I am inspired here to write about believing in something, more particularly something bigger than you and me. My own spirituality is defined and definite. I know what I believe and I know what I doubt. I do not know what is factual and what is not. I will not know that until the end of my life on earth which could be the end period or it could be the beginning of eternity.
Heaven? Hell? I believe Heaven is your reward for your life on earth. I do believe you will encounter loved ones and friends who have gone before. I do believe you are judged by God and you must answer for whatever He finds you failing. I also believe in forgiveness and that once judged, you will be forgiven if you are regretful and seek forgiveness. I also believe the Devil wins some souls and Hell awaits them as their reward. Those who shun God, accept the Devil, will share eternity with that.
When I talk of my beliefs, MY beliefs, there is no argument with anyone about them because they are what I believe and no one can argue with what I believe. I never state my beliefs as facts. I never ask the listener or the reader to accept them as their own. I simply am telling you what I believe. I am telling you how I live day to day in peace and relative happiness. I am telling you why I don't attend church, not why you shouldn't. It is just a sharing of my own beliefs and done so with the hope you will understand me a little better. If that is not something you want to do, then by all means, clickity click outta here now and no hard feelings. One of my biggest and strongest beliefs is that you are entitled to your own values and your own beliefs. None of my concern, really, but I would read about yours if you posted them. Just to know you better.
I ask only that no one feels compelled to start a big argument in the comments section about how ridiculous they think my beliefs might be or leave me quotes from the Bible disproving my beliefs. Otherwise, say what you want and be respectful as I will be in return.
Steven Clark is my inspiration for this blog. He is a fellow writer and recovering addict. I love his writings and his strength through addiction. No one I have known personally has kicked addiction without some sort of relapse and the right helping hand is a factor for most. That hand is not always the 12 step programs, but it can be, it is sometimes someone who just said the right thing at the right time or one on one therapy with someone who knew how to lead the addict through the tough days and nights. Point is, every hand reaching out to help is a possible key to success. I have tried to explain to Steven how to believe, if you don't. That is a difficult concept and here, I am just going to explain my beliefs and hope he will find something in there to inspire him. I am not trying to tell Steven Clark WHAT to believe, only hoping it will inspire some desire TO believe in something greater than himself.
I was raised in the Methodist church. I have spent a good deal of time in the Catholic church. Considered once joining that one. Being told I would have to annul my first marriage was the deal breaker. My first marriage was in church, I swore before God and the witnesses etc, so annulling it and making the 10 years I lived with the father of my children, a man I loved very much, null and void, was unthinkable to me. Formality or not, I would not do that. Those 10 years existed and were real and not void. The second reason I didn't follow through was the reading of "the word of God." More on that later.
Having said all of that, I am now associated with no religion. I cannot identify any group that would make my faith any stronger, any better or any more real than it is. My faith is between me and God. For me, He is real; He is constant; He is omnipresent; He is in me. Always IN me. He hears every thought and He sees every action. He reaches out to me when I need His guidance and ask for it and He knows my gratitude for all the gifts He has given. He knows my heartache, He knows my joy and He shares those. He loves me unconditionally even when I fail to do the same. My God is forgiving and loving and constant. All things I strive toward. All things I fail to obtain. All things I hold dear and shall work on all the days of my life.
The Bible, I believe, is a book. That's all. A very interesting book with thousands of interesting stories written by thousands of people over thousands of years. It has been translated millions of times by as many hands. From one language to another from one time to another. Now being read here in the USA by many people in a modern language so as to be understood more easily and read by more people with less strain to understand. Understand the new words by the new translator. My point, it contains a lot of good advice. It has moral stories and explains how faith will lift you up and it is a GOOD BOOK. I do not, however, believe it is the word of God. It is the words of many men who believed they were hearing or seeing the word or the works of God and they are telling their stories. The stories of Jesus were told by many, I like reading them. I read them as men telling of their adventures with this Carpenter from Jerusalem who came to us as the son of God. I certainly believe in Jesus, he certainly existed and I choose to accept that he was the chosen one. He was given to Mary, the virgin, so as no suspicion could be in her own mind as to how precious this gift of hers was. Hers was the womb He chose. No one, no one, but Mary knew she was a virgin. Others just believed. Faith requires you accept some things without proof. I choose to accept this one.
I do believe Jesus lived his life spreading the word of his father to all who would hear. I just don't know that the stories of the Bible are exactly as they happened or even exactly as those men told them. Translators have to use different words when none exist so their meanings may or may not be accurate. I choose to think it's safer and more accurate to believe in God on a personal and intimate level and live with Him inside of me than to hang onto a book which often contradicts itself.
For me, faith and God are everyday all day long facts of life. I live with Him all around me, with me and helping me along this path. I never doubt, I never wonder, I do forget now and then to be thankful, but I remedy that asap. I believe he forgives me for being human because he made me to have faults and weaknesses so that I might remember to look up and say, "thanks" and continue on my way. I am enveloped in God's love and His forgiveness and His unfailing faith in me. I am a child of God, a student of God and a faithful and sinning worshiper of God.
Asking someone to believe in a Master of the Universe or a Universal Power or God is not for me to do. I am here simply and straightforwardly to say that I believe and all it takes is a little thought and a look around your world to realize it had to be created somewhere. There had to be a beginning at some point. The Genesis according to the Bible or any other genesis you might choose to fit your life, but in my head it's a simple fact that God did create and now oversees His work lovingly. Sadly. Hopefully. Endlessly.
My question would be, "How can you not believe in something bigger than you and me?"
Suggested reading for some inspiration or entertainment...
A series by Neale Donald Walsh
Conversations with God
*an uncommon dialogue*