SLIGHTLY SELF INDULGENT EXPLANATION OF BELIEFS

@lame you asked for it.
  1. This list isn't exactly where I want it, and it's a bit BIG REVELATION!!! when in reality, it wasn't and isn't like that at all.
  2. I grew up Lutheran.
    My family is very German-Weber, Kreiger, Mahlerwein, Guenther -these are my ancestors' names.
  3. My parents were very traditional
    We went to church every week. We were baptized and took first communion and were confirmed. There were tv shows(lots of them) that were too risqué, we never discussed sex or money, we were expected to obey without question and respect authority without question.
  4. But my parents were also very progressive.
    They valued family highly and forgave mistakes instead of letting them become a wedge. They valued reading and learning and knowledge. They were tolerant and accepting and compassionate and generous. They sacrificed a lot to make sure we had a good education.
  5. My dad taught 5th grade Sunday school for over 20 years.
    But he was a scholar and tried to give every student a good background in the history of the bible. We didn't memorize bible verses or do crafts or talk about our feelings. We learned about geography and race and custom and about the power of metaphor and the development of the church. He didn't have an agenda. He had a curriculum college students would have appreciated. He brought donuts and we'd play jeopardy.
  6. I learned so much.
    So much that helped me in my study of history and literature and art and language.
  7. I also gained familiarity and comfort.
    I made friends and had wonderful opportunities to travel and to help others. I put on puppet shows for kids and dressed as a clown to cheer up the elderly. I sang(poorly) in choir and spent hours playing with children whose families were just like mine.
  8. BUT
  9. I asked questions
    Hard questions. Annoying questions. Blasphemous questions.
  10. I asked them at school when I didn't understand or when I wanted clarification or when something didn't seem right.
    I got sent to the principal's office more than once for being "insubordinate."
  11. I asked them at church when I heard things I didn't like, when people weren't as compassionate or tolerant as I expected them to be.
  12. I asked and I pushed and I argued.
    And I never was comfortable with "that's just the way things are" or "just trust God" or "you have to take some things on faith."
  13. I never disobeyed
    I always did what I was supposed to do. But I was never quiet when other people thought I should be. I never had the "proper respect" for those who "knew more than I did."
  14. And maybe you'd expect that I just realized one day that I didn't believe in God anymore.
    And you're right, sort of.
  15. I definitely do not believe in God.
    But I don't mind if you do. Belief is personal and important. It can be strength for those that can't find it on their own. It can be a friend when you feel alone in the world. It can be the spark of humanity inside you when everything is the worst.
  16. But religion is separate from belief. It's a relationship with others who have roughly your same values.
    It's probably not the best way to organize people if the course of history is any indication. Putting people in a group with a self-reinforcing leader who is believed to be omniscient and omnipotent to me seems to be the height of arrogance. Also I see no way to logically surmise that the all powerful GOD OF THE UNIVERSE has only shown one tiny group of people the true way and GUESS WHAT? YOU'RE SO LUCKY ITS YOU! JUST IN THE RIGHT PLACE...🙄 You probably should go buy a lottery ticket RIGHT NOW
  17. But then again..
    All groups face this. Every way we identify ourselves is also a way we divide ourselves. Humans make groups. They classify and exclude and harm. They do it by race and by nationality, by wealth and by class. Religion is just one of many tools we use to hurt each other.
  18. I definitely don't believe in proselytizing.
    Your beliefs are valuable to you. But they can't be pressed on anyone else. Not strangers in your neighborhood, not your children. Lip service to a belief means very little.
  19. I don't believe you should worship a God who wants you to exclude others.
    I don't understand how that can be reconciled with the loving God you profess. Live and let live. The omnipotent god you believe in will sort it out later if it comes to that. Maybe it's you that'll need sorting. Or we'll all be worm food for eternity. In any event, the logical way to act on any belief you have is to respect and uplift others and the world around us. Why would you want to worship anyone who wouldn't see your heart shining through when you honor his creations?
  20. I don't agree with the ways religion and politics are so closely linked in this country.
    Or the religions that cling so tightly to literalism that they miss the beauty and joy of the world around them. They miss the diversity and the benefit of the human experience. Religion narrows your mind and your heart. Not always, and not always obviously, but enough.
  21. I do love a quiet dark Good Friday service where a boy turns into a werewolf.
  22. Or Nat King Cole singing A Cradle In Bethlehem.
    Kind of the way I enjoy a good song about Santa Claus.
  23. I love and respect my mom who loves to just feel her family around her at church.
    Her beliefs are closer to mine than she'll ever admit, but that's ok.
  24. I love and respect my dad.
    For myself it's silly to believe in heaven and hell and silly to waste my life here trying to end up there. The here I have is pretty damn good. But I know my dad will never let go of the idea of heaven because he misses his mom more than anything. She's been dead 20 years, but I never would want him to stop believing he'll see her again. It's part of who he is.
  25. I love and respect my children.
    Two are atheists, one is not. All are moral and kind and decent. All are intent on enjoying the bounty of this world instead of pining for a life to come.
  26. I'm an atheist too, but I'm also a Lutheran. It's part of my past. It's part of where I am today.
    Garrison Keillor speaks about things I know. Casseroles and church basements and hymns I still remember. I love tradition and family and friends and camaraderie. I don't generally feel the need to school others on their beliefs, or what I think they should and shouldn't believe. Sometimes I do though.