Simple Thoughts on Churches and Personal Spirituality
Author: Disciple of Oghma
I left the Christian faith this last year. After 25 years, I had became everything one seeks to become in a Christian (I still had my issues, but who doesn’t?). But I met a balanced person who gave a thought provoking life testimony. I nearly flipped when I found out this person was a dark pagan. I started rethinking my whole world.
Now I am on a new personal path with a much greater respect for others.
Once I had left Christianity, I started seeing clearly a lot of the odd misconceptions that it promotes… such as the twisted definition of ‘love’ among other things.
If a Christian’s relationship with his or her God could be put in the context of human marriage terms, then the Christian should get a restraining order on God, change his or her name and leave. A funny thought unless you find truth in it.
Anyway… after a year of thought, I have realigned my perspective of the Path.
When I first left the Christian religion, I realized all the hate and rage and condemnation that I was throwing around in the name of ‘love’. In an attempt to decide if that was ‘just me’ or the teachings of the church, I have studied the faith from a different angle.
At first, I drew the conclusion it was a parasitic organism that has been using its popularity and influence to corrupt the nations.
But an idea struck me and I no longer think Christianity is to blame for the problems with people.
I think the Christian church is a symptom of the underlying weaknesses of people not the illness itself. It’s all about our desire to have a set of black-and-white fatalistic standards to use as a system of measurement to understand our world.
So we create a system of “Absolute Truths”.
Then we create a control-based system to ‘run it’ so that we can take advantage of our own desire not to take responsibility for ourselves and to enrich ourselves at the cost of others all… the while feeling pride at our ‘humble spirituality’.
So then what do we do?
We build a large comfortable plush little shrine to an image of human perfection and greatness. The average church, not including all the zoning permits, costs an average of $3-$5 million to build. (I Googled the “cost of church building” and plucked a few sums. It isn’t an absolute number but it gives a good idea to the cost.)
Then we throw our individual responsibilities at it, pray, and ask it to do everything for us. Our only real ‘job’, it would seem, is to use it as an excuse to hate, kill, steal, and harm any whom disagree with us and our god.
Jehovah is the icon of what the average selfish lazy person would be if he or she was a god:
“Let there be “less of you more of me in your life.”
“Give me the upper 10% of your prosperity.”
“I love you if you sing my praises and enslave yourself to me.”
“I’ll help if it suits me and if I don’t, it will work to your benefit”.
(These are beliefs that were generally promoted to me in my churches. I have been through four branches of Protestantism and studied several of the “spinoff faiths of Judaism.” So if you find this inaccurate, I only mean to explain the background from which I draw my current musings).
It is possible for any faith to become in every way as ‘dark’ as we have often accused the Judeo-Christian belief and all its related spin-offs (Mormon, Judaism, Catholic, Jehovah witness, Satanism, protestant, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Pentecostal, etc.) as being.
It seems the only way to avoid this path is to cut the problem off at the roots.
Personal Growth and Responsibility
It seems when we face ourselves, we very often discover that all the roots of our problems stem from either bad reactions to outside stimuli or a passive/active bad decision on our part.
This includes a new growing trend I am seeing in “disorganized religion” as well: The pop up Wicca/Pagan Sunday schools and the adoption of opposing religious practices like Wiccan “CHRISTenings”.
There is a great freedom in disorganized paths but people who seeks any sort of power should exercise a measure of discretion and be assured that they are grounded. Power without responsibility is dangerous, no matter what badge one wears.
Also we must accept ourselves entirely. We must accept all of our darkness as well as all of our light. To do otherwise is to dwarf one’s growth as well as grant power to the darkness, thus leaving it unchecked.
All of the dark aspects of ourselves, in proper controlled amounts, are actually healthy things. Greed, sloth, envy, pride, etc. Without any of these things, we would never strive, never seek to achieve or grow. They are integral parts of ourselves.
It is as unbalanced to applaud tendencies of light while divorcing ones of darkness just as it is to believe only in a female or only in a male creator.
We don’t have to be destructive either. To find balance and growth, one should simply accept both the inner darkness and inner light to be whole. If you are not whole, how can you grow and stand?
When we recognize our weakness, we master it and find balance. Otherwise it doesn’t matter what the name of your faith is or what you call yourself. You will simply continue to commit acts of cruelty, ignorance, sloth, malice, strife, theft, condemnation, and pride.
If we all would seize the opportunity to take responsibility, accept ourselves, correct our own errors, love and respect everyone – including respecting their rights to their own paths and their own views — and stop trying to make a black-and-white standard in this colorful world, perhaps we can be a better people and encourage growth in a better world.