I was born into a fairly religious Catholic family. My grandmother went to mass almost every day. She tithed a portion of her limited income to the church, baked for church functions, and of course took me along on Sundays. When we visited for holidays such as Christmas and Easter we dressed up even nicer than normal, and all went together.
Then something happened. At about 12 years of age I began to think in a critical way about what I believe in, and of my relationship with God. I began to look at the books of the bible as more an allegory, and less as fact. As I began to read more history books I noticed that there are many religions. All have many things in common including the belief that they are the correct and true believers in God.
I began struggling with that faith for a while. Part of it stems from my being whipped with a ruler by nuns when I questioned them in Sunday School on certain topics. Discussion and free thinking were not allowed in church or amongst other church goers. If you dared question “the word of God” they told you that you were questioning the Bible, and that the Bible was sacred. You were questioning God.
But other religions had sacred books. And from what I learned the bible was compiled and standardized during the 4th century AD in an attempt to unify the Christian church under emperor Constantine. The Nicene Creed that many Catholics say during mass came from that 4th century Council of Constantinople.
But that would mean that Man, not God was the person speaking through the Bible. Sure, the Bible was said to be inspired by God, but with all those people deciding the true bible for God at Nicene how can this book be so sacred?
I started drifting away from the Church. I still held spiritual beliefs, but really didn’t believe the theology of the Bible. I saw that being involved in a church was beneficial, and for a while I was an active Episcopalian.
The trouble is that there are too many religions in the world for me to believe in just the one I was born in to.
According to the Christian bible God created floods, earthquakes, volcanos, and other calamities to punish people who didn’t act according to his will. What kind of loving God controls through fear and intimidation? Wouldn’t we take a child away from a parent that acted in much the same way?
And if He did create those events to punish, why doesn’t he do it now? And why are there all these religions? If God does indeed want to be worshipped why are there so many competing religions? Why hasn’t he spoken clearly enough for the whole world to understand?
These are questions I’ve struggled with.
My beliefs differ greatly than that taught by the Christian Church. I don’t believe that God really micromanages our lives or the world around us. He either has no desire or ability to control things like the weather, who gets sick, who wins the lottery, or what team will win the Superbowl.
I do believe in a higher power. A “Great Architect”, if you will. This higher power is beyond our level of understanding. We can only hope to understand him by looking at what He created.
What He created was the world by setting rules and laws and allowed things to develop accordingly. When I sit outside on a starry night and look at the heavens, or see how everything in this world works so perectly, or how animals are born, or snow falls, I definately see a higher consciousness.
I believe in creation and evolution. Why can’t you have both? Why couldn’t God have created a world where the rules of existence included animals and plants evolving into what they are today? Why couldn’t we have evolved from an early primate if that is what God wanted?
In short, I believe that to see God you don’t have to look in a book or go to church. You simply have to look at the world around you. By observing the beautiful world we live in you will see your God.