Spacefem (spacefem) wrote,
Spacefem
spacefem

faith

updated my lj profile. I used to have a whole big section about my faith in God and what a devout Christian I was. I don't need that anymore. I haven't been to church regularly in years. I still monthly auto-give to the United Methodist Committee on Relief, the humanitarian organization tied to the Methodist church, because they do very good work. Disaster relief, medical aid, feeding the hungry. It is good work. And as charities go, they run lean. They spend very little on fundraising and advertising, because they're mostly supported by church people who feel a spiritual obligation to donate their income. That is one thing I like about Christianity. Humans don't seem interested in supporting each other until they think a hypothetical greater power may demand it.

I donate because I think it's a good idea. 10% tithe seems like a nice goal. Along the same lines, the State of Kansas says I can write off up to $6K per year in contributions to my kid's college fund. So $6 a year is now my goal for college funds. Kansas is not demanding 529 contributions, and God isn't demanding charity. I just like it when somebody suggests a number.

And speaking of God... I once had a friend describe himself as an "apathetic agnostic". He was not interested in going to atheist meetings to pick apart and re-assemble a new spirituality based on the Ultimate Truth. He didn't care much about the ultimate truth. God? No God? Shrug either way. That is where I am getting to.

If we can't know the ultimate truth, I think, we should step back and decide from an impartial perspective what the good ideas are. What will make the world a better place?

Deciding that this life doesn't matter because there's a better one we can't see? That's a bad idea. It's been used to justify violence and killing. Don't worry about the war, those soldiers got to go to heaven! Nope.

Teaching people from a very young age that there's a structure and hierarchy to the authority they must blindly follow? That's a very bad idea. That's how powerful people get to abuse their power, husbands get to cheat on their wives, parents get to beat their children.

Using an ancient text to justify arbitrary rules against everything from yoga to tattoos to same-sex relationships? Really terrible idea.

So in the end, belief in a higher power just felt like a bad move. And I stopped going to church. And took it out of my profile. On the other hand, atheist discussions about how we should treat each other had good ideas, with the right motivations.

I realize it's not someplace where I have to pick sides right now and forever, but if there's doubt happening around me, I'm going to pick the side with the least jerks, and not worry about the questions I can never truly answer.
Tags: christianity
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