Home > Uncategorized > A brief statement on some of my religious beliefs

A brief statement on some of my religious beliefs

[This entry was originally posted on my MySpace blog. It was transferred to WordPress on 1/20/2013.]

I am a spiritual person. But I am not necessarily religious. I currently do not attend a church, but I consider myself to be a Christian and I view my beliefs as pretty solid.

I was raised in a conservative Baptist church that viewed all dancing as a sin and all card-playing as evil (except for UNO and Skip-Bo – those were innocent). Rock and Roll was satanic, regardless of the lyrical content and the hearts of the performers – the “jungle beats” were derived from “satanic African tribes.” Boys whose hair reached their collars were bordering on appearing sinful as well. I don’t want to hold anything against my former pastor and his wife. They are magnificent human beings, willing to help out in a heartbeat, truly exhibiting love to those they care about and they truly love God. But the beliefs of the church were flawed, I feel.

I think God is still speaking today. This doesn’t mean that I get on my knees and literally hear a deep, soothing voice in my ear. I believe that truth is of God and any truths that we uncover are ways in which God is speaking to us. Which means that if a Christian is reading the Bible and they reach an epiphany, that is God speaking to them. It also means that if a Christian is reading the teachings of the Buddha and they find truth, that is also God speaking. God can speak through preachers, through nature, through an episode of Seinfeld, through tragedy. Truth is all around us if we only pay attention to it. Every faith contains truths. The challenge is to tolerate aspects of other faiths we don’t understand and balance them with the points in which we agree. We are all humans sharing one planet, so we must coexist.

I believe all music is of God. People may exercise their free will with music as they see fit. No music is inherently evil. Perhaps intentions in the hearts of performers may be unsound, but that should not even be an issue. If I use my music to talk about love, God, politics and dissatisfaction with our leaders, I do not see any of that as being “of the devil.”

I am disappointed by the judgemental nature of many conservative Christians. I have been on both sides of the spectrum. I have been judged and I have been the one looking down my nose at the “unrighteous”. I like to think I have grown out of that, but I also fear that some amount of judgement is inherent in human nature. Christ’s biggest message was that of love, in spite of imperfection. When televangelist Jim Bakker “fell from grace” as so many liked to say, the church at large – Christians, whom you would think would love and support him – kicked him while he was down. Jerry Falwell declared Bakker to be a “cancer on the body of Christ”, while Jimmy Swaggart, another prominent televangelist condemned him as well. Swaggart later “fell from grace” himself when he was caught with a prostitute. The point is that instead of offering healing and paths to reconciliation, the church ridiculed both Bakker and his wife from pulpits all across the country. Even Bakker’s children were shunned by churches and youth groups. Shouldn’t Christians offer love and forgiveness and solace? It is one thing to be ridiculed on the Tonight Show and on Saturday Night Live, but from one’s supposed brothers and sisters in Christ? That, to me, is inexcusable. I am a fan of Jim Bakker and his son, Jay. They emerged from the ashes of Christian abandonment and have come out stronger and wiser than before.*

I am a huge believer in free will and making choices, rather than being bound by antiquated rules. The Bible is a fantastic reference for Christians.  I personally believe that those who wrote the various books were inspired by the divine.  However, I do not necessarily believe it is the be-all-and-end-all. There is such freedom in progressing through good, informed choices. When a person starts putting oneself in check – “is itreally a good idea to do this?” – it encourages personal responsibility through free will. Human were given a conscience for a reason.  Oftentimes, churches are consumed by dogma and by rules. But why? There are questions of control and order and tradition. But if one were to simply follow the teachings of Jesus without any prior knowledge of churches and Christianity, the world might look differently.

I like to think that I am very open-minded and tolerant of others’ beliefs. I consider myself to be very liberal, politically as well as spiritually. I like rock ‘n’ roll in church. I believe that based upon his characterization in the gospels, if Jesus were in our current era, he would be hanging around punk rock clubs with drug addicts and dealers, holding back the hair of those vomiting in the gutters. I believe that Jesus would not shun gay people. I believe in the principles of “love your neighbor,” “love your enemy” and to be “stewards of the earth.”  I do not believe that the agenda of the Christian right should be legislated in government. I believe that the current state of the Christian church at large is very much comparable to the Pharisees of Christ’s era – very zealous, self-righteous and judgemental. I like to consider myself to be a recovering Pharisee.**

…tonyLkollman…

*For some good reading, check out I Was Wrong by Jim Bakker and Son of a Preacher Man by Jay Bakker.
** For some good reading, check out 12 Steps for the Recovering Pharisee (Like Me) by John Fischer

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