Politicalmonkey2010

The Truth Shall Set You Free…It might piss you off first, but it will set you free.

Can God Survive Religion?

Posted by politicalmonkey2010 on June 26, 2010

Can God survive religion?

When I was a child, I drove my mother to distraction to put it mildly, by continually questioning..but why mom?  I can see her face and hear her voice so clearly right this moment saying….”monkey, you think too much.”   A few decades later and not much has changed, except I no longer have my mother to drive crazy, but I am still asking why.

I grew up Catholic, and I am still Catholic, and very content with my religion with all of its imperfections.  I remember all those catechism classes and driving the nuns crazy with the why question.  I remember when I was 9 years old, dropping in unannounced to my local priest, and having what I perceived as a very candid Q & A session on the this whole concept of communion.  That was the same summer when my mother was in the backyard, watering her flowers, and the doorbell rang, it was Jehovah’s Witnesses, and I invited them in.  When mom came in an hour later, she found two very nicely dressed ladies and myself at her kitchen table with the Watchtower spread out in front of us.  Those ladies continued to visit me for years.

Then there was my best friend Karen, who was an fundamental evangelical, I had no idea what that meant, but her mother insisted that she go to church every Friday night, and if we wanted to spend the night at each other’s house that meant I was going to church with her.   So I did…the first time I saw the neon blue sign buzzing “Jesus Saves” I thought Karen had the wrong place, this wasn’t a church, it was a bank.  But I followed her right into the building where everybody called each other brother and sister, and I would sit, clutching cartoon pamphlets that assured me if I did not accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior the flames of hell were going to be lapping at my butt cheeks.    I also learned that if you accepted Jesus Christ that you would have some type of epileptic fit, roll on the ground, speak a strange language and be healed.  I wasn’t quite sure exactly what one was being healed from, perhaps the fits?  I never had that experience, nor have I had the experience of being abducted by a UFO, I keep hoping for both.

Then there was my friend Barbie, she was a Mormon.  Her sister, Sissie was married in THE temple.  I didn’t know what temple it was, but it certainly seemed important to Barbie that I was aware of this fact.  I was always fascinated when I spent the night at Barbie’s because these people had the most toilet paper I have ever seen in one place outside of a grocery store.  But that was nothing compared to the rest of the basement, where we would sneak down and play grocery store because it was in fact just like a grocery store.    Barbie always told me not to worry that even tho I wasn’t a Mormon she would always take care of me, I took great comfort in that fact, but I still wasn’t exactly clear on why she would be taking care of me….  Barbie also used to like to eat french toast with peanut butter and and syrup.  I loved her anyway.

Then there was my piano/organ teacher, her husband was the Minister of the Methodist church.  She was a large woman, very large, and her house always smelled of freshly baked goods.  I loved going over there, although I hated the lessons.  I was more interested in her, what it was like to be married to a “priest”, because Catholic priests couldn’t get married and how could he put on all those robes and stuff, just like a Catholic priest and be married?  She invited me to come to several Sunday sermons, I think that was just to get me to shut up.

Sunday mornings were a treat for me if I didn’t go to mass because I would turn on the TV and Kathryn Khulman and her show “I Believe in Miracles” came on…I’m not sure if it was her animated manners, her red hair, or her long dresses,  or the organ music..but she held me mesmerized.  I ran across this on You Tube

With high school came rebellion, and also my first exposure to non-Christian religions.  I took a class in world religions, where I had a wonderful teacher who took us to Jewish synagogues, Buddhist Ashrams, Muslim Mosques, Hindu temples and Wicca ceremonies.   College years were filled with the need to explore the new, and yet hold to the past.  Explore I did, with a summer spent living in an Ashram, learning to quiet myself, and look within.

It was not until I was 24 that I went thru the Catholic rite of  “Confirmation”, something most teens do, but I was too busy exploring, and I wanted to be sure.  Even after Confirmation, my need to explore other religions did not stop. Visits to Native American sweatlodges,  meeting with Bahai’s..the lists go on and on.  The idea that I kept coming away with after each of my forays was this – any religion worth its salt, will have the same core beliefs.  For example, not killing is a Universal Truth, all great religions have this  concept.   And perhaps more importantly, all great religions have this at their core belief, all is one.  As Christians when we say the “Our Father”, it is not “Our Catholic Father, Our Protestant Father, Our White Father, it is Our Father, by definition it cannot exclude anybody.  We are all one. I have also come away understanding that every religion has extremists, and when I hear people say God is on our side – that is a warning flag.  The real question is are you on God’s side?

Now I find myself, a Catholic American, in Egypt – a land of Coptic Christians and Muslims.  It seems that before 9/11, we had all heard about Muslims, but really didn’t know what they were.  But since 9/11 Islam has become front and center.  I cannot let this opportunity go to waste.  I have access to wonderful people who have demonstrated time and time again their patience with me and my asking questions.  Their willingness to engage in open and constructive dialogue.  I am going to take this opportunity to invite you to ask your questions, express your ideas, the only thing I ask is that a civil tongue be held.  We cannot afford to operate in ignorance or fear, at the risk of being dramatic, there is too much at stake.  No questions are off limits, no subject taboo.   In no way should this be thought of as a “conversion” process, to be quite candid – I do not care what religion you are, everybody is entitled to experience God in the way that they see fit.  If you do not like Islam that is ok, but at least get the facts, not a distortion based on fear.  No spin, get the facts.  I know you are out there, lurking, I see it in the stats, if you don’t want your comment to appear in public, that is ok, just say don’t publish my name, email etc..and I won’t.

When Pres.  Obama was in Cairo I remember he quoted from the Koran “be conscious of God and speak always the truth”.  It is in that spirit I wish to open dialogue.

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2 Responses to “Can God Survive Religion?”

  1. righteous said

    we are waiting for more plz

  2. […] a believer that there is entirely too much mis and dis information out there.   I suggest you read this to get an overview of who I am.  I do not pretend to have all the answers, but I am more than […]

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