Musings on religion

As a kid I used to be terrified of Hell and all that went with it. The hot, the torment, the being kept from the people that I loved….

I spent much of my time praying, asking to be forgiven and for God to come into my heart because, yanno, that’s what you must do to avoid hell. That meant that EVERY night before bed, I would pray. And pray. And pray. I frequently would fall asleep before I finished because, unlike my grandmother who “had the Holy Spirit” and was spoken to by God, I never felt God “enter” my heart. If I would say something about this, I’d be instructed to pray harder. I knew I must be doing something wrong. I would pray more in the hopes that I could feel what my Grandma did. God never spoke to me. No matter how much I prayed. I knew I wasn’t a good Christian. Maybe God didn’t want me. Maybe He knew my secret doubts and concerns!

Most anything I would do would make me feel guilty so, of course, I would pray. I’d feel guilty for not praying if I’d forget. I’d feel guilty if I fell asleep before finishing. I’d feel guilty if I listened to “devil music” or read something that might have been “not of God”.

I knew that my sole purpose in life was to serve God. That was also the only eternal purpose as well. It didn’t sound like much fun to me, to be honest. I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to spend an eternity worshipping and fearing a divine being. It all honestly sounded a bit twisted, like a controlling boyfriend. I just wanted to live and enjoy life but I was terrified at the thought of burning forever.

My first marriage was mostly because I felt guilty becauseI was having premarital sex, even though I’d been having it for a couple years. Unfortunately, I did so to the detriment of a relationship with someone who I actually loved. He would die before I ever had an opportunity to apologize to him.

Eventually I started questioning things. I figured either I was a bad, unsavable person or something just wasn’t right about what all I’d been told. I was on the fence awhile but then after Elias died, I really began to question things. Especially after getting involved in online support groups for bereaved parents where most of them actually say things like how things happen for a reason and God took their child, etc. How the fuck can anyone love or worship something that would do that to people? Many take comfort in seeing their child again in Heaven one day. I’ll be honest. I’m kind of jealous of them because since I have come to believe that Hell is basically a social construct designed to scare people like me into toeing the line, it would stand to reason that Heaven, being the total opposite of Hell, would be made up as well.

I have a hard time wrapping my mind around everything. I still have a lot of guilt. I guess maybe I’m a recovering Christian.

Belief in God

I was chatting with someone the other day and that was the inspiration for this post.

Do I believe in God? I don’t honestly know. I’ve been struggling with that for a long time.

For several years now I’ve had so many doubts about the existence of a god. Elias’ death hasn’t really resolved anything in that regard. My initial reaction to those that tried to comfort me with how God was taking care of him was that of, what sort of God would take my baby from me? But, that was just a knee-jerk reaction to the situation. Even when I did believe in God, I always believed that He didn’t do things or not do things to us; I always felt that we were essentially a great big science experiment to him, that he never really intervened.

So, no, Elias’ death didn’t change anything for me as far as believing or not believing. It’s something I struggle with almost daily. I wish I knew the answer.

I also envy people who can just believe. I cannot.

After Elias died, I begged and pleaded that it be just a horrific nightmare, that none of it was true. I begged and pleaded that Elias be given back to me. Silly, I know. I can only imagine that’s all normal, just part of the process that one goes through. Obviously none of that happened, not that I truly expected it to.

It all brings me back to the same point when asked about my belief in God. Do I? I just don’t know.

Doubts

Lately, I’ve been having some weird issues with not being able to sleep at night. I lay there for a couple of hours, unable to get to sleep. It’s frustrating. I’m not sure what the problem is although part of the reason I cannot sleep is because I just can’t shut off my thoughts so that I could actually sleep. I replay the day, or certain situations from the day, in many cases going over and over and over what I did wrong, what I could have done differently…. It’s exhausting, or at least, it should be.

Sometimes various thoughts and concerns enter. I’ve been pretty perplexed about religion. I have been having a great many doubts for awhile now. I just don’t know what to think.

I spent summers (and every school break that was more than a day or two) with my grandparents, who were uber-religious. Any time I tried to question anything in the Bible or the religion, it was met with stern displeasure and I was told that I was just to believe and never question. Ever. So I carried most of my doubts and questions quietly.

After my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, I was able to see that she wasn’t all there mentally about many things and hadn’t been for some time – possibly most of my life – which made me question how many other things she was “not all there” about, including religion.

Fast forward to today. I’m left with oh-so-many doubts and questions that just don’t seem answerable. If it was just me, it wouldn’t seem all that big of a deal but I have children and I am at a loss for what to teach them. I have deep pangs of guilt for not involving them – and us – in church, yet when we go, I feel like an impostor. It’s all just very draining.

Don’t apologize to the Catholic church!!!!

So I’ve been reading a bit about this memo that came to light regarding the Pope’s visit to the UK. If you don’t know what I’m talking about see here and here.

I could be wrong here, but it seems like to me a lot of (very intelligent) people are angered by the Catholic church and its popes who together have done nothing but cause harm and cover-ups pretty much throughout its existence. So suddenly some government worker take a few cracks at the precious pope and complete pandemonium results?? Seriously? WTF people. I had always given the Brits more credit than to fall all over themselves apologizing for such a thing.

Hell, I think the bits I’ve read of the memo had some good ideas. Especially the suggestions to “sack dodgy bishops” and opening an helpline for abused children. But then, why would the Catholic church do a thing like that?? That might actually be construed as them giving a shit.