Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Question For You

For anyone who is reading this. Just curiosity, really, as I feel ready to begin exploring this topic for myself.

Do you believe in God? What God? What religions, what denomination? Do you practice actively or no? Tell me why you believe what you believe.

I thank you in advance.

34 comments:

GnomeSweetGnome said...

I believe in the God of the Bible. I actively try to follow Jesus Christ in all that I do, and definitely acknowledge that I will always fail to do so perfectly. The church I attend is a "community church", not really a specific denomination, and although the founders came from a mainly Church of Christ background, there are only whispers of that doctrine practiced actively. I believe in God because I cannot believe that all of creation happened by pure chance or coincidence. Unfortunately, I can't give a better answer than that as to why I believe the way I do - it encompasses everything I have experienced throughout my life.

Stephanie said...

I do believe in God. I was raised going to church, but as I grew older (and I believe, wiser) I came to realize that God could not hate or judge those who believe in other religions. Judaism came long before Christianity, Jesus was Jewish, no? So in my mind, all beliefs are valid. Buddhists, Christians, Jewish, Taoists, etc. There is a foundation for belief in all of those and I don't like when people say that their religion is the only religion. So find what is right for you and if it is a mix of all of them (like the Unitarians) so be it. Find peace in whatever it is you choose. Gabriel will shine through.

Jen Wargo said...

I'm going to answer honestly here (because I'm sure that's what you want). I was raised Catholic and my husband is Catholic. We go to church 1-2 times a month so not every week. I would not say I am devout, but I do believe in God and I really would like to be more passionate about church, but I don't want to force it. (jensneb from BOTB)

Alyssa said...

Do you believe in God?
100% yes.

What God?
To me, there is no 'other' God to choose from. Just God.

What religions, what denomination?
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka Mormons).

Do you practice actively or no?
I ... try. We have 3 hours worth of classes and church on Sundays, but I've only been going to the first hour in the past few months. Part of this is to do with being exceedingly uncomfortable sitting at church while pregnant. I do have a goal to become more active in my church, and go to all three meetings, when I have more energy.

Tell me why you believe what you believe.
There are some key things I love about my church that made me convert to it when I was 18 years old. Previously I was Catholic, and the BIGGEST difference for me is that Catholics believe in the trinity, that God, Christ and the Holy Ghost are ONE. We believe, as Mormons, that they are each individual, and are three separate beings. Also, in my church we are married for "time and eternity", i.e. forever, as opposed to the typical "until death parts us". To me, I believe in the after life, and it makes no sense to be married only until one of us dies. I want to (and am happy to know I am) be married forever.

Feel free to email me, alyssa.gavinski@gmail.com, if you want.

Kat said...

You don't know me but I've been following your blog for awhile, since hearing of your story on The Bump. I haven't commented on any of your entries so far because I know that nothing I could ever say would make you feel better and would probably just sound hollow and meaningless coming from a stranger, but since you specifically asked for responses, here's mine:

I was raised Lutheran, and grew up in a very religious home. I was baptized and confirmed in the church, and was very faithful for a long time; in college, I went to a non-denominational church and was involved in the choir and prayer groups. It was such an important part of my life that I decided to minor in Religious Studies, so that I could learn more about the history of my faith.

After studying Christianity for a few semesters, my outlook on it completely changed. When I looked at the history of the religion - what they could actually prove based on science and physical evidence, rather than stories written by people thousands of years ago - I stopped believing. For many reasons. First - if you actually read the Bible (it amazes me how few people who base their faith on this book have actually read it), it contradicts itself many times. How are we supposed to know what to believe, if the "manual" of our religion tells us two completely opposite things? Second - many things in the Bible got lost in translation. If you are somewhat fluent in a language other than English, you know that there are things that just don't translate; for instance, "eau de toilette" literally means "toilet water" in French, but the term actually refers to perfume. Similarly, the phrase in Ancient Greek that literally translates to "Son of God" in English actually means something closer to "man of God," or "holy man," so it's possible that Jesus never claimed to be the Son of God in the first place; he was just saying that he was a man of God.

After considering all that, I still can't shake the feeling that there is SOMETHING out there that is bigger than us; whether it is God, or fate, or something else, I don't know. Whatever it is, I can't bring myself to believe that, if there is a God, He is sitting on some proverbial throne, watching over us and deciding what happens. There is too much pain in this world for me to believe that. If God were all knowing and all powerful, as religions would have us believe, he wouldn't allow 2-year-old kids to die of leukemia and babies like Gabriel to die before they've even gotten a chance to live, and if he could prevent those things and chooses not to, then he's not worth worshiping, in my opinion.

So I guess you could say I'm Agnostic. I acknowledge the possibility of God, but I also acknowledge possibility that there might be no one there. And I certainly don't believe that any religion to this point has gotten it right. On the other hand, I don't try to convince other people that their beliefs are false - religion is very important to some people; who am I to try to take that away? Many people feel a void in their lives that they fill with religion, and if it serves that purpose for them I think it is a good thing.

Sorry this was so long-winded; I know you are probably searching for answers right now, and I'm not sure I gave you any, but I hope you find what you're looking for.

Susan K said...

I am a Christian, and more specifically Lutheran. I believe in God as expressed in the Holy Trinity: Father/Creator, Son/Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit/Comforter. I go to church every week and am active in discussions in the church, always trying to learn more and grow in faith.

Why do I believe what I believe? First in foremost, because I believe in objective truth, and the Bible is God's word revealed to us in order for us to know Him and what He has done for us. The basic story is that humankind is separated from God because of sin in the world and our own nature. There's nothing we can do ourselves to be like God or merit his gifts. But, because of his love for creation, he sent his only son, Jesus, who lived as a human, died sinless, and rose from the dead. In this action, he died eternal death for us so that we can stand next to God on Jesus' merit.

I believe that real evidence indicates this all to be true. Unlike with other religions (including some Christian denominations), the truth of Christianity doesn't rely on personal experience. If I had to feel God's presence in order to believe in Him, I would have given up on my faith, because sometimes I just don't believe it on my own. The lasting comfort I find is that God has done everything for me, and no matter what happens in my life, no matter what hardships I face, my sins are forgiven and I have assurance of eternal life.

In reference specifically to my pregnancy losses, it has helped me to realize that God did not intend for my babies to die and no one truly gets what they deserve--good or bad. I don't deserve God's forgiveness, but I have it because of Jesus. I also didn't deserve to have my babies taken from me, but it happens because evil is in the world.

In short, I believe because I am dead and lifeless on my own. God freely offers grace, and I eagerly accept out of desperation.

Mary said...

I've never commented before, and you don't know me. But this is something I feel passionately about, and I wanted to chime in.

I believe in God, the loving father, and His son Jesus Christ. But I didn't always. I was raised Catholic, but growing up I was molested for five years by a family member, and in the aftermath of that, just as I hit my teen years, I could not stomach the idea of a God who would let that happen to me. For years, I claimed there was no God. Sometimes I believed it, sometimes I didn't, but it was what was easiest to believe.

I'm not sure what changed. I was eighteen, a senior in high school, when I let God back into my life. I think I just realized that there were things I couldn't understand. I realized how much stronger my experiences had made me, how different. They'd led me on this journey, this incredible journey, to make me someone I never could have been otherwise. Don't get me wrong, I still struggled with my faith, and I do to this day. I think I just realized that the way God loves us isn't the way we love each other. God loves us so much that He is willing to let us hurt now so that His glorious plan can be fulfilled. And more than that, I realized that God loved us enough to humble Himself and become one of us; He loved us enough to take it even further, to die in the most humiliating way possible, so that we could live. And I realized that if He would do that for me, there must be a reason He didn't answer my prayers when I cried out to Him as a child. That there must be something bigger than I can possibly understand going on.

I think my biggest problem, personally, is that I get caught up thinking of God as human, or human-like. But just like if you leave a dog at the kennel, he doesn't understand that you're doing it so that you can visit your sick grandmother, he just feels like you've abandoned him, and there's no way that you can explain to him that he's wrong -- we lack understanding in that same way. We can never really wrap our brains around what God wants for us, what he's trying to do. We can never really understand. We just have to have faith.

To answer your other questions, I'm Baptist, have been since college, and go to church every week, plus small group and Bible study.

Anyway! I know you're going through an incredibly tough time right now, and it's completely natural to feel betrayed and let down by God. I have been praying for you, that you will find peace in the wake of this tragedy. I hope you don't mind. Thank you for sharing your story.

Super Treesa said...

I'm agnostic. I believe in a higher power but not a well defined "god." I believe that everything good/bad happens for a reason. But that reason isn't necessarily good or bad. I'll admit that I don't get comfort from my beliefs. They don't leave my empty or anything like that. But I don't get comfort in believing in a higher power.

Jessica said...

I believe in God and am a Christian. I was raised Methodist, but it took me a while to become convinced of what I believe today. I think it's human nature to doubt and question, especially if you're an intelligent person that tends to be inquisitive and needs proof in order to believe something.

I took a religion course in college to further educate myself and hope to find out what I truly believed and what was real. My professor said something that I won't forget. He said the odds of the universe exploding and creating life and our world (such as in the case of the Big Bang Theory) had about as much probability as a tornado blowing through a junk yard and "accidentally" creating a 747.

I have no doubt that there is a creator because it makes no sense any other way. God has moved in my life and been there for me in ways I couldn't have imagined that I needed at the time. Currently, my husband and I consider ourselves Baptist, but I am always seeking out knowledge and more information-I'm reading the full Catholic Cathechism right now, for example.

I don't think there's any harm or danger in seeking answers and wondering- God made us to be inquisitive and truth-seeking. I feel like those who seek out and "find" their beliefs are more dedicated to them than those who are told how things are and just accept it. I guess what convinced me is that every time I sought an answer, I kept coming back to the same one.

I believe in God in a unfailing way, even if the details remain fuzzy to me at times. That's what faith is all about.

I hope you find your answer.

Dawn~a~Bon said...

Hey love.

Do you believe in God?
I do.

What God?
The God of the Bible, the Christian God.

What religions, what denomination?
Presbyterian

Do you practice actively or no?
Unfortunately, not like I want to. I had a church I loved, years ago, and since I've moved, I haven't found that. Plus my husband has less than zero interest in going to church. I do pray every night and feel like God is better to me than I deserve.


Tell me why you believe what you believe.
I believe what I believe due to the good people I knew from the church I mentioned previously. I do have a hard, hard time understanding certain things in this world, why some people suffer more while people who don't seem to deserve blessings get them in spades.

Leslie said...

Hi there. I'm an agnostic. I like to call myself a recovering Catholic.

I am not sure if I believe in a god. I like to think there's one (or many), but I just don't know that to be true, you know? It's not something I've ever felt in my heart, but I also am open to the possibility that a god exists.

Hopefully that makes sense.

notsosmallfries said...

Do you believe in God?
Yes, with all my heart, mind, and soul.

What God?
God is just God to me.

What religions, what denomination?
Christian--Catholic

Do you practice actively or no?
Yes. I'm always trying to learn and understand more.

Tell me why you believe what you believe.
The easy answer is faith. But faith is hard to come by in hard times so it sort of sucks as an answer. The long answer is that looking back over my life I can see the Holy Spirit at work in me. I believe there is evil in the world that can thwart God's plan for us. So sometimes the Holy Spirit has helped me overcome that. Other times It has changed and shaped me in ways I didn't like or understand at the time. I've also seen how when I reach out to Him he has given me blessings beyond what I could imagine. I just can't find it in my mind or heart to believe that everything--good or bad--in our lives is all an accident because the effects are too profound.

One thing I've come to believe is that it is OK to be angry with God. A relationship with God is an interpersonal one and that means you don't have to feel positive about it all the time. What really helped me to accept that was reading some of Mother Teresa's letters to her spiritual adviser. They were published after her death. She wrote of feeling the absence of God in her life and wanting to feel Him near her. If a woman as holy as she was can have a rocky relationship with God where she doesn't understand what He is doing in her life, then so can someone far more imperfect like me. But I keep trying and keep praying and eventually I get to a place where I'm Ok with God again.

The professor in this class I'm taking always tells a story he attributes to St. Augustine. St. Augustine was walking down the shore pondering the Holy Trinity and how it worked. He saw a child with a bucket running from the water to a hole dug in the sand. He'd dump the water into the hole and then run back to fill it again to repeat the process. St. Augustine asked the boy what he was doing. The child responded, "I'm trying to put the sea in the hole."

St. Augustine replied, "You'll never get the whole of the sea into that hole."

"And you'll never get the entirety of the Trinity into your head," said the boy who had become Jesus.

Whether it really happened or not, I don't know. But I think it makes a good point. We get bucketfuls of understanding when the wealth of God's presence is more vast than the ocean.

I don't know if that helps you in your struggle, but if you want to talk about any of it more, I'm willing to do so.

Love and hugs to you, hon.

Roshelle said...

I believe in God, the Father, Jesus, his son (who died for my sins), and the Holy Spirit. I am a protestant Christian, specifically Christian Reformed. I live my faith every day (although I am by no means perfect). Why do I believe? Because I see God in my life every day. I have seen him through the good times and the bad times.
(roshybride from the Nest, although Ive been a bad nestie and haven't been around a while).

Alyssa said...

I like to believe there is a God.
That is an awkward statement to describe my beliefs, but it is hard for me to always believe in God.
I was raised Catholic, and blindly followed it until about age 12. Then, I started paying attention to the contradictions and hypocricy around me. By the time I started college, I said I was agnostic.
But, like I said, it's hard for me to not believe. Maybe it's because I want to believe there is something better than this--or maybe, I HAVE to believe there is something better than this, or this won't be worth it. Does that make sense?
I believe in the big bang. I believe on the whole, we are a mistake, or a coincidence. I don't believe one being could make our world, and sit back and observe as it went to hell in a handbasket so swiftly. There are too many people and things wrong with this world for me to believe we were put here for a specific purpose.
I don't believe that this means I am a person without faith, or that someone elses faith is better than mine because they can believe in something they don't see. If God did make me, then He knows who I am, and expects my doubt. If He is real, he laughs to himself when I question him, because I WILL question Him. I often tell my husband that when I die, even if I do get a reason for life and all the stuff in it, I don't think it will be satisfying. I don't think I have to believe in what God is trying to do. In my opinion, all too often, He does nothing, and nothing He can say to me will ever justify that.
ALL of that being said, I feel that I talk to God on a daily basis, and that to my core, He understands and accepts me. In my opinion, THAT is what faith is about. Knowing that I am who I am, He is proud that He plays a part in my life, and that maybe, he can show me one day the reason for all of this.
I do not go to church--I do not want to. My husband really wants me to, and has even gone so far as making it a TTC contingency. We were married in a Lutheran church, but I feel much, much more at ease follwoing whatever I feel on a given day.
*hugs*

Jessica R said...

I've been following your blog, but I am a "stranger" to you.

I consider myself a unitarian universalist...I believe, I have faith. I do not believe in the concept of Jesus, or God as in many religious people think of "Him" but I still have faith. Some people don't consider this a true religion, and that's okay:)

For me, being an universalist allows me to embrace my own faith without stepping on other faith's toes so to speak.

I don't go to church, the closest unitarian church is almost 2 hours away. It's hard to explain it, google does a better job if your interested in it more. http://www.uunashua.org/100q/c1.shtml#q1
Best wishes, electricdoctor83 from thebump

The Washer said...

I, like a couple of others commenting here, consider myself an Agnostic. I was drug to church as a kid, to go to Sunday School and that whole bit. I went, but it was more of a social time to be with "good kids" than much learning about God, etc. I don't think I can ever say I have fully, with all my heart believed. I like the historical aspects of the church I grew up in for my own family reasons (my family was given the task by Prince Carl to take care of the bells that are now displayed outside).

But, I just can't believe wholeheartedly and without reservation. I just try to live my life the best I can.

My husband, on the other hand, has recently been introduced to some religious folk that try to prove with science that God does exist. He has told me that my life is bleak because I do not believe. I think THAT type of thinking amongst the followers of ANY religion is what gives the whole thing a bad rap. Why would I want to subscribe to ANYTHING that tells me how much better I am for just blindly believing what is written or told to me from a pulpit (although in the entire time we've been married, I don't believe he has been to church once-we weren't married in a church but instead were married on the town circle by the county judge).

All that said, I do send my children to a daycare in a fairly conservative church and don't actively keep them from religion. Yesterday I went to our 10th grade English teacher's funeral, and was touched by the passion she had for God...yet sitting there, I still can't get over the fact that some people accept "God's will" for her to have cancer or to die before seeing her sons get married or having children. I just don't get it!

Again, I try to live my life as best I can. I figure that if I do that, and there ends up being a God when it's my time to leave this planet, he'll see that I lived my life well and that he will forgive me, because as of now, he has not shown himself to me and I just cannot believe.

As a side note, I do think that things happen for a reason, although we may never realize what those reasons may be.

Nlvaden said...

Do I believe? Yes. I am a christian-protestant (sp?), I was raised that way in a big family that prayed before every meal and went to church several times a week. I went through a stage where I was not sure myself. How could there be a god so unjust as to take a child away from its mother? Who causes harm to his people? But I turned to the bible for my answers. Everything has a reason. If I did not have the three prior m/c, I would not be pregnant with my little girl right now. I am in no way taking that for granted. I know that at any second, she could be taken away from me. I just have to put my faith in god and trust. Trust is the hardest thing to do when you hurt so bad. But when you do trust, you open up your heart to other people and other things that might have a message for you. If you are asking for proof that God exists, I say look around. Close your eyes and breath the air. Touch the dirt. Sure one can try and make up all these scientific reasonings for them. The truth is, they are too just afraid to trust and will be missing out on the great that is God.

MSC from GP said...

I'm also on the list of recovering Catholics, but I'm grateful for the morals that growing up in the church instilled in me.

However, what I believe is a whole lot more vague. There is a power that gives us life, but I don't believe it's a god that assigns a path for us or makes decisions for us.

I don't believe that what happened to either of us happened for a reason--it just happened. To me, it's a statistical thing and as much as it sucks, we were dealt a bad hand. Does it mean we're unlucky or that we did something to deserve it? OH HELL NO!

We all run the same risks every day of having good/bad things happen to us and fortunately life offers many more opportunities for the good than the bad.

You've got so much good in your life and you and your DH will get through this even stronger than before. Hold onto that and the love that you have for Gabriel.

I know this is just my explanation that makes sense and comforts me, I totally understand if it's not the same for you. I just wanted to offer it up in the offchance that it does help.

xoxo

That Chick Over There said...

Yes, I believe in God. Just God. I attend a Baptist church because I like the pastor and the people, but I'm really not any denomination in particular. I go to church every week and I pray every day of my life. Usually several times.

I had a period of time when I was 22 years old, pregnant with twins and abandoned by my husband, that I was so angry at God that I could barely see out of my own eyes. I went to church and sat in the pews and felt...nothing. Absolutely nothing. I was so angry, so enraged, so exhausted. I had tried so hard to be the right person. To do the right things. To become what I thought I was supposed to be for God and I just could not understand why he had forsaken me.

It was a horrible time. Even now, eleven years later, I feel myself tearing up over it.

The night before my children were born, I was dying and no one would help me. I'm sure I have told you this story before, but I know that I was visited by two angels that night. Twins. It is so hard for me to talk about that because I don't want people to think I'm a huge freak, but it happened. I know it happened. And I felt the Lord say to me, as clearly as if someone in the room spoke it:

For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

It didn't get better right away. You know my story. It was hard for years. I didn't know if they would live. I had nothing and no one. No friends and my family...well, you know. It's still hard sometimes because I just don't understand. It's hard for me to accept that I'm not necessarily SUPPOSED to understand. Because I REALLY WANT TO.

I'm not a perfect Christian. I swear like a sailor and I think evil things all the time. When I found out about Gabriel I was furious at God.

But that's the thing about God, I suppose. He still loves me. He'll always love me even when I sin and suck ass and do all the wrong things. He'll always bless me in ways I can and can't see. Just as I can't explain why God picked me to be left, pregnant and alone at 22, I cannot explain why God gave me the most amazing kids on the planet. I cannot explain why both my parents had cancer any more than I can explain how I, a completely unknown person, got a book deal. I cannot understand why I have secondary infertility any more than I understand why I am so, so blessed to have wonderful friends in my life like you. I've given up trying to explain such things. I really try not to even think about the whys anymore.

I don't know if this will help you, at all. I don't explain my relationship with God very well. It's complicated.

But I love you. I am here for you if you ever want to talk about it.

Lore B said...

I believe in God as in a force greater than us. It's more of an organic belief, sort of in the forces and power of Nature, and a greater good. I don't believe in religion. Though I acknowledge that it works for many, it doesn't work for me. I believe in "don't do to others what you don't want others to do to you".

queenrandom said...

I do believe in God. Some would say I believe in the God of the Bible and Torah and Qu'ran (since it's all the same God). I think it goes deeper. I'm not quite sure of the nature of God, and I think as humans we probably got most of it wrong; I think we know God not by words on a page which may or may not have been altered at some point by human beings, but by the love in our heart. I truly believe the passage "God is love, and all that live in love live in God;" I think it is the truest think ever said of God. I was raised Catholic, and still consider myself culturally Catholic. I am not active in the Church but if I were to go back to one I'd probably go there. I won't go into details of my "crisis of faith" but suffice it to say I think lately the Church has been sending messages of hate rather than of love, and thus (in my mind) corrupting the image of God. As to the why I believe these things; I joined a Bible study group when I came down here to continue the religious education I had started in high school. When I really read the words of the Bible, when I studied it as not only a religious but an historical and legal document, as it was written and intended, I had a moment of clarity through philosophical debate with myself. When I looked into my heart and the clues that were left in the Bible, I came to two conclusions: A) The only consistent message about God is that God tells us over and over and over and over again that God loves us, and that we are made in God's love (and when I think of God, this is what I feel); and B) humans are very conceited to think we know the intentions and workings of God; God is still so much a mystery and I would never presume to define God. I'll only find out when I go to meet God, and maybe still then I will be incapable of comprehending.

I hope this helps you with your own struggle with faith. Remember you are loved, and so is Gabriel.

Ibis said...

I do not believe in God. I was raised as a Christian fundamentalist - I guess Baptist would have been our denomination. I struggled with my faith (or, really, lack thereof) a lot as a teen and young adult and when I finally let go of feeling obligated to believe, it was like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I had a moment of enlightenment (I was 25) when I just knew that I had never truly believed and I could let go of the guilt over that.

RunnerBaby said...

You don't know me, but I've been a BOTB lurker for some time and I have been following your story for awhile. I started asking myself this question when my dad died suddenly last year and I have come to the following conclusion:

I believe there is a God. I believe that there is a heaven, though I don't know exactly what that entails. I think there are multiple paths to that place. I believe genuinely good people who live good lives can get there, no matter their religious affiliation.

As for why I believe this, I think there are too many amazing things in this world for it to all be random chance, but I don't believe in a God who would select people based on who was exposed to what in their lives. I believe in God because I cannot, for some reason, NOT believe in him, though there was a dark time last year when I struggled with that.

I hope this makes sense.

Rachel said...

I don't believe in God. I was raised Catholic, although we did not talk about God much at home. I have never had any kind of feeling that there is a god, once I was old enough to really think about it. Nothing I see or hear convinces me that there is a god, but mainly nothing I feel inside me makes me think there is one. I also don't believe it makes any sense to pretend to have faith, or that I need faith to lead a virtuous life.

So, when bad things happen, I believe they just happened that way, not that I don't understand a god's grand scheme, or that he is testing me or punishing me. When good things happen, I believe they just happened that way, not that I am being rewarded for believing in a god. I don't understand the concept of prayer at all, except that it helps a person focus in a positive way and perhaps gather one's friends in a certain manner, in times of need. I don't mind if people pray for me, and if someone asks for prayers, I offer whatever comfort I can and concentrate on them and their problems, but I don't pray.

I wonder how painful it is for the religious to go through difficult times and question their faith. Not in the sense that I don't think their faith is worth that kind of pain and so they should just not believe; that would be ridiculous. I just don't know what that is like and imagine it is very hard.

Tena said...

Yes, I believe in a higher being of sorts, which most people define as God. I believe in god-driven evolution, which is NOT the same as I.D. I think that putting things out into the universe can help things happen, i.e. prayers can be heard. That said, I do not think that there is such a being as the "traditional" God. I won't get into it here, but maybe at some point I will post my more elaborated beliefs on my own blog. I do believe in miracles. I respect that other people have different beliefs from mine, and I have no desire to be preached at and therefore do not attend a church. I think that we all have our "angels" if you wish to call them that, and that they are the primary intercessors regarding our prayers.

justgerbil said...

I believe in God. God has many faces, many names, many aspects. I believe that God just IS.

I look back at a children's book called Old Turtle, which is a treasure not only for the luscious paintings, but the message contained within. Each creature speaks of God as a reflection of themselves alone and they argue over who is right and what god is. And Old Turtle spoke up and said to each one God IS (whatever) AND (turns to the next) God IS... so that each was affirmed, and yet pointing out that they each had but a piece of it.

Old Turtle goes on to say that "there will soon be a new race of beings on the earth. They are a message of love from god to the earth, and a prayer from the earth back to god."

And the People came.

The book continues with all the people beginning the same arguments about god and fighting until even the earth began to die. This time all the creatures spoke of god using each other's words... and finally the people stopped fighting to listen.

And Old Turtle smiled.

And so did God.




Everyone has a place where they can do the most good, in a faith that allows them to do so. Not everyone is born to it, not everyone finds it easily. Not everyone is going to use the same words.

Joy said...

I am a Christian; I believe in God as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and I am a Methodist. But I also believe in my heart that God loves us all, and reaches us in any way He can (i.e. Judaism, Islam, etc.). I became active in the church regularly a few years ago, before that I attended hit and miss to either Lutheran, Catholic, or non-denominational congregations. I am drawn to Methodism for many reasons, first and foremost is the emphasis on personal experience/knowledge of God, and secondly their social ministries/outreach. My faith is strong, but I am not well-educated in scripture or church traditions, and I am working on that because I want to know more.

As for my personal belief and why, well, that is a long story. The short version is that I was touched by God as I went through the darkest period in my life (to date). In February 2008, my husband almost died from a brain aneurysm. To be completely factual, he went unconscious, stopped breathing, and his heart stopped. This all happened on our bedroom floor in the middle of the night. Somehow I managed to do all the right things (call 911, do CPR, etc) until the EMTs got there, and then I broke down. I then spent the next week in an ICU with my husband and his family, not knowing if he would live, and what brain/body function, if any, he would have. My moment with God came at the end of that first week. The nurse had made me leave the unit during an especially rough time, and I went to the hospital chapel to try to calm down. Instead, I began to sob hysterically, and cry out to God brokenly that I couldn't do this anymore, I couldn't take this, I just can't. I felt like my body was going to crumble from the pain of what my husband was going through. God was there, and he answered me. He sent a chaplain walking by at that moment, and she came in to comfort me. She held me while I sobbed, she prayed over me, and gradually calmed me down. She then told me that God had moved her to comfort me in my pain and sorrow as she didn't usually disturb people in the chapel. After this, I went back to the ICU and was able to sleep. That night turned out to be the turning point in my husband's recovery; in just a few short weeks he was out of ICU and headed to a neurology rehab unit. Here we are a year and a half later, and you wouldn't know he had nearly died, and I can firmly say that he is a miracle and God used me and so many other people to perform that miracle.

That moment in the chapel is a central moment to my renewed faith. Before then I sort of drifted, and believed, but had never really felt God's presence. Now I do. Now I can look back at all the good and bad things in my life (of which there are many) and see God's presence there. I can see that the often crooked and broken path of my first 30 years on earth was truly guided by God's hand, and I am humbled. I can look to the future and know that God loves me, and he is beside me in all my rejoicing and in all my weeping. I recently miscarried our first pregnancy at almost 7 weeks, and as much as it hurts, I know that God did not intend this to happen, that all the life he gives is perfect, it is our broken world that interferes. Even in my sorrow and pain of loss, He is here, holding my hand and my tears.

I have been reading your blog for some time, and my heart aches for you and your husband. I wish there was something more I could say to bring you comfort and peace, but I don't have the words. What I can do is continue to pray for you, for your husband, and for your beautiful Gabriel in heaven. I believe he is watching over you, and I believe he waits for the time when you will be reunited. I believe that hope and love are two of the most powerful forces on this earth, I pray that you continue to be blessed with them both.
-Joyous1106 (GP on the bump)

shotzie said...

I believe in God. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (as He is referred to in the Bible). I grew up going to church, my Dad taught classical Greek in a Seminary. My dad's view of Christianity is very academic since he was a teacher. My mom's view of God is more of a relational one.

In High School, I became very involved in our youth group and this was the first time I felt like I owned my faith and my beliefs. I came to know that I know that I know that my God is my God.

There are things that are beyond my comprehension but nothing will change who God is to me. Circumstances may change, but He always remains.

I believe Jesus is the way the truth and the life. He died for our sins so that we could have a relationship with God the Father. Sin separates us from God and Jesus died for those sins. Just as Jesus died and rose from the dead, I am considered a new creation in Christ since I have accepted Him as my savior. I believe this to be the truth. I do not believe other paths to heaven to be truth. If one is true, how can the others be also? To me that would negate the power of those beliefs. I know that's a very unpopular way to think in this post-modern society, but it's what I believe. Everyone wants to think that you just have to find what works for you or what makes you feel good. I think that's a bit of a cop out and an easy way to avoid listening to God's voice in your life.

We go to church but we have gotten a bit lazy lately and haven't been going as regularly. I used to feel guilty not going to church, but I don't believe you have to be in a church to talk to God or hear Him or worship Him. I believe you can do those things wherever you feel close to Him. For me, that's being outdoors in His creation. When I am in the mountains, I can't help but think of the God of the Universe who created them.

I know that no matter what happens in my life or who betrays me or disappoints me, God is always there. He never fails me. I don't think believing in God means life will be easy. We are told to "take up our crosses and follow Him." That means to expect hardships, persecution, etc. But He brings us through those things and one day we will be with Him in heaven and I believe we'll get a glimpse of what was behind all of those trials (if we don't get a glimpse here on earth).

I do not believe we get to heaven by being "good." We have all sinned and fallen short. Jesus paid the price for us and by believing in Him, we can have a relationship with God. It is by God's grace we are saved, not by anything we do.

Loretta said...

I am a Christian of the Presbyterian variety. I believe that God created the world, sent His Son Jesus to save the world by living a sinless life and dying for our sins, and gives us his Holy Spirit to help us live right.

A big part of my faith is realizing that there are mysteries, things we don't understand. We don't understand why life is filled with pain and suffering for so many. But God is so much bigger and powerful and wiser than we are. I am not one of those "everything will work out well in the end" sort of Christians, unless by the end you mean the day that Christ returns to reclaim his church and put an end to ALL suffering and pain. That is the hope I cling to...not that God will be like our daddy who makes everything happy for us, but that He knows way more than we ever will and His ultimate plan is to have us live with Him in a perfect place.

Serendipite said...

I have a hard time believing in anything most of the time.

Jason and Whitney Powell said...

Hi, I have been reading your blog anonymously for a while now but when I saw this post I thought I would answer it with what i believe.
I do believe in God with my whole heart. I was raised LDS & have study out for myself this religion and I believe it with my whole heart. One of the Beliefs we (LDS) have is that we will get to be with our family again after death. I know with my whole being that no matter what happens to my family I will see and get to hold them again.

shawnandlarissa said...

I do believe in God. I'm not active in the church but was raised Episcopalian. I don't believe that I have to belong to a church to be a Christian and I don't believe that God is the reason for what happens in our day to day lives.

the.crocketts said...

Do you believe in God?
Yes. I can't doubt that he exists.

What God?
A loving, caring Heavenly Father who is always there for us, if we only seek him.

What religion, what denomination?
I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Ladder Day Saints

Do you practice actively or no?
My husband and I try to go to church every week. It's usually three hours, but we tend to only go the first hour, which is Sacrament.

Tell me why you believe what you believe:
I believe that "Families Can be Together Forever". I believe that this world is just a stepping stone into the next and final world, where we'll live with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I believe that Christ was crucified and died for our sins so that we could one day go and live with him again.
Why do I believe this? I've read and studied the Bible and The Book of Mormon, I've had questions about my beliefs and prayed about them and my prayers were answered and I was so overwhelmed with a feeling that what I was questioning was true.

It's funny you should ask these questions. I've been reading your blog for a few weeks now and I have wanted to reach out to you and tell you that you are loved, and your sweet baby Gabriel is loved. I know, I don't just believe, I know that Gabriel is in Christ's arms and he's waiting for you to one day join him so that you can be a family together once again.

I wish that I could tell you more about why I believe what I believe, but I'm afraid I'd bore you and tell you wrong. Since I've never had to go through the pain and heartache that you have endured, I found an article on one woman's loss that I hope you find comfort in. I wish you only the best and I want to reiterate that you and Gabriel are loved and I know you'll be together again someday.

http://lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=e74427cd3f37b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1

Katiedid1806 said...

I believe in God, and was raised Catholic. However, I did not go to church for many years after high school (a Catholic girls school) because I had personal differences of opinion with some of the major tenents of the Catholic Church. I still would pray to God, and thank Him and the Holy Mother for their help or blessings, etc. My husband was raised Protestant, but had not attended for most of his adulthood, either. When he told me he wanted to be married in a church, I explained I would not be a hypocrite. We discussed it and decided to try the Episcopal Church. Seemed like a middle ground, of sorts, that we could both get behind.

We were very lucky to find a church we were comfortable in and felt we could raise our (future) children with. Because of work schedules, we only get there about twice a month, but we work hard to get there with Bunny, and she will attend preschool there.

I have always felt God and the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and all the rest were with me and in our world/lives. However, I do think Free Will plays a huge part in what happens to us, and that God is not the one bringing the hurricane to wipe out a city. I think instead that he is there to keep us from being alone in the darkest of times, regardless of how it ends. I believe that He (and the Saints, etc - probably a holdover from the Catholic influence) is there to provide comfort and help us recover and move forward (not forget, move on, etc - just forward). I also tend to believe that while I worship in one way, and others worship in another (Judaism, Muslim, Baptist, etc), ultimately most of us are praying to the same Higher Power (exception being those who worship Satan, of course), and thus have more in common than some others might agree.