yeah, that helps a lot. Hmmmmm, looking at that list might indicate I could use some god.

I liked it when religion was Madonna and "Like A Prayer" or George Michael and "Ya Gotta have Faith".

Maggie Mae


Tiffanee said...

With Faith you will figure it all out!! Best Wishes on everything.

Evil Pixie said...

Perhaps a more appropriate word to describe you is spiritual. That leaves all the baggage of religion on the street. It is interesting you bring this up because Mum and I were just talking about this a couple of days ago.

I consider myself very lucky. I was raised Catholic, but by the time I was 10 - Mum knew I wasn't going to be Catholic. She let me explore what was out there, ask questions (even when she knew it would stir up trouble), and come to my own conclusions about spirituality, religion, faith, etc. And even though my conclusions are not the same as hers (she is no longer part of the Catholic faith but does believe in God), she respects my own beliefs. But, I came about my conclusions unconventionally and at a very young age, and I have no regrets - though I continue to explore, read, and question what is out there (respectfully).

That said, what I find truly interesting is that those who purport to have strong faith and be good Christians are the ones who find my questions and explorations the most offensive (no matter how sensitively I ask). This occurs 95% of the time.

Spirituality... faith... Christianity... Whatever you call it, just remember to not allow convention and conformity to dictate your foundation. While George Michael sang "You Gotta Have Faith" and Madonna bumps and grinds to "Like a Prayer," Ziggy Marley sang "Be True to Myself."

Jimmie Earl said...

Better to believe in something larger than oneself, than nothing at all. I like the word "spiritual" too. It sums up the feeling of having faith, being able to demonstrate that faith or spirituality out in the real world on a daily basis, without coming across as "preachy" or "religious." I think being spiritual is an attitude of being positive, kind and basically heeding the "golden rule." Our Native Americans ancestors believed in the "Great Spirit." But was he the Christian God? No! They had never heard of God until missionaries moved into their territories and tried to convert them. I could go on...but I won't! (Lucky you)


Shan said...

You might try a little C.S. Lewis if you haven't read any of his books aside from the Narnia ones. Surprised by Joy is the one about him becoming a believer I think. He was such a neat guy and completely brilliant. :)

When I get discouraged in my faith, God tends to perform personal miracles in my life that seem like little gifts just for me. It is incredible to me that when I seek him he is always there patiently waiting.

Maggie said...

Tiffanee- well said! And thanks- I'm gonna need all the luck I can get.

Evil P- thanks for your thoughts. Good points and excellent food for thought. And no matter what, I do always stay true to myself.

JE- can I believe in the Great Spirit? It sounds an awful lot like The Great Pumpkin. I don't mean that as disrespectful but it just caught me as a funny!

Shan- I'll certainly pick up the LEwis book- thank you for the recommendation! And I'm so pleased (and even a tiny bit jealous) that you have such amazing faith and find strength in it.