Topics: Confusion

I’m confused often, and I like to be open about things I am confused by. These posts cover topics of confusion to me.

Forgiveness

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

About three years ago, I had a very bad church experience. It colored how I thought about church for a long time after – that it was corrupt and imperfect, an entity that detracts from a person’s thriving spiritual life. However, I realized the other day that I have completely recovered from my anger towards all churches.

What was the thing that helped me?

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Music Boxes and Meaning

Friday, May 25th, 2007

Years ago, I worked with a charismatic and very gifted co-worker named Craig.

Craig was an amazing man. I only knew him a couple of years before he retired, but I wish I could have known him better. He and most of the other men his age that I worked with were an inspiration to me. Either they came from a better generation than I, or they were just more mature, but they had a depth my generation seem to lack. I didn’t stand above the flaws either: my most pressing concerns back then was my lacking romantic life, a stupid and self-centered angst.

But back to Craig. In many of my interactions with him and the legends that my other co-workers would tell, Craig’s life was a striking series of missed opportunities. In an interview with another company before he came to Xerox, he was asked to design a solution to an engineering problem on the spot. He did so, but never got the job. However his idea was so good that his interviewees took it and patented it, and it has been integrated into successful products ever since. Craig at times would find any reason to pull out his wallet for others to see and flip through the bills. He would watch closely for your reaction when he flipped past the thousand dollar bill among the twenties. It was all in good fun, but I couldn’t help but notice that there was a tinge of sadness – as if he and everyone else were wondering: why didn’t this guy make it big?

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Motivations behind the switch…

Monday, February 5th, 2007

Bored in Vernal posted a great question in response to the Risk and Proof post: Is a person who has had a religious experience with a God in one tradition justified in looking into other religions… here’s my best crack at an answer that is more exploring the issue than actually answering it 🙂

What was the motivation for pursing another? If a person had real communication with a God from one faith tradition, why leave (or wander)? First of all, it might be easy to leave or look around because the God of one seems to be a similar God in another (such as is the case with Catholicism, Protestant Christianity, Mormonism, and Islam) – Every one of those faiths seem to believe in the same God of the Bible, but differ radically in the details. But even if the leaving is easy and would not be considered “adultery” in the OT sense, why leave or look elsewhere?

I guess there is a sense of studying other religions just to understand them while still believing in your current one, and this can’t be wrong, but what if one were actually trying to find truth in them. Even in this sense, it seems to me that there are certain truths found in most religions – such as certain virtues of martial fidelity, the view of life as sacred, not to steal or testify falsely in trial, etc. So in other religious that have a different God-like entity entirely – such as Buddhism or Hinduism in contrast to Judeo-Christian religions, some things are still the same.

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The optimism of atheism

Monday, February 5th, 2007

Miko over at MoF opened up a discussion on optimism and religion. Both sides of it (theist vs. atheist) have perspectives on this about themselves and their counterpart. Here is my take on the subject.

As a theist? Christian, I have come to understand atheism as a (mostly) healthy and optimistic shift in belief away from a very unhealthy and very ugly view of God put forth by very misguided religious groups. As a Christian, I have seen first hand and experienced how bad evangelical churches and movements can be (which I never thought possible before), and I have heard second hand (via John and Miko and others) how bad other religious groups and their dark and dismal views of God are and how that manifests itself in a religious culture and society. Miko and John’s atheistic world-view and accompanying beliefs/values to me could only be described as optimistic.

No joke – if I went though the experiences of most folks from bad religious backgrounds, I would probably be an atheist now, and I think that the true God would be pretty happy with that arrangement – it is a good way to sever ties with a belief system with so much crap that runs so deep it must be (in some cases) summarily rejected like a cancer for any healthy growth to take its place.

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Dear God?

Friday, October 13th, 2006

*faith-based discussion removed on Oct.17th*

I recently listened to a song by Sarah McLachlan called “Dear God”, and I must admit, I was really confused. Can someone explain this to me? Anyway, here are the lyrics:

Dear god,
Hope you got the letter,
And I pray you can make it better down here.
I don’t mean a big reduction in the price of beer,
But all the people that you made in your image,
See them starving on their feet,
cause they don’t get enough to eat

From god,
I cant believe in you.

Dear god,
Sorry to disturb you,
But I feel that I should be heard loud and clear.
We all need a big reduction in amount of tears,
And all the people that you made in your image,
See them fighting in the street,
cause they cant make opinions meet,
About god,
I cant believe in you.

Did you make disease, and the diamond blue?
Did you make mankind after we made you?
And the devil too!

Dear god,
Don’t know if you noticed,
But your name is on a lot of quotes in this book.
Us crazy humans wrote it, you should take a look,
And all the people that you made in your image,
Still believing that junk is true.
Well I know it ain’t and so do you,
Dear god,
I cant believe in,
I don’t believe in,

I wont believe in heaven and hell.
No saints, no sinners,
No devil as well.
No pearly gates, no thorny crown.
You’re always letting us humans down.
The wars you bring, the babes you drown.
Those lost at sea and never found,
And its the same the whole world round.
The hurt I see helps to compound,
That the father, son and holy ghost,
Is just somebody’s unholy hoax,
And if you’re up there you’ll perceive,
That my hearts here upon my sleeve.
If there’s one thing I don’t believe in…

Its you,
Dear god.

So what am I confused by? Well, the song, on the surface at least, is about a beef the singer has with God. So far, that makes sense, but the confusing part here is that she doesn’t believe in God. By the song’s bitter and angry tone, it obviously isn’t a parody about the ironic nature of an imaginary loving God in an awful world, nor is it just an intellectual look at the ironies of a non-existent God, it is an angry song about an imaginary God. That’s what confuses me. Why is anyone angry at a God who doesn’t exist? I must admit that I am not too good with understanding poetry or song lyrics and must turn to others who know better than I to understand, so I am hoping someone will help me here.

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