Monday, December 12, 2005

Religion

I don't believe in God. I also don't not believe in God. I am completely agnostic. Unfortunately, I feel like I can't talk about this much. I attend a conservative Christian college. I like it okay here and I love my friends, but many of them don't even know that I'm not Christian. Some of them know that I don't go to church much, but they don't really know how I truly feel. The only person who I talk truthfully with is my boyfriend. He has some similarities to me in what he believes. One difference is that he was baptized when he was younger so he is an official member of the church. I was never baptized. It just never felt right and it took me years to figure out why - because I didn't believe in God. The truth is that I can't ever remember believing in the existence of a God, though I spent a significant amount of time trying to convince myself that I did. Most of that was while I was in high school. I went to a Christian academy where the popular thing to do was to be super-spiritual. This is why Saved! is one of my favorite movies. The hypocrisy got to me, but that really has nothing to do with my current religious beliefs. I have had my beliefs for as long as I can remember.
Anyway, I go to school here and I don't go to church. When I go home and stay with my parents or when they come here, I dutifully go to church and kinda act like I always go. I don't lie about it but I try to avoid the subject if I can. I do this with quite a few things with them, actually. At some point I'm going to have to come clean and tell them the truth. After I graduate, it is quite likely that I will move in with my boyfriend. We've been talking about it for a while (6 months, maybe) and for now it's just a fantasy, but it's one that I would really like to come true. I don't think either of us like the idea of getting married much, which is a subject for a completely new post. Anyway, if/when that happens, I'm going to have to tell them that I don't believe the way that they do. Maybe I'll do that before then. If they asked me things like whether I go to church, believe in God, have had sex, ever drink alcohol, etc. I would answer them truthfully, but I don't feel like bringing it up now. It would kind of be like picking a fight.
Anyway, although I don't have a structured belief system, I would like to be around people who think like I do. It's really hard to find people on this campus like that. I love my friends and all, but there is a barrier when it comes to religious things. So I've been doing a little looking into things like Unitarian Universalists. Today, I read about the Washington Ethical Society. In their FAQ I came across something that I'd never thought about before. I read this:

One Golden Rule
The human spirit has journeyed along the varied paths charted by six major faiths, but a single ethical principle serves as the common ground for men and women of all these religions:
  1. Hinduism. Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you.--Mahabharata 5:1517
  2. Buddhism. Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.--Udanavarga 5:18
  3. Islam. No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.--Sunan
  4. Christianity. All things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.--Matthew 7:12
  5. Judaism. What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man.--Talmud, Chabbat
  6. Confucianism. Do not unto others what you would not have them do unto you.--Analects 15:13
I wish that I had learned more about alternate belief systems while growing up. Christianity doesn't have a monopoly on love or treating people well, which is how I always felt that people I grew up around were trying to tell me.

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