Being careful with these words, I do not want to insult or chase anyone away. You are my family or friend, and many of you believe wholeheartedly.
I hope I do not change your feelings of me with these words.
Some of you wrote questioning why I do not have faith, why I do not believe, I had to reply. I hope I do not lose friends in sending these words, and, I do hope we can still work together, Gerry.
With these words I am not trying to change you, I am just relaying my thoughts and, hopefully, making you think on the subject.
If you are a believer in a God, I feel obligated to warn you that I am not. With these words, my goal is not to criticize, condemn, insult or convert, but rather, to help you explore the true nature of your own relationship with God, religion and faith; if you are a follower that is.
Don’t stop reading because of the subject matter contained, if the magnifying glass makes you uncomfortable, you need not look into it. On the other hand, that is precisely why you should.
I write about faith because, after the first accident, I was trying to go down that path—for help, for guidance, for relief—but ran into too many dead-ends and roadblocks. Try as I might, I could not find that road to go down toward god. And, once again, after the second time I was hit by a truck, my mind searched for this god.
If you have found this path for yourself, I ask you to examine your beliefs—exactly what do you believe, why do you believe it, and why do you think I should believe—and, perhaps, your views and thoughts on the subject will change, even grow stronger after reading these words.
After the appalling things I have gone through in my life, I tried to turn to the idea of a God to simply ask—“Why?”
No answer came to me.
Perhaps, because I grew up without a father (he died when I was seven), I cannot find this “father” in heaven who takes care of us?
I’m not saying that I didn’t get educated about any kind of God; I’ve attended various churches hundreds of times, as well as synagogue. I fully tried to find this God that everyone was so enamored with; my mind would not allow me to.
At times, I would criticize myself in my mind, wondering why I could not find this God. I asked myself things like, “Are you too stupid to find and believe in this God?” It was when I found there were other critical thinkers in the world that set me free.
Others, after they heard what I have been through in my life, sometimes said, “Boy, you should thank God you are still alive.” So, who is it I should thank for taking away my juggling skill, taking away my ability to run, taking away Mary Ellen, for taking away Tina—HUH?
People have also told me, “You have to believe in your heart, and not in your mind.” My heart pumps blood, my mind is what would believe.
What, exactly, could that mean?
People also told me, “If you don’t believe in God you will go to hell.” First of all, this sounds like a huge evil threat. And, any God that would make me smart enough to know how to use my mind, but would also punish me “FOREVER” for not believing in him (or her)—this with no evidence—whatsoever, this is a god I would not want to believe in.
With these words, I do not want to change your beliefs, I want to have you think, and, perhaps, make your faith even stronger, or, perhaps, diminish it altogether. I want to get you to reflect about why you truly believe.
Under the impression that there was something there to help me, I was trying to build up a strong belief and faith. At times I even tried to fake it, like they say, “Fake it for long enough and you will have that belief.” But, I could not lie to myself any longer. And I could not find anything, anywhere.
For myself, I have just found such a comfort and freedom not having to base my life on any kind of a God.
I’ve been told that you cannot see or define God; you just have to believe on faith. How can you believe something if you cannot see or even define it? I hear from people that God exists outside of space and time, then how would they know, if this knowledge is outside of their realm?
This makes no sense to me!
I’ve even heard that faith is learning to turn off your mind and stop thinking. Remember, I am not trying to insult, I want to get across my point of view.
People may say I was not trying in the right way, but I tried all kinds of ways and still—NOTHING. If you are a believer and can help steer me the correct path to find God, please do.
I see that there is no way to prove God exists, but, there is no way to prove God does not exist—same goes for Faeries, The Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot and Santa?
I want you to know that I am still open to the idea that there is a God looking over us; I have yet to find that path or see any evidence, can you direct me?
Like I wrote, I have attended church service hundreds of times. People there appear happy and good-natured, showing kindness and support to one another—always gratifying to see.
Church often seems a good social mix for people; a connection place. Faith and belief have helped a great many people to live a better life, and often inspired them to help others.
After attending church so many times, I never could “see” what these other people “saw.” I’ve been to all kinds of different churches and denominations and it seems that most of the time the pastor or preacher or rabbi or person running the show is trying to talk everyone “into” believing. “You must believe because of . . .”
It was like all these believers had to be reinforced all the time to believe even stronger or the belief would fade away.
Is this right?
It seems that people who knew of my differing beliefs acted toward me as, “What’s wrong with him?” It seemed as if there was almost hatred behind their look, as they perceived me, just because I did not believe as they did.
I wondered why we couldn’t even be friends just because this person had decided on a certain faith and my thoughts and beliefs were different.
For a time I attended church with Tina at a Messianic church (Jews and Gentiles who believe in Jesus.) After some weeks the rabbi asked us over for dinner at his house; I was pleased to go.
After a nice dinner the conversation turned to my beliefs and my being with Tina. He basically said we should not be together because of differing beliefs. This hurt so much I cried, big tears. This caused me a lot of mental anguish and we headed home.
But, as you know, Tina eventually did follow his advice; so sad I have been.
I have just found there is so much negativity and even violence in the various dogmas of the world. Christian, Muslim, Judaism, Hinduism; each and every religion thinks theirs is the correct one.
The fighting that’s involved and true hatred toward others who don’t believe as they do—to me—that behavior is truly immoral. At this point, do you hate me?
As Rodney King said, “Can’t we just get along?”
Speaking of morals, people often say that without god you cannot have morals, not true, at all. Many of the non-believers I know are more moral than many who do believe. To me being moral is simply causing no harm to other people, animals or things.
Christians claim their God is merciful and just for everyone, but it does not seem that way to me. Does this God really demand belief and obedience to rules I can never be certain came from him (or her: I think a woman would make a better God) in the first place?
Is this not an all-knowing God?
If this God demands belief and obedience to his laws and is all knowing, he knows it will require evidence suitable to my mind for me to do that. I have never been presented such evidence.
So, if I am on my way to hell, if there is one, it is God who is sending me there.
This is not a choice for me. It is simply how my brain works. I don’t think anyone can actually choose to believe anything.
Either the conditions of belief are met or they are not, and we all have different requirements, as we all think differently, which is, apparently, how we were designed by this all-knowing creator.
Threats of hell are rather like holding a gun to my head and telling me, “Believe or die.” But it’s even worse than that. With this God, I would not die, but would instead be tortured for eternity in hell.
Not sure how someone can believe in a “good God” such as this. Is this morality?
Believers often say that, without faith, you can’t have morals. Not true. The countries with the least religion are the most moral, like Sweden and Japan; a proven fact. And, take the above paragraph about God sending people to hell because they do not believe in him, which would be the most immoral thing that could be done.
Just look at moral constraints of the animal kingdom. The social structures of great apes or wild dogs are very moral as far as dealing with each other. These creatures do not, “believe”, and have great morals. Humans do the same.
People have learned that it is best to deal with each other in a good way, not necessarily with belief.
Speaking of morals, say there is someone who kidnaps a young girl. This is a wonderfully kind teenage girl who helps many. Her parents do not believe and she was not raised in that way. Now, this person who kidnaps the little girl brutally rapes her on and off for three days and eventually kills her. He gets caught and goes to prison. While in prison he finds God and becomes a believer.
According to the Christian principles, this person in prison would be sent up to heaven because he now “believes”, while the little girl, on the other hand, would be sent to the fiery place down below to be tortured for eternity because she doesn’t agree with this doctrine.
Now, is this fair, moral, and right?
Many intellectuals and great thinkers I have come to respect also do not have faith. I would rather be in hell with them than in heaven singing my praises to this God for all eternity (I don’t have a good singing voice anyway, just ask my daughters.)
Speaking of eternity, wouldn’t a heaven become a hell of its own, regardless of where or how you lived? You would see and experience everything possible billions of times and more.
And, as the story goes, you would be singing your praises to this God for all time.
Think of what that actually means!
This dream of eternal life, I think, is born of our instinctive fear of death. I must tell you, I have no fear of death, but there are some things I want to do before that time.
I ponder that if we lived long enough, all of us would at some point welcome an end to the story. Like a television series that starts out great and becomes downright painful to watch as the writers run out of material.
Heaven would become a hell of its own.
Of course, these are just my own thoughts and feelings on the subject. I’m not trying to change your thoughts or beliefs; I am just hoping to get you to open your mind and think more about why you might believe in something.
If you do follow a spiritual path, take a good look at your faith and ask yourself:
- What is my belief based on?
- Why am I on this path?
- Am I taking the time to truly examine this God I believe in?
- Does belief really make me content?
- Do I really believe in this spiritual dogma or am I just going through the motions and hoping for the best?
- Am I a believer only because I was raised with faith?
- Do I care if what I believe is truly true?
- What impact does belief have on my life and others in my family?
- Am I only believing as I do for imagined rewards in heaven?
- Does my spiritual identity all come down to nothing more than peer pressure and conformity?
- Did I choose this path or was it forced on me by someone?
- Does my belief simply bring me comfort?
- Am I able to help others through my beliefs?
- What does my belief add to my life?
- What does my belief cost me?
- Do I subscribe to this doctrine out of fear of what may be coming after I’m dead?
Be honest with yourself answering these questions. Once you have answers, allow change to come to you if it is a better thing to do.
It is necessary to examine our beliefs with a critical mind because only then can we determine whether they are positive or negative—helping us live better lives or holding us back. Adding to our existence or hindering our progress and learning. Adding to the world in a good way, or damaging life with false hope?
Examine this aspect of your life if you have not done so already. As the Greek philosopher Socrates once said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
There has been a lot of good garnered through faith, yet religion has also caused a great deal of conflict, misery and strife, all about statements that can never be proven true or false.
There are many different concepts of God and many different beliefs. These “beliefs” always remain subjective, as we can see from the estimated thirty-eight thousand different denominations, sects, schisms and divisions just within Christianity alone.
Wars are fought over petty disagreements where “divine truth” is interpreted differently by almost everyone on an individual level. This is too often used as justification for virtually any act of inhumanity, costing hundreds of millions of lives over the centuries.
And still we see these conflicts ongoing as religious divides continue to fan the flames of hate. The twin towers in New York City on September 11 in 2001, just one example. And the current wars that are mainly brought on by America, a terrible thing.
I want to stop the fighting, stop the bickering, to get on with life. Let’s heal the world away from religious infighting and the thought control that is brought on by this part of human life.
With my words I do not want to insult anyone in any way. I simply want you to think.
After going through numerous life-changes, I searched for God.
Of course, these are my thoughts and discoveries about God. I don’t want to change your beliefs; I simply want you to think more about what you believe and why you believe it.
To me, having strong faith often builds up a false hope in a person’s mind toward their own future. Religion sometimes gives people an excuse and a reason not to think. Faith provides a way to avoid studying something in depth and then make your own conclusions.
Rather than simply saying, “God did it”—
- Develop your mind.
- Learn more.
- Study the scientific reasons why something is the way it is.
To simply say, “God did it,” and then forget about it, is not a good thing. It seems to me that having faith, at times, is an excuse not to fully use your mind and figure out how life truly is, baptized or not.
I have to tell you a story about my experience with a church I was attending: For a time, years ago, my wife wanted me to get baptized, and I finally agreed.
The day of the baptism there were about six of us going through the ceremony, which was done in front of the large congregation of about eight-hundred? I was the fourth in line and carried a bag with some hidden items I had brought with me.
Right before I was to walk out to be baptized in water, I put on the mask and snorkel I had in the bag and then walked out. The pastor wasn’t smiling; those in the audience loved it.
I wasn’t making fun of the procedure; I was just “Kitting Around” like I often do. The pastor later told me he enjoyed my prank.
As I went through the massive changes in my life, there were times when I honestly did search for this divine inspiration that has helped so many–for comfort, for guidance, for relief, love and peace.
Try as I might, I could not find this celestial being anywhere. Logic and reason kept getting in the way, and continue to; hard to see past how things really are. I could not ignore or look beyond the logic and reason that were so apparent to me.
Witnessing the faithful at church, in their contentment and confidence, I had asked myself, “Am I just too stupid to see what should be obvious?”
It all seemed so simple for them.
I was highly critical with myself, thinking that others could think in a different way than I could. And that, as it happens, is a fact. We all think and perceive things differently.
But how can believers just believe without examining the thousands of other beliefs that people hold today or that have existed in the past and will come to be in the future?
What if the Muslim God, Allah, is the only true God? Though they both fall under the category of Abrahamic religion, what if Christianity is heresy? Or what if it is the other way around? What if the Hindu God, Ganesha, is correct? What about Zeus?
If there is a God, what if the real truth has not yet been revealed, and a future religion is the correct one?
Even with all these choices, if you do believe and it helps you, then it is probably a positive influence. I do understand your beliefs. We must all believe in something, be it supernatural or merely our personal ideals.
People have said to me, “If you don’t believe in God then you must just believe in yourself, like you are God.” No, that is not the case. I believe in you, I believe in me, I believe that if we all work together and love each other we will make a better world for all of us.
Speaking of belief, when I was young and in junior high school, I loved reading the Chronicles of Narnia books, written by CS Lewis. I was lost in these books and could not put them down. My mind truly went to Narnia and was a part of the story; I got lost in this world and loved it.
Yes—I was a believer—in Narnia, in Aslan, in Mordor, and all the rest. I do understand how people can have beliefs.
Each person needs to examine why they actually believe and what is true to them.
With these words, I would like to help open your heart and mind to truly see the life you are living now—the only life we truly know we have—and aim toward the excellence that you desire, with or without God.
I would like you not to squander this life you are living as nothing more than some kind of trial to be borne and suffered through on the path to something we can only hope is waiting in a possible hereafter.
For Muslims, the hope of the seventy-two virgins who await them in heaven?—Do the virgins have any say in this m?
We have this one life to live on this Earth—aim for your best life now—not toward some hope in heaven later.
I know that most people in the world have been taught, as children, to accept the spiritual beliefs of their parents, whatever those beliefs may be.
- If you were born in the middle east, you might be Muslim.
- India, you might be Hindu.
- America, there is a good chance you are Christian.
- It is all a matter of “where” you were born.
When a child has these beliefs reinforced, again and again, with this idea of God during all their years growing up, no wonder they are a strong believer in that faith.
In learning of God as a youth, is that a good reason to believe something?
You are older now; you need to thoroughly examine what and why you really believe. Like I wrote before, this might spark your thinking and, maybe, even make you a stronger believer.
While growing up, I did not have much of a religious or spiritual influence myself. My mother never went to church and never was spiritually dogmatic, so ideas of church and deity were largely foreign to me. Yet, I knew that a religious mind helped so many.
Although I always was aware of how faith aided many people throughout their lives, and I saw it as a psychological necessity for some, but not for me.
I repeat; take the time to analyze what and why you truly believe (if you do, of course.)
When I talk with Christians (Christianity being the primary religion where I live) and tell them of my skepticism of God and ask where I can find or see this God, responses are mostly the same: “Well, look around you. See the green grass, the beautiful trees, hear lovely nature, and see the sweet circle of life?”
“Yes, very nice,” I say, and continue, “Did you know that most of the earth is either too dry or too hot or too cold to support most life forms? Or that the harmonious circle of life is an endless cycle of forced kill-and-be-killed cruelty—that most creatures (many humans) live in discomfort at best and merely survive day-to-day as a relentless struggle of life and death?”
“Or that thousands of species are constantly dying out, being killed off by the competition with or without human influence?”
“And what of natural disasters—hurricanes, drought, earthquakes, forest fires, lightning strikes and so forth, wreaking havoc, bringing misery, desolation and death to all living things indiscriminately?”
“What about the millions of innocent children who die each year,” I ask them. “Did you ever think about them?”
These people often do not have a response.
Think, think, think. You must use your mind to analyze your true belief and see if it is accurate.
To me love is much bigger than any god. Love is as critical for your mind and body as is oxygen. Without love, people die.
It’s not negotiable.
The more love connected you are, the healthier you will be both physically and emotionally. The less connected you are, the more you are at risk. We must all spread love with everyone we can.
It is also true that the less love you have, the more depression you are likely to experience in your life. Love is the best antidepressant there is because one of the most common sources of depression is feeling unloved.
Most depressed people don’t love themselves and they do not feel loved by others. They also are very self-focused, making them less attractive to others and depriving them of opportunities to learn the skills of love.
There is a mythology in our culture that love just happens.
As a result, the depressed often sit around passively waiting for someone to love them. But love doesn’t work that way. To get love and keep love you have to go out and be active and learn a variety of specific skills.
Today, as you are walking,
as you are shopping,
as you are hopping,
say “Hi” and be friendly to as many people as you can.
They will feel better and you will feel great.
After reading these words, I hope you do not hate me.