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The Limiting Factor of Humankind - The Mind
“I’m sorry Mom, but I don’t believe in organized religion anymore,” I said equably.
“What? So now you’re not a believer? You don’t believe in God?” she spread her hands before her.
“I do believe in God. I just don’t believe in organized religion,” I replied calmly.
“So you’ve been Catholic your entire life, and now you’re just going to switch over to atheism.” She stared at me like I was a bug on her shoe.
“I am not an atheist, but I refuse to go to church with you today.” Mom left for church angrily. I think she is probably sitting in a pew with my father, fuming about her recalcitrant daughter.
I know this is not the way to spend worshipping God. People, not just my mom, who devote their life to religious faith still spend their lives living in fear and turmoil. I remember once when I asked about my mother’s grandparents. She laughed when she said her grandma Eliza bragged that she never missed church a week in her entire life. Yet Eliza would always complain about the negroes moving in down the street.
Have you ever heard of Jonathan Edwards? During the Great Awakening in America, a time of religious revival, he gave a speech entitled “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” I had to read this speech in English class. I can honestly say that nothing disgusts me more than people who rile others up using violence, fear, and emotion in order to make them believe their words. I ended the speech feeling that I was destined to go to Hell.
A few months later in English class I read some works of Ralph Waldo Emerson. He spoke of being “part or parcel of God.” He philosophized, basically, that people see something of themselves in nature. Therefore, each individual becomes universal. To these philosophies I felt a great awakening inside myself. While my parents were at church brooding about the faults in their lives and mine, I went to the woods and meditated. Soon I was both a part of myself and a part of everything. Only then did I feel closest to God.
Emerson said in one essay, “whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist.” I feel that I’ve finally awakened to the possibilities of everything I’ve not thought possible before.
Hamburg, New York
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This article has 5 comments.
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"For where God built a church, there the Devil would also build a chapel."
I'm a Christian, I dont live in fear and turmoil. And about the comment of supposed irony, it only goes to show that Christians are sinners too (any Christian who claims they are better than a non Christian is a hypocrite).
If anything is turmoil:
Born from nothing, die to nothing; have a nice day anyway... (atheism)
For the sake of intrest, where does wickedness play in the pantheistic (all is one with God)) belief system?
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Action and reaction, ebb and flow, trial and error, change - this is the rhythm of living. Out of our over-confidence, fear; out of our fear, clearer vision, fresh hope. And out of hope, progress.
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what you wrote about though is how a lot of people do feel and it got that idea accross well
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I found it a bit offensive that you said people go to church to "brood about the faults in their lives." There's so much more to it than that. I'm a Catholic myself, and I don't necessarily agee with all of the rules the religion presents, but I've found something beautiful in a community of supportive people who share my beliefs. Then again, I also wholeheartedly support Emerson and the Transcendentalists, and what they stand for. (Thanatopsis is one of my favorite poems; if you haven't read it yet, I would reccomend it.) I think that God is present in many forms.
But however you choose to search for God in your life, I hope you come as close as any of us can to finding Him!