Friday, May 28, 2010

Still stumped about prayer so instead.. God and Religion

I am still pondering the complexities of prayer and finding my way to a truth that I can be comfortable with. But it is a twisted and complicated path which I can't seem to lay out in words at the moment. So instead I'd like to talk about something else that has been bothering me lately. Religion as a weapon against spirituality.

I have encountered many people on my quest who are angry with the church. Many of them rightly so. They feel lied to, manipulated, and angry. There are some valid points to be made about the history of the church and the abuses of power that have caused pain and suffering 'in the name of god'. But the church is not god.

It seems contradictory to me to acknowledge that an institution is corrupt and then use that knowledge as proof of the non-existence of the power they were seeking. We don't stop believing in democracy when greed and unchecked power lead us into war. We don't stop believing in love when a person full of selfishness breaks our heart. We don't stop believing in science when new information proves old theories incorrect. So why do we hold god responsible for the shortcomings of religion?

This is exemplified most clearly for me in the use of the bible for proof there is no god. If you believe the bible is a book created by man how can it prove anything about the existence of god? Using inconsistencies and questioning the time the bible was written can be used to prove that it isn't an inerrant document set down by god but it doesn't prove there is no god. Understanding the history of how the works were written, collected, selected, and excluded helps us understand the men (and no, I don't mean this in the universal mankind sense, women weren't allowed) who were part of it. But you can only use the history of the bible to point out its own flaws. You can't discredit a document, or more precisely a collection of documents, and then use that very discredited document(s) to prove your point.

People also love to talk about the pain and suffering inflicted on humanity by religion in the form of war, oppression and shame. Again, the evidence of these events is overwhelming but it only condemns the religion, not god. The same is true for the wanton wealth some religions use in the creation of holy places while people starve. A symptom of religion but still not god.

When I hear people using these examples to discredit or disprove god it confuses me. That's like blaming your body for lung cancer after years of smoking. Your body didn't cause your cancer and god didn't cause the ills of religion. I haven't found a particular religion that I find without fault or flaw but I don't need to. I don't confuse religion with god and therefore don't need to reconcile the two.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I haven't posted much lately because I feel stuck on this prayer question. A friend lent me several books on the topic of visualization, manifestation, and communicating with God. However, I still feel at a loss. Perhaps if I define my specific difficulties...

1) Why are some prayers answered and others not answered? If prayer really works then it shouldn't it work for everyone, every time?

2) If the answer to question # 1 has to do with belief or some other flaw in the asker then we have essentially blamed a person's hardships on them. This doesn't sit well with me.

3) If the answer to question #1 has to do with us not knowing what is best for us then why bother asking? Shouldn't we just let things unfold in their path and trust that it is all for the best?

4) Isn't it selfish to ask for anything more than strength and understanding? Why would selfish prayers be answered?

Thursday, May 13, 2010


It seems with each answer comes a new question. I'm making peace with my beliefs about God, Jesus, and traditional holiday but now I'm struggling with prayer.

I told my aunt that my doctor was concerned about my thyroid and she said she'd put me on the prayer list at church. Friends on Facebook post problems and difficulties in their lives and ask for prayer. My husband was recently waiting for word on a new job he really wanted (which he got, yay!) and a part of me wanted to pray. Or send it out to the universe. Manifest it. Whatever, the word isn't as important as the practice.

I'm not sure what I believe about the power of asking or visualizing. I'm not sure what I believe about God or the Universe intervening on our behalf. I think it's time for more books!!