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I Just Don't Know

My dad is a pastor. So I've been raised in a super Christian environment. 

I yearn for those long ago days, when I was happy.

I can barely remember them now, but there are some things I can remember. I can remember childish delight and a firm belief in Christianity.

But now. I do still believe in God. I guess it's almost programmed into me. But I don't pray to God to tell him how much I love him and how much my ridiculously public displays of belief in Him just shamed all Christians. I pray to Him to tell Him how much I hate my life, and how I don't believe that He personifies love.

All the personality tests I've ever taken, for school and for fun, have always told me that I'm very logical or realistic. I like my facts. I like things that can be proved. And that's one of my biggest problems with religion. Religion is faith, faith, faith. To religious people, everything in their holy text is sacred, unquestionably true. The thing is, they need to be able to justify that to nonreligious people using FACTS. Otherwise, they just sound like nutheads.

I mean, do all of these Christians realize how crazy they sound? Every single time I surf the Internet and see posts about suicide, I inevitably see some response that looks like this:

YOU JUST NEED TO LET JESUS INTO YOUR HEART AND HE WILL MAKE IT ALL BETTER. I WAS IN THE SAME POSITION AS YOU AND I LET JESUS INTO MY LIFE AND HE MADE EVERYTHING BETTER TRUST ME HONEY JESUS IS THE WAY, THE LIFE, THE TRUTH. THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN FEEL BETTER IS TO ACCEPT JESUS AND ASK FORGIVENESS FOR YOUR SINS.

Gee, writing with Caps Lock is definitely the way to get the message across. I mean, yes, you are getting a message across. However, the message you're sending is not "Jesus is great" it's more along the lines of "I'm ignorant." And also. You can't tell someone, "Oh hey. I got religion. I felt better. Go get religion."

It's not that simple. IF people choose a religion, that's their own choice, their own journey. You yelling at them is not going to make anything better. Writing in all caps is actually very off-putting and every single time someone does that, they contribute to that image of irritating Christians who randomly show up on your doorstep to preach at you.

And I'm not just hating on Christianity. Plenty of other religions have stupid crap like that. The best example would probably be extremist Muslims, who decide that blowing up people is the way they want to promote their religion. The only reason I have so much to criticize about Christianity is because I would really like to believe in it. I would like to believe in a loving God. But I just can't. How could I possibly believe in something that so many different people have twisted and perverted to suit their own needs? You have all the different types of Orthodox Christians, you have the Catholics, you have the huge variety of Protestants. Who's right?

If anyone has any insight on this...I'd love to hear it. Please.
eris39 eris39 16-17, F 4 Responses Sep 23, 2011

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Hey hon. I completely get where you are coming from. I believe in god, but I logically know that the world was not created in 7 days. I also know that Noah's Arc is a physical impossibility. (All animals different places in the food chain, not to mention from different continents walked onto a boat, stayed there and didn't kill each other?) Still I believe God is there. Your belief system is just on a different level than others, and that's ok. As for the praying thing, all I pray for is guidance.

Men are different. If they were not, the mentality of the world would be degraded. If there were not different religions, no religion would survive. The Christian requires his religion; the Hindu needs his own creed. All religions have struggled against one another for years. Those which were founded on a book, still stand. Why could not the Christians convert the Jews? Why could they not make the Persians Christians? Why could they not convert Mohammedans? Why cannot any impression be made upon China or Japan? Buddhism, the first missionary religion, numbers double the number of converts of any other religion, and they did not use the sword. The Mohammedans used the greatest violence. They number the least of the three great missionary religions. The Mohammedans have had their day. Every day you read of Christian nations acquiring land by bloodshed. What missionaries preach against this? Why should the most blood - thirsty nation exalt an alleged religion which is not the religion of Christ? The Jews and the Arabs were the fathers of Christianity, and how they have been persecuted by the Christians! The Christians have been weighed in the balance in India and have been found wanting. I do not mean to be unkind, but I want to show the Christians how they look in others' eyes. The missionaries who preach the burning pit are regarded with horror. The Mohammedans rolled wave after wave over India waving the sword, and today where are they?<br />
The furthest that all religions can see is the existence of a spiritual entity. So no religion can teach beyond that point. In every religion there is the essential truth and the non - essential casket in which this jewel lies. Believing in the Jewish book or in the Hindu book is non - essential. Circumstances change; the receptacle is different; but the central truth remains. The essentials being the same, the educated people of every community retain the essentials. If you ask a Christian what his essentials are, he should reply, "The teachings of Lord Jesus." Much of the rest is nonsense. But the nonsensical part is right; it forms the receptacle. The shell of the oyster is not attractive, but the pearl is within it. The Hindu will never attack the life of Jesus; he reverences the Sermon on the Mount. But how many Christians know or have heard of the teachings of the Hindu holy men? They remain in a fool's paradise. Before a small fraction of the world was converted, Christianity was divided into many creeds. That is the law of nature. Why take a single instrument from the great religious orchestra of the earth? Let the grand symphony go on. Be pure. Give up superstition and see the wonderful harmony of nature. Superstition gets the better of religion. All the religions are good, since the essentials are the same. Each man should have the perfect exercise of his individuality, but these individualities form a perfect whole. This marvelous condition is already in existence. Each creed has something to add to the wonderful structure.<br />
I pity the Hindu who does not see the beauty in Jesus Christ's character. I pity the Christian who does not reverence the Hindu Christ. The more a man sees of himself, the less he sees of his neighbors. Those that go about converting, who are very busy saving the souls of others, in many instances forget their own souls. I was asked by a lady why the women of India were not more elevated. It is in a great degree owing to the barbarous invaders through different ages; it is partly due to the people in India themselves. But our women are any day better than the ladies of this country who devotees of novels and balls. Where is the spirituality one would expect in a country which is so boastful of its civilisation? I have not found it. "Here" and "here - after" are words to frighten children. It is all "here". To live and move in God -- even here, even in this body! All self should go out; all superstition should be banished. Such men live in India. Where are such in this country? Your preachers speak against "dreamers". The people of this country would be better off if there were more "dreamers". If a man here followed literally the instruction of his Lord, he would be called a fanatic. There is a good deal of difference between dreaming and the brag of the nineteenth century. The bees look for the flowers. Open the lotus! The whole world is full of God and not of sin. Let us help each other. Let us love each other. A beautiful prayer of the Buddhist is: I bow down to all the saints; I bow down to all the prophets; I bow down to all the holy men and women all over the world!

These are the memorable words of Buddha:<br />
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"Believe not because an old book is produced as an authority. Believe not because your father said [you should] believe the same. Believe not because other people like you believe it. Test everything, try everything, and then believe it, and if you find it for the good of many, give it to all." And with these words, the Master passed away.<br />
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See the sanity of the man. No gods, no angels, no demons -- nobody. Nothing of the kind. Stern, sane, every brain - cell perfect and complete, even at the moment of death. No delusion. I do not agree with many of his doctrines. You may not. But in my opinion -- oh, if I had only one drop of that strength! The sanest philosopher the world ever saw.<br />
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~ Swami Vivekananda<br />
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http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Complete_Works_of_Swami_Vivekananda/Volume_8/Notes_Of_Class_Talks_And_Lectures/Christianity_In_India

Suppose Jesus of Nazareth was teaching, and a man came and told him, “What you teach is beautiful. I believe that it is the way to perfection, and I am ready to follow it; but I do not want to worship you as the only begotten Son of God.” What would be the answer of Jesus of Nazareth? <br />
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“Very well, brother, follow the ideal and advance in your own way. I do not care whether you give me the credit for the teaching or not... I only teach truth, and truth is nobody’s property, nobody’s patent truth. Truth is God Himself. Go forward. But what the disciples say nowadays is, “No matter whether you practise the teachings or not, do you give credit to the Man? If you credit the Master, you will be saved; if not there is no salvation for you.<br />
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~ Swami Vivekananda<br />
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http://www.eaglespace.com/spirit/workbeforeus2.php