A Penny for Your Thoughts
On 2005-08-11, Sven Seeland wrote:
Well well... I usually don't go around talking about my religion and stuff but I'll take this opportunity to put thoughts and feelings into words since it usually helps me clear things up for my own understanding.
I was raised as a casual protestand christian. My mother and I never went to church much though I did go through all the formal steps that a young protestant christian can go through (don't care to translate them now since it doesn't matter for the greater picture).
Nowadays things have changed a bit for me. I'm still a member of the church but simply for sentimental reasons. I just couldn't get myself to part from that part of my life yet.
That being said, I don't believe in the church. I don't believe that people need an organization in order to believe and to live their faith. A community to share the faith is a good thing but most churches/religions in these days aren't communities but rather highly structured hirachies (spelling?). In order to probably explain these thoughts I have to digress a bit. I'll try to be brief.
I always thought of myself as a scientist type of person. I look at things in a very practical and realistic way. We don't know anything about god, whether there is a god and if there is one what he's like.
I don't believe into "The One True Way" that every religion claims to be, in the sense of being "the Truth". A religion may claim to be the "Best Way Of Life Known To Date" but actually telling people that "God says you have to do this-or-that" and "The Afterlife is like this" is just bullshit.
I do believe in the bible as a guideline. I do also believe that any religion is just that: a guideline. A metaphorical way to spread a certain mindset. I generally consider this a good thing, since most religious mindsets are rather peaceful and generous. Religion helps people to cope with their lifes and problems. Of course this is a bad thing when this turns into extremism but extremists have usually strayed pretty far from their religion. Islam is a very peaceful religion at heart. It's the extremists that twisted it.
That and many of the original thoughts and intents have been lost in the various translations of the religious texts and in the mindless practicing and preaching of them over the centuries
So much about my thoughts about other religions. Now about my own beliefs.
I stand here in my life, in this world and I look around and can't help to wonder. I wonder about the sheer beauty of the world! What amazes me most is the wonder of life! There is nothing more stunning than watching a child being conceived, beeing born and grow up. I look at physics and mathematics and I am amazed by the beauty and the genius of the laws that are at work around us every second of our lifes! Seeing how such simple sets of laws create such amazingly complex and well working systems is mind-boggling! Nature is amazing all in it self. Nature has survived any catastrophe. It has brought forth organisms and systems that are amazingly complex and "just work".
As a information science major (I tend to call it system theory) I can't help but be stunned by everything I see around myself. It makes me think that it can't just have been an accident. If at the time of the big bang there had just been a tiny change in the mixture of particles, a tiny little, subtle change in the proportions, the universe as we know it wouldn't exist. We wouldn't exist. And then there is the big question: what happened before the big bang? Where did it all start?
As you can see my "religion" consists mostly of questions. My concept of "god" is a very blury one. For me, god is a set of natural laws that we know very little about. God is the spirit that created life. God (in the previously mentioned forms) creates a sort of universal justice.
I don't know whether God is actually sentient. I wouldn't rule out the possibility but I believe that if God is sentient, he is so in a way that is totally alien to mankind and can not be compared with our way of thinking and feeling and our concepts of justice in any way.
I also don't think that if God is sentient, that God is in any way focused on humanity. We are God's children no more than all the rabbits, monkeys, snakes, fish, cockroaches, mosquitoes, trees, flowers and backteria. And before God, all humans (just as all non-humans) are equal, no matter their skin-color or faith.
How do I know this? It makes the most sense to me. Since God is (by definition) not human, I don't see why he should prefer any form of life to another. Looking at life around me makes believe that the concept of God is a lot broader than represented by christianity.
I believe that life is a great accomplishement and should be honored as such!
And death? Is there a life after death? Well, I don't know. I can't rule it out so I'll acknowledge the possibility. To be perfectly honest: in the darker passages of my life, which I have luckily left behind, the only thing that kept me from killing myself was the thought of an afterlife in which I could be punished for throwing away the most valuable gift: life.
I had no evidence that this could be the way it is but I had no evidence against it either, so I had to consider the possibility.
Damn, this turned out to be a lot longer than planned.
I hope any of this makes sense. I would really like to debate this further, if anyone wants to. You can contact me at sven dot seeland at gmx dot de.
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