Archives For beliefs

As the years go by I am convinced that the most abused thing in this world is the name of God. Everyday it seems that there is another person, group, religious sect that take God’s name in vain. The story below is about Jehovah’s Witnesses sect hiding, even from their own congregations, the child abusers among them.  Here are some of the words from the PBS Newshour report on this subject.  If you want to see the entire interview click on the source below:

2015-02-17_10-53-21Believers are taught to renounce secular society because it’s controlled by Satan, and not to socialize too much with outsiders. But charges of sexual abuse have brought this insular community under greater scrutiny. And now, in this San Francisco courtroom, the first child abuse case against the Jehovah’s Witnesses to go to trial is under way….

The case hinges on letters from Jehovah’s Witness leaders to the heads of local congregations. For almost 20 years, they have ordered them to send reports like this one for every known child abuser, to hide these cases from their congregations, and not to cooperate with law enforcement or the courts, unless instructed to….

They have refused judges’ orders to turn over these abuse reports, so no one knows how many cases like Conti’s are out there….

SOURCE:  Did leaders of Jehovah’s Witnesses cover up child sex abuse?.

I must admit that I know very little about the Jehovah’s Witnesses other than the fact they often do door-to-door solicitation to get new members. I was not aware that they think the world outside their organization is controlled by Satan and that they alone are the only true followers of God.  For that reason they keep pretty much to themselves. They are for the most part probably told what to believe and what to do in almost every life circumstances. They simply do what their leaders tell them to do. But then again this same thing to one degree or another can be said for many other organizations who espouse to have all the answers about God.

There are so many today that mourn the shrinking number of those who claim to be religious. But who can blame the young person, both outside and even within these religious sects for having doubts. Just look around the world today and it is easy to see that most of the wars and killings are done in the name of God, all thousand versions of him!  How can that not be a turn-off for people beginning their life’s spiritual journey?

One of the best things about our country’s constitution and one of the worst things is the right to believe spiritually what you want to believe. It is definitely a double-edged blade. Yes, it does keep us from persecuting others who have different beliefs from us but it also allows the very groups that are being protected to strike out against everyone else. It protects us from the abusers but also protects the abusers.

There are so many different versions of God around today it would seem almost impossible for a young person not to be turned off by the totally different views of God. I have my own personal beliefs about God but I am not going to try to force those beliefs on you.  If only all religious institutions would agree to coexist with each other the world would be a much better place…

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If Grace Is True…..

November 30, 2014

2014-11-30_07-48-26I didn’t consider this for many years. I actually thought my experiences rare. I was one of the chosen. I was special. Now I know the truth. God whispers his love in every ear. He isn’t interested in declaring his love to a select few. He doesn’t limit his presence to Vatican City, to the halls of seminaries, to the offices of preachers, or to church altars. God doesn’t restrict his communication to the Bible. He doesn’t confine his presence to any single denomination or religion. God speaks to all people, even when they’re not inclined to listen.

Gulley, Philip; Mulholland, James “If Grace Is True: Why God Will Save Every Person”. HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

These and many other words like them from Philip Gulley speak to my heart. I too have come to stubbornly recognized their truth.  God speaks to all people and no one group is his “favorite”. Like Mr. Gulley I was brought up to believe that all those other religions and even those versions of Christianity different from mine were all going to hell as we were the only ones who got it right. We were the chosen few that God selected to be with him for an eternity. All those others would leave this earth to an eternity of suffering and anguish.

It was kind of nice to think that at least we had it made and that our eternity was assured. But what about my good friend down the street who went to a different church than me? What about another friend who didn’t go to church at all! Would they suffer like nothing I could imagine? Why is God lacking mercy for them? These types of questions tormented me even as a youth.

Later in life I belonged to a Christian denomination that believed in a 100% literal Bible. To them God had absolutely nothing more to say about his relation to us. It was all in the Bible and nothing else could be added.  They seemed to be stifling God by saying that he does not speak to us today. That reminds me of the question a young child said in a recent post here. “Why does Jesus want us to talk to him when he says nothing in return?  The biblical inerrancy part troubled me even more. I read words in that document that seemed to say the opposite of what I was told was the absolute truth. When I started publicly voicing my questions I was figuratively shown the door. The clerical leader did not want me to poison his congregation with my heresy.

I have matured greatly as a believer in God since those years. I  see a God who loves us all and wants all of us to be with him. I finally see that no one has a lock on God and what he is…… We all have in wrong in one degree or another. No one can really know the unfathonable heart of God.  We are human, how can it be otherwise?

2014-08-26_17-21-49This is going to be one of those posts that jerks at my soul.

I remember hearing the title phrase pretty frequently when I was growing up. It usually meant that the speaker was surprised at what I had done and usually disapproved of it.

Today it seems so many people are doing things, abominable things, in the name of God. Almost every war in my lifetime has been in the name of God. So much hatred is spewed in his name. If God is really paying attention to all of us puny human beings I wonder if he is also say the same thing. “What are you doing in my name???”

They say that Mother Teresa often had doubts about the existence of God. Here is a quote from her about that from Wikipedia

“Where is my faith? Even deep down there is nothing but emptiness and darkness. If there be God—please forgive me. When I try to raise my thoughts to Heaven, there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts return like sharp knives and hurt my very soul. How painful is this unknown pain—I have no Faith. Repulsed, empty, no faith, no love, no zeal, What do I labor for? If there be no God, there can be no soul. If there be no soul then, Jesus, You also are not true.”

I am certainly no Mother Teresa but I too have doubts on occasion whether God is really there and involved in our personal lives as they say he is. At times he seems very remote to me. With all this evil going on in the name of God why doesn’t he set us straight and tell us to quit killing each other in his name?  Why does he allow so many radically different beliefs about him to even exist? If there is a God it seems he would put a stop to all this idiotic garbage!

To try to resolve my conflict I spent thousands of hours over a ten-year period studying theological things. I approached the study with a somewhat open mind given the religious baggage I carried into it.  One thing I gleaned from this journey is just how close-minded most are when it come to beliefs. Once we latch onto their favorite religious system we tend to shut down any openness to anything else. Most will never study or give any credence to another possibility. We, for the most part, are convinced that we have it right and everyone else is just plain wrong. This fact is true of every religious brand out there.  Christianity alone has over 40,000 different versions of faith!  Who can figure it out?

There have been millions savagely killed in the name of God. Realizing this fact has caused me periods of depression. I found that the only way I could effectively deal with that was to simply walk away from the conflicting views.  I know that I am no one but I have concluded  that we are all seeking the same God and that eventually all of us will be reconciled with the true image of God. Due to our stubbornness, it won’t likely happen in this life for many, perhaps most, of us but I believe it will happen. If God truly loves us all, and I believe he does, he will eventually bring everyone back to him. This belief changes my view of many things including fortifying the belief that we are ALL God’s children and are meant to love each other as He taught us. It is sad that we can’t seem to do just that….

 

Old School….

November 30, 2013

OldSchool

One of my neighbors is just an old-school type of guy. He continues to burn off the leaves around his house instead of composting them or using some other more environmentally friendly method of disposing them.  In many ways he continues to hang on to the ways of the past. He is radically conservative anti-Obama in a very Red State so he fits quite nicely in his environs; much more so than I do.  We seldom agree on things of a political nature. But…. despite our political, and often environmental, differences we continue to be good neighbors and pretty good friends.

We both have a very reverent place in our lives for our versions of God. We both recognize the humanity of man. I think my neighbor would give me the shirt off his back if I asked for it.  But he is an old-school type of guy. 🙂

To Be a Christian….

December 12, 2012

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To be like Christ is to be a Christian  – 1718   William Penn’s last words  

Although I have never attended a meeting I feel quite close to the Society of Friends known as Quakers. They are so throughly grounded in “being” a Christian instead of just proclaiming a set of beliefs.  To see William Penn’s last words here it is obvious that he was a faithful Quaker.

This is a post that I have carried over from my other blog at RedLetterLiving. It is about an epiphany I had several years ago about my spiritual beliefs. I wanted to share it with my readers here.

Posted on October 22, 2012 at RedLetterLiving.net

In 1997 Richard Carlson wrote a very popular book entitled Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff…. and it’s all small stuff. In that book he listed one hundred things to make our lives more peaceful. Some of those topics that I took to heart included: Continue Reading…