Many people jump to the conclusion that I am an atheist because I am not religious anymore and can be very critical of organized religion. However, I am not an atheist. I do often listen to atheist podcasts and read atheist books, but I also sometimes listen to and read material from spiritual or religious sources (even the crazy ones, although I listen to them more for amusement). I find myself overall agreeing more with secular thought, but I do feel that differing points of view are essential for having a realistic, down-to-earth view of life.
If I had to choose a label for myself spiritually, it would be agnostic. I’m not really sure what the hell is going on. I’m not a deist, because I’m not positive that there is a greater being or consciousness, although I hope there is to an extent. I don’t believe in the specific gods of any earthly religions, but I wouldn’t mind if there were some wiser (and hopefully caring) beings, or at least some sort of a meaning to all that is.
Because of the state of the world and the suffering, abuse, and slaughter of the innocent, I find it hard to believe in an “all good” being in power, unless that being gave us a choice about being here and what we would face. If earth were some kind of “school” where we choose the lessons we want to learn or the experiences we want to have, then I could see how the powers that be could still be moral and have values. Otherwise, their absence and inaction in the face of so much injustice and pain speaks volumes.
I do not believe in “original sin”. I do not believe in a God who must spill innocent blood in order to be able to forgive someone else for doing something wrong (seriously, how is that even ok???) I do not believe in a being that has such a huge ego all they want is to be worshiped for all eternity (too Donald Trumpish for my taste). I do not believe that there is necessarily an afterlife or heaven/hell, but if there is I would not be shocked or upset unless there was some kind of tyrant running things. If there is some sort of being in charge of it all, I simply hope that they are just and kind, but not cruel or punitive.
During meditation time tonight, I got to thinking about forgiveness and love and ended up writing down a letter to God, in which I expressed all the things that are on my heart. The letter ended up taking the form of an apology…both for the things that I think I personally have done (willfully or unknowingly) and that the human race as a whole does. Of course, I know I have left much out, there is no way I could compile even a list of all the mistakes I’ve made, let alone the whole world, but I think this is a beginning…
I’m sorry that sometimes we are all just plain idiots.
I’m sorry that we often misrepresent you, without even meaning to.
I’m sorry that we fail to understand and apply even the simplest of your teachings, but have no trouble arguing about every little thing.
I’m sorry that we often ignore you, or even insult you.
I’m sorry that we try to make you fit into our own image or idea instead of really getting to know you.
I’m sorry that we are quick to anger, but slow to love.
But most of all –
I’m sorry that we have often trashed your beloved creation and not even cared.
Tonight I’ve been thinking about what a paranoid kid I used to be. I started thinking about the subject when 3 of my cats started acting totally crazy tonight. For some reason they are agitated, anxious messes and seem to think there is something scary in one area of the house, even though I see nothing there. It was starting to creep me out a bit since I am the only adult awake in the house right now. So those thoughts brought back childhood fears and paranoid delusions. Now I am wondering is every kid the freaked out mess I was? Here are a few examples:
- As a kid I firmly believed that Satan lived under my bed. I have no recollection of where this idea came from, but it was firm. If I happened to have an arm or a leg hanging over the edge of the bed at night, I believed that was an invitation to Satan to grab hold of me and pull me under into Hell. Even after all these years, I still find myself unconsciously trying to keep from having an arm or leg dangle off the bed
- I also believed that at night three witches would meet in my room to brew potions and cast spells. As long as they thought I was asleep, I thought I would be safe, but I knew if they noticed I was awake, they would have to kill me.
- One of my childhood friends (I can’t remember who) told me that Freddy Krueger could get to you through the bath tub drain. His metal hand would come up and slice you to death right in the tub. For that reason I was super scared to take a bath for a while.
- Then there were my dreams. One of a group of nuns abducting me, tying me up and sewing my mouth shut so I couldn’t scream. Another of Jesus visiting and turning into Satan right before my eyes. The one where my mom and dad were getting married in my grandparents’ yard and Satan showed up, wrapped his cape around them and took them to Hell in a fiery exit. And last, but not least, the great cosmic dream where God and Satan fought a major battle over my living room coffee table (apparently it was their biggest fight to date for some reason). Can you tell yet, that I seemed to have a childhood obsession with Satan for some reason? Maybe it was because my grandfather was a hellfire and brimstone preacher…honestly, I really don’t remember why I feared Satan so much.
So what do you think? Was I extra-neurotic as a kid or are these pretty common fears among children? What were your weird fears as a kid?