I was about 12, maybe 13, when I started to question the validity of the religion I had been taught. I couldn't fathom some huge figure in the sky controlling the way the world moves, damning me to hell for lying to my parents or "borrowing without the intent to return" my sister's clothes, unless I go into a box and tell my sins to a priest. God would forgive me right? I know, I know, that's not how it works.
I began to research different religions and different theories on creationism, to find what did fit my beliefs. I tried my hand in Wicca and Paganism, found it to be all a bit nonsensical, but took from it some beliefs that were similar to my catholic background. I researched into Taoism, Hinduism, and Buddism. While I felt more connected to Taoism, I still couldn't commit myself to the religious practices them self. I concluded that organized religion is just not for me.
Religion stemmed from the questioning of how we got here and where do we go when we die. People needed to find comfort that their loved ones weren't gone forever, but just continuing to be in a different form, or a different place. People needed answers, stories were told, and those people chose to believe them, much like children believe in the tooth fairy or Santa Claus.
Do I believe in Santa Claus? No - I am "Santa Claus" I know how it all works. Yet, Do I still feel excited on Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning? Do I still fill up with the spirit of the season Beginning November 1st? Yes. Because Santa isn't a person, it's a concept. It is love. Giving to others, treating others kindly, helping the needy.
As is the same with those who say they feel Jesus alive in their hearts. They are filled with love, they feel blessed, they are thankful for the day, and they need to spread the word. I have felt that, I have felt connected to some "energy source" with in my own body, but I still can not say "yes, I do believe" and I don't know why.
My biggest hang up is that if I say that this "energy source" has a name, like The Goddess, God, or Jesus, I am committing myself to the religion of that name. That religion which has rules and rituals that I am not comfortable with. That religion which uses it's beliefs and teachings to put shame on to people who are different than them. Religion to me, is a clique, the popular club to belong to. Religion should be embracing everyone, connecting together to bring positive forces in the world, not the negative ones the religions of today's world are spewing out to eachother! I can not stand for a religion which teaches of an all loving God, yet allows hatred of a certain race, ethnic background, sexual preference, or anything of that nature in His name.
The hardest thing I have to do as a parent is teach my children a religion which I don't agree with. Love has asked me numerous times about God and Heaven. I don't want to fill her head with all these beliefs, but I also don't want my lack of faith to stop her from finding her own way. So we have enrolled her in religious ed classes for next year. Here is hoping she finds her own path.
What are your beliefs? Do you have a mixed religion family and find it hard to teach your children one over the other?