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In terms of religion I am Catholic, but I feel more importantly that I am spiritual. Not to long ago I went out to dinner and ended up in an approximately three hour session of ask the Catholic.
Let me preface this by saying that while I do in fact consider myself Catholic, I am a very bad Catholic and furthermore I am proud of it.
As long as I can remember I have been a very spiritual person. I never saw the adventure in learning only things that could be proven true. I never put too much stock in the physical world, I have always seen it as just the first layer.
This isn't to say I haven't questioned or that I have accepted my faith blindly. I have done research on just about every religion you can think of. Buddhism, Wicca, Taoism, Voodoo, Judaism, Islam, Confucianism, Hindu, and many things far more obscure. I have looked at everything and my own personal beliefs are really a smattering of them all.
And of course I have thought in that other direction as well, yes I have questioned the existence of God. But I have always come back to the same conclusion, the world just doesn't make sense to me without God. It wasn't like I woke up one morning and decided that I was going to believe because it would make my life easier. As crazy as it sounds I feel that there is a God or at least some sort of higher power. I guess the only way I can describe it is; you know when your in class and the teacher asks a question and you know the answer, you don't know when or where you learned it but all the same you know your right you feel it in every fiber of your being even though you can't see him.
When I was in this long religious conversation, I was asked who I felt was more like a person who believed in one God, a person who believed in a thousand Gods and/or Spririts or someone who believed in no God at all. I answered that the person who believed in a thousand spirits and Gods was more smiler to a monotheist then an atheist. I suppose I never even thought of this as odd, having no belief in anything greater then humankind (for purposes of this argument animals and and potential alien species don't count) is vastly different then experiencing anything greater then ourselves. Even if it is the disembodied voices of Karma which brings balance to the world, or the gentle flow of the Tao, I see it all as signs of something greater, some sort of consciousness or coherence to the universe.
The person I was talking with Admitted that he had in fact been raised with Religion in his home, and had believed in it until he did research and found that just about all religions said different things. For me this discovery only strengthened my faith, sure it changed things a bit made me incorporate different things into my view of religion. For example I believe that Earth is actually purgatory and that reincarnation exists keeping us here till we either ascend into heaven (which may or may not be a physical place) or go to hell (which again my or may not be a physical plane of existence). I believe that just about every religion (that does not involve sending vast sums of money or ritualistic sacrifice) has a grain of truth. I believe that the true nature of God and his will is unknowable by the likes of humans. But I also believe that there is a bit of God in all of us, it's what connects us to one another, and it is what allows all of us to see a bit of truth about the universe as a whole. Everyone sees the world differently and it doesn't necessarily mean that everyone is wrong just because they have a different opinion. And that is a big part of why I don't believe in trying to convert anyone, I really think that everyone has to find their own path.
I can only say with certainly that this is what I believe and this is what I interpret as the truth. I think if I'm really lucky maybe 5% of what I believe will be true in the end. But no matter how hard I look or question the existence of God, the presence of life after death, and the existence of the soul; these concepts feel more true and alive to me then my own existence.
No matter how hard I look at it I kind of only see this world as the SAT exams to move on to something bigger and better, I see my body as the shitty broke down Ford Pinto that I have to drive around to get my work done, and aside from a fear of how much my friends and family would be upset if I were to die (ok and the certain pain factor involved with various forms of dying) I really am not afraid of death. I just sort of see it as the next step, the greatest adventure we ever get to embark on. And I very strongly feel that there is some sort of reason or plan as to why everything happens.
I can't imagine being any other way, spirituality is such a huge part of who I am. At the same time I have a lot of admiration for people who believe in nothing yet still act in a moral way and have the courage to keep moving on in a life that really can have no meaning or justice to it.
I stand right now at a place in my life where I don't know what to do, where to go, who I am going to grow up to be. All I can say is that I am going on faith and I am going to follow where the spirit leads me. Even if it is leading me to make semi incoherent posts on ether when I should be sleeping.
I find it interesting that a personal, spiritual choice can so greatly effect the opinion that certain types of people hold of you. That really makes me think that maybe these people don't cae about me as they say they do.
For example, if you have chosen to step away from a religion that you'd been in for a long time to explore your personal spirituality, why should anyone think less of you because of that? It's a personal decision!
Walk the middle course! All Siddhartha style. No two people are the same! One candle lights another, but they flames are different entities. This is us! This is humanity. No one can be the same as their predecessor!! Try as we might, we are all our own person.
"A witty saying proves nothing."
se pencha, fée pied.