Tag Archives: religion

Faith: A Desperate Man’s Prayer

23 Aug

As I’ve grown older, I’ve almost completely stopped telling people about major events in my life that might garner some sort of sympathy. This is one of those times, but I find that it would be out of character if I didn’t make a point out of life events. It’s kind of my thing.

So, I regret to inform you that my dad has been diagnosed with inoperable cancer.

I don’t know the type or the prognosis or really much of anything, but my mom says that, while the doctor didn’t say much, it sounds like its terminal. If she is correct, she also didn’t give me a time frame to consider.

I’ve only actually disclosed this to 3 friends, and it was because I knew they wouldn’t have much to say on the matter. No amount of “I’m so sorry” will do anything. Nothing. My situation is not unique. And knowing that my friends are “there for me” doesn’t really do anything for me either (the only thing that might make me feel better is having a man in my life, but oh well).

Death is a fact of life, and I plan to treat is as thus.

It’s almost like a clean slate when you might be dying. You can do whatever you want. Even be reckless if you so desire. Maybe its even liberating.

But, of course, I don’t want to lose my father. I assumed I had at least 10 more years with him, but remarkably, I’ve been preparing myself for the loss of my parents since I was a small child. One night when I was probably 6, I woke up from a nightmare that both my parents had died. I told my mom, through tears, about the dream. She comforted me about this plan God had that one day, he will save the world and people will live forever again as they were once meant to.

I held onto that for years.

Unlike the rest of my family, I have not held onto that faith in a higher power. There are moments when I wish that if I prayed a miracle would happen, and being agnostic makes it even more difficult. And that is how I feel about faith in religion. Desperation. So I hold my faith in science and medicine, as I should. There have been remarkable advancements in cancer treatment, and I think that even if God did exist, he would have given us these tools for us to use.

While I hope that something amazing happens and his cancer goes into remission, I hope, too, that my father is proud of me. The two things I wanted my dad to still be here for were to walk me down the aisle of my wedding, and to see me graduate from vet school. Unfortunately, I’m not close to accomplishing either of those things and I do feel some degree of failure because of that, but deep down I know he is very proud of me (all I really have to do is ask and he’ll boast).

I love him very much, and I hope that if it’s time, I’ll at least be able to get the most knowledge I can out of him before then. Because goodness knows, I feel like I call him every other day asking him how to change or fix or make things.

That Time I Got a Purity Ring

22 Mar

Okay, so not really.

But, the purity ring thing has came full circle again, and is getting media attention as “sweeping the nation”. Well, news flash, news reporters: it’s been around for quite a while and is not nearly as new or spreading as dramatically as you’d like us to believe.

A friend of mine posted a link to an article about it, which you can find here.

If you don’t want to read the article, and have no idea what a purity ball is, then I’ll break it down for you.

A purity ball is a ceremony through a young girl’s (think 12) church, in which she pledges to abstain from any physical contact (I don’t know about hugging, but kissing, definitely) until after she is married. At least in some ceremonies, the girls wear white wedding-like dresses and they dance with their fathers. In the article, the father becomes the “boyfriend” and pledges to protect the girls virginity/purity until she is married.

Here is what I like about this idea:

1. Young girls are deciding that they are too young to engage in very mature physical relationships
2. Fathers are involved in their daughter’s lives
3. You get an awesome ring and get to wear a pretty dress
4. You get to dance with your dad, and dads are pretty awesome too
5. These families are maintaining innocence in a world that wants children to grow up really, really quickly

Here is what I find completely irrelevant:

1. Fathers are deemed their “boyfriends”
2. The ceremonies resemble marriage ceremonies in any way (including the white dress)

And here is what is wrong with this:

1. Many girls are likely not choosing that they wish to remain “pure” until marriage
2. Male purity ceremonies aren’t receiving as much attention (though they exist)
3. By abstaining from any form of physical contact, girls are missing out on very important social milestones in their lives

Now I’m going to break it down a little further for you, because depending on your views on this, you are probably outraged that I don’t find it creepy that fathers are called boyfriends and they go through marriage-like ceremonies. Actually, you probably find me creepy now. Oh well, read on.

The reason I consider the irrelevant things irrelevant, are because they are. Every little girl wants to marry her dad, because her dad is her world when she is little. And its sweet. We should hold onto that innocence, especially when children seem to be wanting to grow up younger and younger. As for the wedding-like ceremonies, all ceremonies in the church involve girls in pretty white dresses and boys in suits. I was baptized in a white dress. Girls wear white dresses at Quinceaneras. Get over it, it doesn’t matter – but it does go to show that even though we say we aren’t stuck in this rut of social norms that we areOf course…I do feel like most church ceremonies are cult-like, and that really freaks me out, but that’s a thought for another blog.

Maybe I’m a little less creepy now? Anyway, in any circle that has a lot of push and influence, you are often not provided the resources to make your own choices. You are given one decision, that everyone you know makes, and you can only assume that is the only way because you know nothing else. This means that, unfortunately, most of these girls are probably only told that there is one right way, and that this is it, so they aren’t making their own choices.

I also find it immensely entertaining hearing banter about this being yet another way to “control women”. Sure, it probably is, but I want you to consider why male purity ceremonies aren’t receiving as much attention. Is it because we say “good…those boys need to keep it in their pants!” because hello…double standard. We can’t be mad that we are trying to control women, and not be equally as mad that we are trying to control men. We should be mad that they exist, not that they exist for women. We should be mad that male purity ceremonies aren’t getting news coverage. I think that may be the reason that we aren’t giving male purity ceremonies the same attention…but that’s just speculation. I don’t actually know.

And finally, when you can’t kiss until you get married, this is what happens:

And nobody wants to be part of that. God, it’s like a car-wreck. Can’t. Look. Away. AH.

It’s also like saying that once you kiss someone, we are all just too heathen to abstain from having massive orgies…or even just normal, missionary sex with someone you really care about.

Those orgies. Whew.

What do you think of purity ceremonies? Do you find it creepy? Do you think the good outweigh the bad, or vice versa? 

Things Exist for a Purpose

5 Mar

As I sit here watching shows on alien theory on the Science channel, you know that they are picking my brain.

The question the show is currently posing is if a faith in a godly figure would be universal and would exist with aliens. The researchers are arguing that humans prefer purpose-based reasons for why things exist over their science-based reasons. For example:

Purpose-based: The sun produces light so plants can photosynthesize.
Science-based: Plants photosynthesize because light produced by the sun can be used as an energy source.

They tested children first, and found that they much preferred purpose-based, but they also wanted to test adults. They used a true-false system that required adults to read purpose-based sentences, and as quickly as possible choose true or false. The adults also seemed to prefer purpose-based.

What I wonder is the religious background of each of the participants. Many of us are trying to get rid of this dichotomous categorization that we use so frequently and hope to lead our children to find what they believe to be true on their own. Part of this involves religious faith. We want to expose our children and show them the options, and let them choose which ever seems to be right. I do feel, however, that most children are raised to believe that a god exists, and within that, are raised to believe that everything was created for a purpose. This would explain why purpose-based explanations are preferred.

I would like to see the results of children and adults that were raised outside of this. That is difficult to do, just as it is to raise children outside of gender norms, but I wonder if it is really nature that causes these test groups to prefer purpose-based explanations, or if it is the nurture behind it.

Do you think humans naturally prefer purpose-based explanations, or do you think it’s something that is taught to us? How do you think you’d perform on the adult version of the test?

When Life Gives You Lemons, Where Do You Find a Juicer?

25 Jan

You know…to make lemonade…

If you read my last post, you know that my life has been a little crazy lately. For whatever reason, my anxiety is seeming to peak today, and it’s driving me crazy. I haven’t been to a doctor about it, because I don’t think its a big enough issue to need medication, but it still happens from time to time.

Point being, I’m having a whole bunch of difficulty getting rid of the anxiety today. No one around to talk it out with and the only busy work I have to do is stressful and doesn’t require enough thought to take my mind off of anything. I want to go enjoy the great outdoors at the new place, but thinking about goofing around when I have so much to do causes me even more stress and anxiety.

Boo.

When I am this stressed out about everything, I try to find something to inspire me to move forward. Really, that’s my problem – not moving forward. My stress stops me dead in my tracks. You folks might think its weird, but in situations like this when I don’t know where to go or what to do or how to get my life together, I frequently look to astrology.

Do I completely believe that our lives are governed by the planets and the sun? Not necessarily, but maybe.

Is my horoscope often very close to how life is going for me? Usually eerily so, and I almost exclusively check it at the end of the day.

Do I find inspiration and guidance from my horoscope? Absolutely.

Now I don’t always read my horoscope, but I find myself doing it more when I feel neck deep and life is winning. Relationship issues, horoscope says that the love gods are on my side and I need to focus on [insert relationship something or other here]. Whether its communication or romance, or its echoing my frustration, it helps me stop and be more objective about the situation. The same goes with work. When I feel like its consuming my life, or I can’t even deal with my job anymore, I find inspiration to solve those problems.

And before you discredit me as crazy, I think this is the real use of religion, whatever religion that may be. I find that stories about awesomeness of some godly figure and how people used that to pull them through rough times to be incredibly inspiring. A lot of these stories have good rules to live your life by, whether you believe in an almighty being or not.

What inspires you when you are struggling with life? Do you ever turn to things like this? What’s your best method for dealing with anxiety?

Why I’m Agnostic, Not Atheist

23 Jun

I feel like agnosticism gets a bad rap – worse than atheism by religious folk, and worse than religion by atheists. Really, it’s because we don’t really “fit in” like we should.

A lot of the time, we seem to given this title of being unable to decide (just look up “agnostic” in Google images and you can see exactly what I’m talking about), and while that may be the case for some folks, I am very firm in what I believe.

So, what do I believe? Well, I do not believe in a god, and am, therefore, atheistic in my beliefs. You know…polytheistic meaning the belief in multiple gods, monotheistic, meaning the belief in a single god, and atheistic, meaning the belief in no gods.

But if I don’t believe in a god (and I say a god, because multiple “exist” – not just the Christian one), then why do I call myself agnostic?

Now THAT is because I find atheism, just like most religions, to be slightly…arrogant. Basically, if you’re atheist you firmly believe that no god exists, and that it is impossible for one to exist. If you are religious, you firmly believe that one does exist, and that it is impossible for one not to exist.

That’s all fine and dandy – I mean, its your beliefs – but in order for either of those to be true, one has to have full understanding and knowledge of the universe.

No one has an understanding like this, so while I do not believe in a god, gods, or anything similar, I also acknowledge that my knowledge of the universe is limited, and I can, in no way, have all the answers or exhaust all possibilities. 

This is what separates me from atheists. It isn’t what I believe, it’s how I believe it.  Even if I did believe in a higher being, I would still acknowledge that there is a possibility it’s a load of crap, and would still consider myself agnostic.

That does not mean that I am, in any way, indecisive about my beliefs.

How do you define agnostic? Atheist? What is your religious association? Thoughts?

Children as the Future of Religious Intolerance

8 Sep

 

Here at Colorado State University, we have a place reserved for anyone who needs a moment to utilize their right to free speech. Its called the plaza, and on any given day you can find a score of people talking about everything from the environment, to politics, to abortion.

Today’s feature presentation was by a religious group advocating on getting in to heaven. It was some very conservative religious group, as all of the female members were wearing long sleeved and long skirted dresses, with high collars and scarves covering their hair. A man, whom I presume to be from the same group, was making a speech about sin and how we need to accept God into our lives. Its been an hour since I’ve been there, and I can only imagine that its starting to get out of hand. People don’t much like to be told they are sinning and going to hell, and as college students we do like to use our voices against it.

What was different about this group of people, was that they were congregated as families. A family here, and a family there. As I was walking off of the plaza, a woman standing there with her husband and young (about age 7 I’d say) daughter were standing there handing out little cards. The mother was ignored by a girl in passing, and handed her daughter the stack of cards. The next girls both took cards from the little girl. Not everyone is as nice. Not everyone will accept her cards.

I find both good and bad in this situation. This child will face rejection, and she may or may not know why. This can be a good thing; she might rise up and be stronger because of it. In the same breath, she may not. My biggest problem with it is that she is not old enough to make a logical decision about her beliefs, and she shouldn’t be advocating for her parents’. She was also in an area that could get very heated, very fast and words can be very powerful to someone so young.

Do you think its wrong for her parents to have her hand out these pamphlets? 

Inter-Religion Marriage

4 Sep

A comment, made by @ANVRSADDAY, on my previous blog about mistakes made me think about something I don’t often think about: inter-religion marriage.

In my own life, I can’t say that I would never marry someone with religious beliefs different than mine, but if I did he would have to have pretty relaxed beliefs, and could in no way be a die-hard religious fanatic. For me, though, its a little different because I don’t believe in God. That, in itself, pins me against almost every religion. With those people who do believe in a God, there is a vast number of combinations of denominations and religions that can work together.

Even if I did believe in God, the implications of having different religions would be minimal. I think the biggest reason its a complication in a marriage, is the decision of what to raise the child as. I’m not having children, so that is of no concern to me (although I do believe children should be exposed to as many religions as possible, and allowed to make their own choice).

Would you be comfortable marrying someone of a different religion than you? Do you think its okay for other people