30 Days of Truth: Day 19 – What Do You Think of Religion? or What Do You Think of Politics?

Religion and Politics…the third rail.  These are two topics people often say NOT to talk about.  However these are also two topics that are on my mind on a daily basis.  Since this prompt asked…let me answer the questions.

Politics:
I’m a democrat and I support President Obama.  I’ve voted in every election since I was eighteen, and I voted democrat every time despite being raised by a republican mother.  I even worked for the Young Republicans when I was growing up in a DC suburb.  I opened President Reagan‘s mail!  I’m pretty sure it was my love affair with the environment and my genuine caring for those less fortunate than I that led me to lean left.  The more informed I become on issues, I find that I fall left of center. I’m pretty vocal about my convictions on my facebook site, so I’m pretty sure I don’t need to explain much more here.  I even started my blog and facebook fan page so I would have a place to post things regarding politics and religion that I find interesting yet others may find offensive.  Whether we like it or not, whether we adhere to one of the two parties, one candidate and his or her party will win, and it affects our day to day lives.  So, I think politics is an important thing to talk about. I just try to be positive and support my candidate and the causes I care about and try to stay off the low road of insulting and criticizing the other candidate.

Here are some of my favorite pictures of the candidates in this election.

http://www.danaellyn.com

 

Religion:

In my opinion, religion was made up by humans to answer big questions like, “where am I from?” “why am I here?” and “where do I go after I die?”  Different cultures think different things.  Different religions teach different versions of the story.  What do they all have in common?  LOVE  so, I’d say that LOVE is my religion!  We are all brothers and sisters of the human race, sharing this wonderful life on this beautiful planet.  I seek to find common ground with others and honor the place in others where we are the same person.
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I am agnostic.  That means I believe there might be a higher power, but I don’t know what it is.  There is no evidence to support or deny God’s existence. I was raised Christian and celebrate Christian holidays like Christmas and Easter.  My mom was a chuch organist and a devout Methodist, so as a child I was forced to attend church every Sunday for hours while she played three services. I’d attend Sunday School, a church service, then have an hour to kill during the third service. I would typically run around the church or sit in the car and listen to Casey Casem‘s top 40 countdown.  When I was in the services, I remember daydreaming and doodling.  I tried to listen. I really did.  But it was so boring, and none of it made any sense to me.  I remember sitting there doodling my imaginary married name and those of my future children and listening to an old man standing up telling me stories that didn’t apply whatsoever to my life.  I didn’t like going, but I was forced to go until I turned 18.

When I went to college, I studied Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Chinese Philosophy.  It opened up my mind to other ways of thinking.  I realized Christianity wasn’t the only religion in the world.  I liked much of what the eastern teachings said and how they respect nature and aim to go with the flow of the universe.  There is no external god in these religions.  God, or the divine nature, lives within each of us.  Heaven and Hell are experienced right here on earth.  Life is reincarnated, and each life is determined based on the karma of the past life. Spiritual enlightenment means achieving a purely spiritual state and freedom from the wheel of rebirth.  I like how the focus of eastern religions is on living life right here on Earth. It’s the only life we are sure of, and indeed we all share the same divine spark.

When my first daughter was a few years old , I started going to Unitarian Universalist Church.  People recommended that to me, and I liked the open minded philosophy.  UUs believe we are part of an interconnected web of life and that no one religion holds the cornerstone on truth.  They welcome all people including atheists, lesbian/gay/transgender people, and people of all religions and everywhere in between.  They put emphasis on the spiritual search for truth, and honor everyone’s individual path along that journey.  Emphasis is placed on being grateful for every breath and on how to live our lives in positive ways.

I stopped going to the UU church in 2008 when a good friend died in a tragic accident, and the minister didn’t have time to meet with me to help me with my grief.  It may have been the failing of one man instead of the religion, but I realized then that there is no comforting story about what happens after death.   I realized then that there really are no answers to what happens after death and that we just tell ourselves these things to make ourselves feel better.
It’s really just scienceClick here to see a video of what I mean by that.
To me, the universe is God, and the fact we have life at all on this planet is amazing and incomprehensible.   The scientific revolution occurred thousands of years after the bible was written, so it’s no surprise there is no science in the bible.  Science has gone against much of what was taken as fact in the bible such as the creation/evoultion debate and the fossil record.  The bible is a series of book written by many authors, and then only some of the books were published while others were left out.  There is scientific evidence for much of the phenomena in our lives, so that’s what I choose to believe.  The rest of it is a mystery, and I bow down in humility to the higher forces of the universe that make life possible.  I don’t know where I was before I was born, and I dont’ know where I will go after I die, but I do know that I am focused on living every day to its fullest and with love, kindness, and compassion in my heart.  Life does go on, so I surrender to the ongoing force that was in place millions of years before my life and that hopefully continues on into infinity. I don’t know what happens next, but I am certainly grateful for the life I’ve been given.
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