Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Seeking god

When I was a child living on an Army base in Panama, my father decided to convert to Catholicism and the family went with him. It didn't last long, just until Dad found out he had to give up being a Mason, and that he refused to do. We got off the Catholic train and followed our parents through several different Christian reform sects until they settled on Baptist after a lifetime of being Methodists.

Off and on through my adult life I moved toward and backed away from the Baptists and from Christianity, feeling something unsettling about their history and doctrine, but never quite sure what it was. Time and again I came up against dogma and all my questions, questions I had asked since I was a small child of three or four, were met with the same answer: It is not our place to understand just to obey and take everything on faith.

I have faith in many things: the turn of the season, the sun rising in the morning, the moon hanging in the night sky showing its many faces as it glimpses the sun and that death certainly follows life. I began having doubts about any religion that negated the "gifts" that I was supposedly given by god, like my curiosity and intelligence. Ministers and laymen alike told me I was not allowed to use them to question god or to question anything that was already accepted by their religion. Then why give me curiosity and a thirst for knowledge if not to use it? I couldn't accept that an omnipotent god would be so incensed and upset by me using what s/he gave me and so I began to search and to question.

In my early twenties I studied the Mormons and every other religion I could. I briefly became Mormon, but their exclusion of other races and their problems with people who were born different chilled me to the bone. I walked away and went back to Christianity, and thus began the dance toward and away, toward and away. As Christianity became more and more exclusive I backed farther and farther away until I realized that it no longer fed my soul, met my spiritual and temporal needs or filled me with joy.

The more I learned of Christianity and its history, of the truth it has suppressed in order to gain more power over people's minds and hearts, the less I wanted to do with it. Organized religion was the path to corruption and destruction of the souls and minds of humanity, steeped in excess and rife with lies. I could no longer give my talents or my allegiance to what I was raised to believe.

I had flirted with paganism, finding in its simple tenets and open embrace of curiosity and intelligence a peace and joy I had not felt since I was a child, and finally I turned away from organized religion altogether and embraced the calling of my heart and soul. I have not only considered converting, but actually have. I still read about and question adherents of other religions because knowledge is power and because knowing what calls to another's heart helps to understand them and myself. I will always seek understanding. In many ways, that is my religion, seeking god at the heart of nature and creation. Understanding may never fully come, but I will always seek it. It is what I was born to be.

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