Sunday, 24 April 2011

The here and now

This being Easter Sunday, all sorts of questions have been going around in my head. Now I know that this is probably a sensitive subject and if it upsets anyone then ... well I suggest you stop reading if you get to that point.

I was raised as a Christian, low key but weekly church and we sang in the choir.  Mr H was brought up with a similar background but probably ducked out earlier than me. In fact I met him at a Christian Arts Festival, he was there for the music and I was there for.... I'm not actually sure.  I started going with my brother and sister in my teens, and I suppose we also went mainly for the music, and it was a 'safe' festival to go to.  It was just something I did.

In my twenties, after I was married, I stopped going to church except at Christmas.  Now I don't even go then because I don't want to be one of those people who only goes to church at Christmas.  Mr H and I didn't have much in common with the people our age at church; instead we'd go out somewhere, to the sea or the forest, because we didn't believe that God's presence was restricted to a stone building. .

Over the last few years, both Mr H have realised separately that we're not really sure what we believe in..  Is that age? or education? or just that we've both become more questioning of things that were previously taken for granted?

Everyone believes that their religion is the 'right' one (although so many of them overlap), but now I don't know if it is.  I feel a bit as though I was brought up being told that Ford was the only make of car, but no-one gave me the opportunity to test drive any of the other makes. I'm not saying I don't want a car at all but in this enlightened age who has the right to tell me it has to be a Ford.  I also don't like the idea that the car manufacturer is responsible for everything, including filling the tank with fuel when required (if you can't keep up with the metaphor, I'm talking about taking responsibility for ourselves, our actions and what happens in our lives instead of relying on Somebody to sort it all for us).

Ford: "Any colour so long as it's black"

Today, as I considered for half a second that I might go to church, I checked myself.   Why did I think I might go?  I realised it was because I thought I ought to be thinking that I should go. Not a good reason.

Then I started thinking about the afterlife, eternal life, eternal damnation, and how some people spend their whole lives worrying about it.  I realised that right here and now I'm not bothered about the afterlife, I'm quite satisfied with the present life.  We think about the past and the future far too much as it is, and thinking beyond death too regularly seems to me to be.. well, odd. I suppose that the reason is that this earthly life is supposed to be just a stepping stone.  But what if this turns out to be it? All of it?  I'm not saying that everyone should go out and party and get hammered every night. I'm just saying that I prefer to make the most of the here and now,

And if when I die I get a shake of the head at Heaven's door, well I'll just have to take responsibility for that.

9 comments:

  1. Isn't it odd, how so many of us (myself, and other family and friends) have followed nearly the same route as you?! We don't need the stone buildings at all, and mine was a brick building, actually the people who attended church there that finally pushed my non-attending as a member...I probably don't need to explain that any more I'm sure you get it.....I kept it all going for my children, but also, let them find what matters to them... Our family has come to discover those that faithfully attend church every single Sunday (sometimes twice even) and they go each Wednesday night as well....aren't really any better at believing or living by any golden means..... than those of us who live a life of our own faith outside of the brick building....Under God's sky.....What I find strange are the ones who have to constantly tell you they are so heavenly,(You know they do attend church 3 times a week) instead of just showing us? Happy Easter Jenny....in whatever way your heart feels...!

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  2. Juniper: Anyone following your blog knows you are a good person. No one here or there will close the gates on you. Allow me to digress, from am academic vantage point:

    The term myth has been used for thousands of years to mean "an accepted belief." When civilizations group common accepted beliefs, they refer to them as mythology. It was not until the 20th century that linguistically the word myth became associated with falsity or untruth. This is where things get sticky for us. While there are zillions of traditional myths, such as ethics, laws, and even religious doctrines, modern educated people are asked to find truth. We should not have to do that. We should be free to accept our beliefs, whatever they are.

    I am a huge philosophy guy (even though I have a job!). I believe I am free to accept what I believe, because Nature created me that way. I, too, was raised Christian. Like you, I don't need a stone building, a ceremony, or a clergy person to live the life of a good man. I like Christian philosophy. It does not set forth bad things. It guides those who need it to do good things. Most religions do the same. Historical evidence seems to indicate that Jesus himself studied Buddhism, which I also like because it guides people to do good things.

    I do not hesitate to wish my friends and family a Happy Easter, and I have tried to live my life according to good principles. Like some other creatures of Nature, I am human, so I don't always do things right. However, I think if Jesus were alive today, he would not cast me aside. That was not part of his mythology.

    Happy Easter to you!

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  3. I'm a Christian and I don't believe that church is about the building either. Church is only a name for a community with a common bond. For me I'm a member of the church in a wider sense, wherever I am. Sometimes I take a break from going to church on a sunday morning to regain a perspective of why I actually go.

    I believe there is an absolute truth and that all worldviews contain some elements of that truth; however some may be further away than others from discovering the full truth. As Christians there is much we don't know, and perhaps never will. I'm a Christian because I have found more fulfillment and satisfactory answers than I believe any other worldview can offer me. I may, however, be wrong. I don't believe though that with some of the things Jesus said, that he was just a 'good teacher' (CS Lewis, Mere Christianity).

    Nevertheless, the most dangerous thing we can do is to follow something blindly. It is good to question. I have many a time. Having said that perhaps there are some things we can never prove with our feeble human methods and just require our acceptance.

    Anyways, interesting post. Have a very Happy Easter! :)

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  4. Sometimes, no always.....all we need is love.....okay a good book while lounging along the waterside with your doggie's head resting on your leg too.....and feeling the warmth of goodness in your life and friends/family leaving footprints in your heart....

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  5. Don't do religion, went through a spiritually phase when I had depression soon discarded that, Now I'm in my skeptic phase in life and I am finding it so much more rewarding and fun. Science is a joy rather than just accepting this happens just cause I want to find out why it happens. Why people think the way they do, why cornflower mixed with cold water displays the properties of being a liquid and a solid depending on the pressure applied.

    I still do Season of Feast and present day (Christmas) as it is so ingrained in our culture it would be unfair to deprive my little boy of a winter celebrations and its nice to have a get together day. I find easter a little annoying as I now think why does the UK trading still cling to the concept of things should not trade as normal on Sundays and should be shut on Christian religious days. Hay if you are going to acknowledge that religion and close stuff why not, Chinese new year or the Pagan Samhain (Hallowe'en). I've probably annoyed a few people now.

    You are in a flux so I will jump on that and recommend you watching this animation short TIM MITCHENS 'STORM' , I found it very funny and it is kind of how I think about things now

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  6. Thanks all for your comments, and for making me realise I'm normal...

    Chibi I just watched that film - brilliant! Thanks for the link :-) My studies have definitely made me think (about everything) differently. Interestingly the bit I least relate to is the psychoanalysis (I can't help thinking 'what bollocks' every time it comes up), which is what most people think psychology is all about! Sooo not.

    Anyway that was a bit off track.

    JJ - I have read a bit about buddhism too, and like the overall attitude of it; but again shy away from people who are totally ingrained in it.

    J.

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  7. I have to say I have always been a bit skeptical. When I went through my spiritual phase I did a spiritual course am I ashamed no, as these were people who could see I was in mental trouble and they did help it was cheaper than a psychiatrist ( which my GP should probably have suggested rather than I get more exercise then I could have had a NHS one ) any way I remember looking at pendulums and playing with one watching it swing either way and my little tiny skeptical voice going can you actually be making this happen, I then started noticing the slight twitches in my hand which were undetectable by eye and by thinking stuff I could move that little chain in some interesting ways with no discernible hand movement, I now know this process to be called Ideomotor effect.

    Basically you are your own person, listen to that little voice if its its time to discard a notion of God then Kudos to you, if it time to find a new faith then thats good as well. You are you "take to the breeze and go where you please" (got that from the Charlotte web DVD). - ( previous statement should be taken to include laws and moral stand point :) )

    Sorry for long post but I have been walking the journey of trying to find myself in faith and life and am still walking it.

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  8. oops missed the be guided by laws and moral standpoints - though even laws should be open to questioning such as the laws on apartheid were. Ok I'll stop now and maybe I shouldn't drink anymore beer as I'm rambling. Anyway be well and enjoy life.

    I like the whole getting into philosophical sociological ramblings side of things. OK stopping now night night.

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