Good to hear such a bold affirmation of the reality of The Maker. Denial < I agree.
Simply put, I wholeheartedly agree with what you said George. However the truth, as I now see it, is that Christianity has distorted the message and only partly represented The Maker. The battle for me was only just beginning when I became a believer 32 years ago at the age of 20. I'm still trying to get the balance right between allowing myself to settle to the status quo to belong and the need to challenge terrible misrepresentations of The Maker and His word that I have been able to see. The two central errors in Christianity centre on thinking The Maker changed His mind about the nation He chose to serve Him and the wisdom He gave us how to live. According to Christianity (99% of it) we have been "freed" from following The Maker's instructions (or we can pick and choose which of His instructions to follow) and that He is no longer going to keep His promises to the nation He chose (which by the way was split into two nations: Judah(Jews) and Israel(who were called "Multitude of Nations" and scattered losing their identity - "not my people"..but who would become His people once again). He has not changed His plan or His mind. These two errors limit how much we can be united and be helpful for others seeking.
The basic notion that The Maker is there, is almost more than some can take because of the abuse of power they have experienced and what I wrote in the above paragraph is often far too much for people to hear while dealing with abuse of various kinds. Patience is key. It has been such a tough and difficult journey for me. I have so wanted to just find someone to tell me what to do.....but The Maker has cared too much for me to let me stay in that place for too long. We are sick and need a Dr - The Great Dr. Sick and Sinful.
Being confident and bold about the good we find does not automatically turn into bullying or persecuting those who don't agree. We need much more room for diversity of perception and patience as "believers". And we need to avoid pressure unity that crushes and persecutes diversity through dumbing down because of a fear of disunity. Let The Maker build the house!
Are we willing to risk being misunderstood as trouble makers as Elijah was? and the opposite problem I also have: Are we willing to "hold fire" daring to open up to risky groups that look like school environment abuse? That is my biggest hurdle to health. I'm trying to believe I'll find a place to belong without having to "bend over" to the alpha males and those who enable them to maintain false herd identity........ How long oh Yah?!
That's some of how I see things (in no way expecting others to see things in the same way)
Some days I do and others I do not. Today is one of those days I think if there was a God I would not be in such pain, feel loss and hurt. I was up all night, mind racing and feeling raw from the abuse that is 50 years old. I was sad, crying and the body ached. I tried to rationalize live or die. It seemed last night death was the best answer. Why I cannot take the pain and memories any longer. They continue to creep back in. I know doctors have said I am wounded from the abuse and the years of torment-that others inflicted and continue to inflict--if there was a God no one would deny my abuse. And if there was a God this pain would go away, those who viciously lied and denied my abuse would see the truth and I could sleep and think of life--but none of these are happening. Some say in death those that tormented will receive their just do--but I cannot believe such after life truly exists. So if there is a God start protecting children from CSA and help those who struggle with overcoming the CSA and stop the ignorant from triggering and inflicting greater pain. I have not felt his presence for a long time. Am I asking for too much?
If there is a God where was He? If He is loving why? If He protects those that have asked Him into their hearts why?
My current realization after decades of placing bibles and testaments, church speaking, teaching sunday school and being in the pew if the building was open and general evangelizing for souls to accept an Omniscient, Omnipotent, loving, protecting, savior is:
1. He was whispering suggestions in the perps ear, or
2. He was a slimy peeper watching, or
3. He gives not a damn about me or any child. Never has. Never will. Never did.
Whole lot less offensive than my post Ceremony and I think the whole thread is asking for opinions not attacking ANY beliefs. At least I hope so. Certainly did not mean to belittle or attack anyone with mine. Just where I am today. Where I have been for a couple of years now.
I fully believe in God and His love for me, despite all the hell I've been through in my 50+ years. I just struggle to trust Him. And I don't understand Him - but then again, shouldn't expect to. But I think the fact that I keep trying to "understand" Him makes my pain worse. I want to just accept that my life has many thorns and can really suck, and that He is nonetheless there to help me get through it, even if I don't always feel that or see any value in what is happening to me.
The original question was "Who still believes in God?" and I just wanted to answer it from my own perspective.
My belief in God has come a long way. currently I feel Jesus is a source of love, purity and innocence that he gives to me again and again, despite the darkness and flaws inside inside of me, despite my failures and weaknesses. He sees me for who I truly am, and doesn't abandon me but loves me.
I just don't see how you guys can believe in a god.
Not that I think you shouldn't. To me the whole god thing is a lovely concept and I wish I could keep it..maybe I can yet. But it has also been the source of a ton of pain and suffering for me..
Right now I feel like I'm being asked to not be gay by people who claim to know who God is... And I am realizing that I am gay regardless of whether I or they or even God wants me to be...how does one deal with that?
The only way I can believe in a god right now is to believe that I may walk in the direction of love and healing and kindness and care. If that isn't what God is, who wants anything to do with him anyhow?
Having been raised in the church in practically the buckle of the Bible Belt, I had the concept of God as exemplified by what my parents and friends believed. Understanding that God is love, it was pretty hard to find that with my father and the church members I had contact with.
If I could lose the contact and connection with all the people from the church that I've seen and know first hand, I could most likely accept God. The church and it's members keep blocking Him from my understanding of who He is.
I do believe in God. He's the merciful Father I didn't know. The Lord Jesus Christ went to the cross for me because he'd rather go through hell for me than go to heaven without me. Through all of what has been done to me and has happened, He was/is there. How do I reconcile all of this, meaning was He there when the csa was happening? Yes. Was He present when the abusers were having their way? Yes. How do I reconcile all of that? Here on earth, I can't. I'm finite. I truly don't understand all of this, but that doesn't negate what I know to be true - He is there. Walks with me, is my life and bought my salvation.
Some who do not believe in the Judeo-Christian concept of God are on their own journey seeking truth. I trust it brings them to the knowledge of the truth.
I definitely do not wish to convey that my sexuality is the only reason I have doubts about God.
I grew up in a seriously conservative church, I'm willing to bet that it is more conservative than any that anyone here has ever set foot inside...think a slightly more permissive form of Amish. If you had seen my family walking down the streets when I was a child, you would have turned and looked...and thought we were Amish.
I spent 10 years throwing everything I had into contacting God. I did things that were excruciatingly difficult in the hopes that I would be able to feel his presence. After a long time of that, I discovered mysticism and it seemed to me to be the only truth I had ever met. I attempted to find God through meditation and silence...
I guess where I am today is to say this: If God wants me, he's gonna have to come get me. I came from a position of intellectual arrogance, saying we know ther is a God and we know what is right and wrong. I would be a fool and a child to return to that same arrogance by saying that I know there is NO God and no right and wrong. I remain open to the possibility of God and to his morality. I am done insisting that he be this or that or that others act a certain way because of my belief. All I can say for sure is that there is love and care and kindness. That is where you will find me...and I will be doing my level best to be loving caring and kind as well. Surely there can be nothing wrong in that. And surely, if he is what he's cracked up to be, He will see me there and recognize me and show himself...but I'm not hanging on for that. My meaning is the love and care and kindness...It's better than hate, and it's better than judgement and exclusionistic religion too. As I see it...
I am very late to this thread, and am reticent to offend anyone, but I suppose my opinion in the matter has as much value as anyone. So, the short answer is no, I do not believe in God, and have not for some time.
It took much "soul" searching, thought and work to get through the feeling that I should believe in god. I was raised Catholic. Very Catholic. After my abuse and its long aftermath I tried to get well again by returning to different forms of Christianity. Those efforts were followed by what I considered to be genuine explorations of just about every other faith out there except for voodoo. In the end, I think there is not much difference between Christianity and voodoo, or between any other religion and voodoo.
The problem with most religions, as I see it, is that they all are based on a belief in God. When you base your beliefs on a thing that is invisible, unseen, unheard, unwitnessed and unknown, you are bound to head for trouble. And our poor world has no shortage of trouble, on which, apparently, no amount of belief in God has any effect. My own opinion is that we would all be better off if people could shake off their beliefs in god and some hoped for afterlife and try to make the actual home we know a better place by becoming better humans.
I do believe that the universe is a sort of wonderful, magical place, full of wonder and beauty and is deep beyond conception. I also believe that it is basically meaningless. Which, as it turns out, is actually a great thing because it gives our lives a great purpose, to create meaning. We must do this, ourselves, and it is not good enough to download a pre-ordained script into our brains to give it meaning.
Everyone has to figure these things out for themselves, and I respect the journeys people take, even if I do not respect the destinations. I can understand why others would want to believe, but I must be true to myself. I will be your friend, your brother, your helper, your guide, but I will never be your coreligionist.
Well, I believe there is a force at work that transcends what we know of the laws of physics and chemistry. Call it God if you wish, call it Good, call it Karma, call it Energy, whatever. Is it some "supernatural" thing? I dunno. It could be something beyond our ability to ever understand. Or, like taking Polaroids of never-before-encounted tribal people in Amazonia or Papua New Guinea, they, as "primitives" might consider it to be supernatural, magic, but to us, it's just technology. "God" or this Energy may be something that, some day, we know, measure, quantify, and harness for our own uses - the power of life and death, the power over time and space, the power of creation and destruction.
There can be great beauty in religion, but ... like any human institution, no matter how noble the goals, human imperfection, human ideas, human problems creep in, and religious institutions are fraught with the peril of corruption, as we have seen so many times.
For those reasons, I consider myself a spiritual person, but not a religiously affiliated one. I am culturally a Christian, but had no opportunity growing up to pursue that, and now have too many questions and too much distrust and cynicism to "believe". So, I guess I'll find my spirituality where I always have, bright moonlit nights and foggy meadows at sunrise and the cycles of life and death.
There had better be a God. I've been upset with him for a long time. I pleaded for mercy during the worst of abuse and of my panic attacks and phobias and didn't feel like I got it. I used to be legalistic and fearful of a very judgmental God because of the strictness of the family I grew up in. These days I'm less intense but enjoy the music and liturgy of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. After I die, I'm going to be really angry if I discover God doesn't exist.