My Journey from Discovery to Acceptance to Change
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Hope Through Authenticity

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Missing GOD, God, god

Recently I wrote a blog on spirituality versus religion. The concept of spirituality has been swirling in my mind ever since. As most of you know, I was raised on the Baptist version of God and can no longer accept aspects of that belief system. But I do miss some aspects of that version of God, too.

I live with a murky, confusing duality. Can you miss something you no longer believe? Or does the fact that you miss something mean you do believe but you’re pretending you don’t? I can’t believe in a God who rejects massive groups of people because they don’t say the perfect verses. But I do miss several aspects of my former religious dogma.

What I Miss

I love gorgeous sunrises and sunsets. In the past, I considered these a gift from God. I had “someone” to thank. Now, I acknowledge that nature is a gift of the universe or the Godiverse. I can still feel gratitude but that feels different.

When you spend a lot of time in Bible study and prayer – and  when you believe ‘God so loved the world’ and ‘all things work together’ and ‘more valuable than the birds in the air’ – then you feel special. Chosen. Now, I recognize I am just one of millions of created beings. Sure, I have a bigger brain and I am more evolved than my dog. But I’m no more special than the atheist next door. Let me restate – I AM as SPECIAL as all of creation.

Being part of a church is having a ‘group’. A ready-made place to fit is one of the best and worst parts of organized religion. But a group is often exclusive and judgmental of those not on the inside. I learned this the hard way. Once I started to evaluate my belief system, I was summarily dismissed from the inside track {not everyone dismissed me, but most did}. I’d like to say that I was better than this. But, truthfully, when I look back on that time, I only had friends with the same beliefs. I was as exclusive as the next guy.

Another benefit of being a Bible beating Christian is a readymade excuse TO or NOT TO do xyz. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said – and heard – “I’m waiting on direction from God” or “God hasn’t put that on my heart” or “God told me not to …” or “God told me to …” Want the truth? I never once heard from God. Or if I did, it sounded a lot like what I wanted rather than some outside power. Now when I say yes or no, I have to own it.

Just as I could use a message from God to do or not to do something, I could blame God when it went to shit. Or even better, I could claim that every failure or consequence would eventually ‘work out to the good’. If I could profess God ‘told me to’ then obviously I could blame God when what he told me to do didn’t work out. Now, I have to own my decisions and I have to own the consequences.

One more benefit:  When there is a god in your life, there is always someone to talk too! And in the Christian faith, you believe that somebody is listening and actually cares whether I go for a walk or not.

Treat Other As I Want To Be Treated

I’ve yet to find a belief system that fits. Maybe there isn’t one. Or maybe I’m being too fastidious. Do I need a belief system at all?

When I look at all the belief systems, there is one commonality: Treat others as you want to be treated.

For now, that will be my dogma.

Click HERE for the Journaling Activity that goes along with today's blog.

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    June with Purple Hair

    In April 2012 I had a mental breakdown. The real thing. I have about 36 hours that I don’t remember....

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