BELIEFS

The Apostles Creed.

   I believe in God, the Father almighty,
   creator of heaven and earth.
   I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
   who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
   born of the Virgin Mary,
   suffered under Pontius Pilate,
   was crucified, died, and was buried;
   he descended to the dead.
   On the third day he rose again;
   he ascended into heaven,
   he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
   and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
   I believe in the Holy Spirit,
   the holy catholic Church,
   the communion of saints,
   the forgiveness of sins,
   the resurrection of the body,
   and the life everlasting. Amen.

As a boy, I was an acolyte in the Episcopal church. The apostle’s creed was recited out loud at every service. When I was about 15, I realized that I was an acolyte to please my grandmother. By 20, I was a pain-in-the-ass atheist, asking people whether an all-powerful God could strike a match on a wet piece of soap. I came to understand the Holy Communion as a cannibalistic ritual taken from pagan times and that passages in the bible caused the deaths of millions of people.

And now, I do not believe in anything in the Apostles creed; the immaculate conception, the virgin birth, the resurrection, judgment, saints, and the rest. It is a hell of a story, but it is not true. So am I a Christian?  I say yes.

Many years ago I read The Desire of the Everlasting Hills: The World Before and After Jesus. I “got” Jesus. The message is simple: Love, Tolerance and Compassion. That is it. Everything else can be ignored including sin, hell, redemption, and all that other dogmatic stuff.  And “Christians” who are not loving to all, tolerant of all, and compassionate for all, are not following the teachings of Christ.

I have changed to a secular value system, which I think is the trend. As Europe has become more secular in the last 50 years, has it become less moral? It has not. There can be a moral value system based in culture and humanistic values without religion. In fact, many think that religion has a negative net value. YouTube debates on whether religion does more harm than good are fascinating. The anti-religion side usually wins.

While I am not religious associated with dogma,  I am still a seeker of the transcendent and continue to try to seek truth beyond the logical and physical.

And, I am deeply respectful of others’ personal experience and their connection to their personal God or whatever brings them awareness of that which is greater. I remember seeing a Hindu woman turn and leave a shrine of a Goddess and the peaceful expression on her face was the same as those leaving the altar from the Eucharist. You won’t find me arguing with you about your internal experience.  And of course, don’t discount mine either.

So, what are your beliefs? Do they match mine or is there something you want to add?

 

4 thoughts on “BELIEFS”

  1. I have really questioned recently whether I could call myself a Christian or not. I see the Christian church – and I am generalizing, I know – as contributing more to the differences and the separatenesses of peoples than bringing them together. The latter is what I think Jesus was about. Like you said, Bruce, love, tolerance, compassion. You could count me back in if the church upheld that teaching and did not try to cram sin and salvation into my mind.

    Like

  2. Thanks for this one Bruce. It has challenged me to explore and more fully and clearly articulate my beliefs around Deity

    About 3 decades ago, as a matter of survival, I was forced to reconcile my beliefs that I then misguidedly identified as atheism with the need for a power greater than myself and a spiritual life capable of building AND continually enlarging a lifelong deep personal and practical relationship with what I now comfortable call “God.”

    That journey has been very challenging, given the current narrow and falsely dichotomous definitions of “God”, “atheism” and “spirituality.”

    Here is the set of related beliefs to which that journey has led me:

    “God” does not have to be transcendent or “super” natural in order to be omnipotent, omniscient (metaphorically) and omnipresent, as most religions and mono-theologies claim of their deities. An alternative concept of God can still claim these divine meta-characteristics and without being either merely “natural” or its opposite “supernatural”.

    The term I have coined for this “third way” (in face the preferred option in the large majority of situations where faced with seemingly irreconcilable “either/or” alternatives) is “intranatural” or “inclusive of all that is natural – in whole and in parts”

    I simply equate the word “God” with the Hermetic cancept of “The All” (see the Kybalion by Hermes of Trismegistus).

    Other ways to articulate this with definitions already available in our very limited language around the topic are to say that God is”

    1. “pervasive” = “spread throughout and in every part” of nature
    2. “immanent” = “existing and operating within” all of nature
    3. “inherent” = “permanently pervading and sustaining” all of nature

    To crystalize all this in my simple one sentence definition, for me “God” is Reality, The Universe, Existence, The Sum Total of All That Is.

    Another way might be to say God is the very quality of “Beingness” share by everything and anything that exists.

    Your thoughts?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.