You won’t find me posting a whole lot of religious stuff anywhere online. This will be a rare happenstance. I just needed to get this out.
All the hate swirling around in various religions is exhausting!
Here’s a brief background on me. I’m a cradle Catholic, and completely fascinated with science. I had the opportunity of being able to start college when I was 12 years old, and A LOT of exposure to various sciences. So, when I was still very young and “knew everything” I spent a couple years identifying myself as an Atheist. I’m inherently a very spiritual person so that didn’t last very long. To be perfectly honest, the more I learn about science the more I can see miracles woven into our universe and our everyday lives. Just because you learn about something and come to understand it doesn’t make it any less miraculous. I don’t think spirituality is intangible or beyond the realm of what might someday be empirical. Protons and neutrons were beyond our comprehension of empirical at one point as well. I think it stunts our growth as a society and a species to try and put such strict finite parameters on a world where we at least have a concept of infinity. What happened to pushing open new doors? Where’s our explorer spirit?
That said, I have a healthy respect for all religions. I grew up watching my Dad completely and undeniably rooted in his own faith and yet able to learn about other belief systems with a respect for other faiths. I’ve grown up in California, and this state is completely blessed with diversity. You wanna learn about Hinduism? No problem! Buddhism? Let’s get to it! There’s a plethora of first hand experiences to be had that can only amplify your personal spirituality whatever that may be. This is one of the ways I honor my father. God isn’t about right and wrong, good or bad, reward and punishment. God is about love, and growth – knowledge, and gratitude. If you are learning, if you are growing, if you are grateful and coming from a place of love then concepts like “right and wrong” become obsolete. We are not cattle or dogs to be trained, we are humans gifted with abstract thought and we’re completely missing the mark if we don’t use it.
Did you know that the root meaning of the word “sin” didn’t mean to do something evil? “Sin” originally meant that you missed the mark, there was a mistake made, and more practice was needed to get it right. Yes, we’ve all made mistakes – it’s the fact that we keep trying to improve and learn new ways to interact that makes us special.
When my father passed away they sent a chaplain right away to speak with us while we were at the hospital. He was very obviously rushing things because he’d been called out in the middle of his dinner. He had crumbs on his sweater and explained the whole mid-dinner thing when he brushed them off. I was horrified that a person in his position could be so rude with a grieving family. I spent a few years studying to be a chaplain. I’ve learned about so many religions and my personal take on things is that they aren’t that different.
Each religion has different names for things that aren’t really that different. I’ll use English as an example – assume all parties in this hypothetical example speak English. If I ask people from different faiths about their beliefs they will use different words and I’ll hear them all in English. You can stop right there and say “these are different words, they must be different things”. Where does that get us? Imagine those different words all mean the same thing. They’re not actually different words. They’re different languages. They’re cultures, and societies expressing themselves and unfortunately getting lost in translation. English is an extremely limited language in that there are many things we have only one word for – just that single way to express a thing or a concept. Other languages around the world have numerous words for the same things so they can be expressed in an array of all the facets it can possess.
You know what unites the major belief systems around the world including Atheists? We all have a creation story. From the Mayans, to the Egyptians, to the Pacific Islanders we all care about that from which we came. Why do you think that is? I say let’s use Occam’s razor on this one. William of Ockham gave us the logic that “the simplest answer is usually the correct one”. Why do we all care about where we came from? Where we came from must be a pretty important place if we’re all hard wired throughout the generations to think about the topic. It doesn’t matter to me what you call the place, or how you define it for yourself, or what you’ve labeled it – the point is that it’s the same place – a place of infinity with infinite ways to be expressed.
One other thing unites us… one thing we never seem to give enough credit.
Every single human being knows what love is.
You can call it love, you can call it amour (French), elsker (Danish), liebe (German), szeret (Hungarian), ความรัก (Thai), amore (Italian), الحب (Arabic), В прошлом месяце (Russian), or the translation of love in any language you like. It’s still love – you “feel” it. It’s a concept that we can see in actions, hear in words, touch in gentle caresses, and taste in kisses and food.
What’s the secret ingredient?
It was made with love.
More than that, love has the deepest blessing of being something we feel with our soul.
It is our gift and our grace.
That love inside of us is where we connect.
That is where we find God in this world.
That is how we live Divinely guided lives in this world.
We are meant to feel and express the full spectrum of emotion.
Yes, be angry, be sad, and it’s okay to be upset.
Feel them, know them, understand them.
I’m betting you also know you probably don’t like how those emotions feel.
So focus on joy.
Focus on affection.
Focus on exhilaration, and awe, and curiosity.
Focus on love.
“Love thy neighbor as thyself.”
First learn to love thyself thoroughly through the understanding that you are a living, breathing, walking, and more importantly, thinking miracle in this world. At your very core, in the atoms you are composed of from the calcium in your bones to the protein in your muscles – from the gifts of thought, and communication, and love you can bestow upon others in this life – from your unique talents and everything that is you from head to toe YOU ARE A MIRACLE.
Love thyself as that miracle first, then “love thy neighbor as thyself”.
As you can imagine I didn’t bring up this topic for nothing. It is to emphasize my opinion of what’s really important. This blog post is about growth, and peace, and love. Please focus on expressing things of that nature if you feel you want to comment.