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Faith, or not - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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Faith, or not [May. 9th, 2012|01:59 pm]
Zoethe
My spiritual journey has been deep in the weeds of late.

I blame fundamentalists.

I have been really poisoned against any kind of God talk by fundamentalist Christians who insist on putting the onus for their every behavior and for every event on God. "With God's blessing, I will get a good grade on this final!" "Look at this sunny day that God has given us!" "I'll get this job, if it's part of God's plan!"

It's like fingernails on a chalkboard, every time I come across this kind of talk. And lately I've been hearing it more and more from the wiccans I'm around. "If the goddess wills it, tomorrow will be sunny!" "The goddess was with my on that job interview!" "I can accomplish ________ with the help of the goddess!"

There is nothing inherently wrong with any of these people using these terms. I'm not saying that people should change their relationship with their chosen deity because of my beliefs. But for me, it literally causes my stomach to clench with distaste.

For a while, I thought I was becoming an atheist. That made me really sad. I want to believe. And I had this strange dichotomy of still believing in the "woo woo" things that I have witnessed and been a part of in my life while not believing. I was my own paradox.

It's taken a while, but I have come around to a comfortable place. I have pretty much abandoned the notion of a anthropomorphic deity of any sort. But I still believe that there is energy in this world that is beyond the ken of current comprehension. And that it can be tapped into by our own "spirits." I believe that there is an essence to each person that survives death and returns to continue experiencing life in a new form. And I believe that the tools of worship do help to focus these energies.

I just won't be telling you how the goddess planned my day.
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[User Picture]From: inaurolillium
2012-05-09 06:17 pm (UTC)
Seriously, pagans in this country need to stop taking Christians as their model for spirituality and how to be religious. It's stupid. There are so many other ways of doing it, so many genuinely pagan ways of doing it. (Some of which are just as annoying, I'm afraid.)

I say this as a pagan: Grr. Stupid pagans.
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[User Picture]From: anivair
2012-05-09 07:18 pm (UTC)
This. I can't tell you how often I've been angered because some pagan was talking about a casual chat they had with thor in the shitter. Sorry, you were not. You were most likely talking to yourself. If Thor talked to dudes in the shitter, the rest of us wouldn't be bothering with all this "ritual" and "meditation" and all this other stuff that is the hard work part of the faith. We'd just go take a crap and see what the god of thunder thought.

It's certainly their right, but I wonder if they see how insulting it is to people who have actually done work and studied and trained to be prepared to communicate with divine powers for them to be so stupid? it's just arrogance and laziness dressed up as paganism. Very common.
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[User Picture]From: ba1126
2012-05-09 06:32 pm (UTC)
When my kids used to say they were praying for a good grade, I'd say "God helps those who help themselves! Ask for the ability to understand and retain what you've studied, ask that the teacher chooses questions you can answer, or even that she's an easy scorer and gives you the benefit of the doubt, but don't ask God to give you a grade you didn't earn!!"
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[User Picture]From: daphne24
2012-05-09 06:38 pm (UTC)
If you'll excuse the term, "Amen!"

I'm reminded of two guys I went to college with - our school was known for its journalism program but also had a way better than average engineering program. I lived down the hall from two engineering students in their senior year. They were supposed to take all year on their final project. They were roommates and I never saw the one because he was always studying or working on one project or another.

The other waited until the end of the year to even start his project and said, "God will work it out."

::headdesk::
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[User Picture]From: daphne24
2012-05-09 06:35 pm (UTC)
When I left Christianity, one of the main reasons I did't jump into paganism was that it still felt like organized religion (however disorganized most pagan gatherings actually are). Replace Jesus with the god or goddess of your choice and bam!

I didn't want to go back to that - it was exactly what I was trying to avoid.

But yeah, I believe in some serious woo-woo type stuff. I've felt and experienced things that have no explanation other than woo-woo. I believe in energy. I believe there is something out there bigger than us that guides us in the right direction and makes sure we come across the people and places we are meant to come across. I call it the Universe because I see it as not so much having a shape as being a collection of energies.

The short version of this comment is that I could have written this post. And I think I have similar ones in my blog - but they too are a hell of a lot longer :)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-05-09 08:28 pm (UTC)
Glad to know I'm not alone!
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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2012-05-09 06:41 pm (UTC)
I want to believe. And I had this strange dichotomy of still believing in the "woo woo" things that I have witnessed and been a part of in my life while not believing. I was my own paradox.

This is where I am now. I won't go on and on because this is YOUR lj, but it makes me feel a little better to know that you were lost and are now found.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-05-09 08:30 pm (UTC)
I have no problem with you discussing your journey here. It's still evolving for me, too.
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[User Picture]From: xpioti
2012-05-09 06:53 pm (UTC)
As far as I can tell, nobody plans my day, much less a deity. If someone (other than me) did plan my day, it would be less hectic and I'd get everything done!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-05-09 08:31 pm (UTC)
I know, right?!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-05-10 11:19 am (UTC)
That's the stuff that drives me crazy.
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[User Picture]From: gabyrippling
2012-05-09 07:30 pm (UTC)
Aw, it's not sad being an atheist! I find it very comforting to think that life continues without someone pushing it along, and that serendipity can result in so much beauty.

But to each their own. I like being an atheist for the simplicity of it - it's what makes sense to me.
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[User Picture]From: dietcokeofevil5
2012-05-09 09:08 pm (UTC)
Agreed! There's certainly been some progress over my lifetime, but I'd still like to see atheism lose more of its negative stigma.

The physical universe is amazing and mysterious enough as it is without adding a bunch of tall tales.
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[User Picture]From: fallconsmate
2012-05-09 07:34 pm (UTC)
the only goddess that plans my day is the one with the belly, the saggy ta-ta's, and no butt.

in other words, ME. my philosophy on religion is that we all have that space in our heart/soul/psyche that wants filled with the woo-woo. and how each of us fills it is FINE until it starts running over into how we interact with others. if you feel your deity blessed you today, and you say that once and let the rest slide? i'm honestly happy for you. i'll even be pleased to bless you when you sneese!

but if you're acting like annelle in steel magnolias and praying at the drop of a bobby pin? honey. get a hobby. god doesnt have so much time on his hands that he's needing to hold YOURS to get you through the day. gah!

the woo-woo happens. whether we want it to or not. whether we want to listen to it or not, it whispers to us. and it doesnt make difference to anyone but you what woo-woo makes your heart filled.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-05-09 08:36 pm (UTC)
This is great. You made me giggle.
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[User Picture]From: jeffpalmatier
2012-05-09 07:44 pm (UTC)
God willing, I hope you encounter less of this nonsense in the future. *runs away*

It would be interesting to talk to theologians of various Christian denominations concerning what their branch of Christianity see what they think of this sort of phenomenon. I remember hearing one Christian (whose denomination I don't remember) express distaste that some people use God as sort a vending machine that you can get goodies from by inserting prayers.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-05-09 08:36 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that is kind of the problem.
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[User Picture]From: gythiawulfie
2012-05-09 07:51 pm (UTC)

Amen...

It is one thing to pray to 'x' diety for guidance, or the wisdom to make the right choice.

It is a whole other level to say that they decided this fate or that thing, or something.

I do not think they are vending machines (to quote jeffpalmatier ) where you ask for this, that, whatever, and almost like a personal piggy bank.

Sure, there are days where I look up and go, "Care to help me out here?" out of exasperation, but, 90% of what happens, ultimately is up to how I interpret what is put in front of me.

I guess that made sense.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-05-09 08:37 pm (UTC)

Re: Amen...

Yeah, it made sense.
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[User Picture]From: custardfairy
2012-05-09 07:52 pm (UTC)
This is where I am too!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-05-09 08:38 pm (UTC)
We should form a club!
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[User Picture]From: tylik
2012-05-09 08:21 pm (UTC)
For some time I referred to myself as a non-theist - by which I mostly meant that I wasn't buying into the whole tribal gods who helped me out and helped me rub my enemies noses in the mud. Well, okay, not just that, but OMG, the things people attribute to deity. I mean, if you attribute the good things, aren't you kind of logically obliged to attribute the bad things as well? And then you have a deity who is a sick fuck. (Oh, you can go all "the lord works in mysterious ways" but seriously...!)

It amused me later to find that Bishop Spong apparent uses non-theist in pretty much exactly the same way.

I've since decided that my own statement of belief really comes down to not wanting to invest a lot of energy pretending that I know things that I don't know, and can't know. I mean, really, what does that buy me? I felt like that was pretty compatible with being pagan, though over the years people have seemed to get more annoyingly theistic. (Yesterday I saw a picture captioned something along the lines of "I worship nature - hey, at least I can prove it exists.")

These days, having now been a member of a Chan Buddhist order, I mostly identify myself as such, but I think I've changed that much. So much of my life in the pagan community was spent either trying to get the people I was working with to spend more time outside in the woods, or in meditation. (And much of the rest was spent as an event administrator.) I feel like I get a bit more support for my predilections in my current environment.)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-05-09 08:40 pm (UTC)
The increasing theism is really driving a lot of my feelings. It doesn't appeal to me at all.
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From: anonymousalex
2012-05-09 08:23 pm (UTC)
I'm very happy to hear that you've gotten out of a clearly annoying place and reached a comfortable one.

-Alex
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-05-09 08:40 pm (UTC)
Thanks.
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[User Picture]From: seimaisin
2012-05-09 11:15 pm (UTC)
This is pretty much the place I've come to. I just haven't been able to express it quite like this, so thank you.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-05-10 03:43 am (UTC)
I'm glad it spoke to you.
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[User Picture]From: tormentedartist
2012-05-09 11:30 pm (UTC)
This post is the reason that I like you.I have always thought that most Pagans were sort of like Christians in drag. Why the need to believe something that is just as hard or even harder to believe than Christianity? I guess most people have a need to believe that a higher power is looking out for them.

I myself am agnostic. I feel like its the only way to go for me. But if I were forced to chose a religion I think I'd go for Buddhism...its already different than Christianity and I don't have to borrow stuff from the religion that I fled....
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-05-10 03:45 am (UTC)
I like "Christians in drag." And, agreed.
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