So yeah, here's that post I promised on my religious beliefs, for those of you who were curious after the last one. I'm definitely not trying to convert people or anything, because I know everybody is going to be as set in their ways as I am. I'm just explaining my position here, since people were curious. So without further ado...
John Lennon said it a lot better than I ever could:
"I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It's just that the translations have gone wrong."
I mean, for me, religion itself is a flawed concept. I'm still sticking with my concept of God that I was raised with, and I still pray to the big man upstairs and still have belief, but I just have a really hard time with religion. The main problem that I have with organized religion is that it is created by man. Not God. It's inspired by God, sure, but not created by Him. And since religion is created by man, who is flawed, there are flaws in religion. I have no problem with people who go to church and follow the bible (a book people forget is written by man, inspired by God), but I'm just not one of them. I'd rather take my faith directly to whatever divine entity there is, and let it be flawed in my own way instead of someone else's.
My reasoning for not basing my personal belief system on organized religion or religious texts is what I said earlier, they're inspired by God, not created by him. I have a hard time thinking that the men writing these things down didn't put some of their own opinions in the text, like the whole gay marriage thing, but I digress. Also, religious texts can be perverted to be an excuse for a lot of wrongs and evils in the world, so you could find examples to justify most bad things. I mean, in the bible, the 10 commandments were created by God. Ok, I'm alright with those. I'm not exactly following the one about the sabbath, but I think the rest of them definitely make a lot of sense. I see it as a more specific version of the commanding right and forbidding wrong doctrine in the Qur'ran. The translation goes something like this:
"And the faithful men, and the faithful women are friends one to another: They command that which is just, and they forbid that which is evil; and they are constant at prayer, and pay their appointed alms; and they obey God, and his apostle: Unto these will God be Merciful; for He is Mighty and Wise."--Sura 9.71Huh, funny that people think that Islam and Christianity aren't all that similar. I think the core tenets are basically the same. What is right and wrong is pretty much agreed upon (Killing people is bad. Stealing is bad. etc etc etc.), except Islam requires a lot more devotion and praying than a lot of the different versions of Christianity do.
Another thing that makes me pretty unhappy is when people like to think their religion is the most correct, when really, they don't take the time to find out about what else is out there. And the reason I'm pointing out the differences and similarities between those two religions is that Muslims seem to be getting a lot of flack in the U.S. for a certain group of crazies (let's call them Al Qaeda) who decided to go and ruin the reputation for all the peaceable, awesome, hard-working Muslim citizens in our country. It really saddens me to see how many people just stereotype them as a whole nowadays, and how some of my friends get ridiculous extra "attention" at airport security, even though they've been citizens here their whole lives and are just as patriotic as the next guy. Just because of the way they dress, their last names, their freaking skin color. Aren't we supposed to be past stereotyping and flat-out racism? It's ridiculous.
There it is, my reasoning for not practicing organized religion. It causes a lot of tension and arguments when really, people just have to learn to accept each other's beliefs and customs so we can get along better.
As for why I still believe in God or whoever is actually up there? I guess I can't imagine not believing there isn't something waiting on the other side. I mean, life is just too short here, we're bound to have other plans made for us after this. I personally think my form of heaven would be getting to see all those I love, and getting to meet a bunch of people I admire. Like Ella Fitzgerald. In my version of heaven, I'd be jammin' with the jazz greats every day. I'd meet composers like Beethoven and Mozart and see if ALL composers throughout the ages have a bunch of weird ones among them, too (they probably do, I mean, look at me. I happily admit that we composers are an odd bunch.). And not only that, but there are just too many good, beautiful, wonderful things in this world for there to not be a higher power. Music. Rain in the summertime. Sunsets and sunrises. Laughter. Family. Friends. Love.
Yes, I'm aware there are a lot of bad things in the world too, but, really, if you look around, it's pretty easy to see that the good really does outweigh the bad in most cases.
And hey, you know what? If there IS a God and you lived your life believing, congrats, extra kharma points in the afterlife or whatever to you! If there ISN'T a God? Well, hey, what did it hurt for you to believe if this is really just it? I mean, if there's nothing after this, you don't really have consequences for NOT believing, so it's kind of a win-neutral situation if you do believe, because believing probably isn't going to hurt anything.
Well, there you have it, my crazy little belief system that I'm not really sure falls into any category. I'd say deism mixed with optimism, maybe?
Song of the day:
Let it Be. Originally by the Beatles, but this cover from Across the Universe is pretty dang powerful, and since I used a John Lennon quote earlier, I thought it would be fitting. Watch this video with a kleenex box nearby...