God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit: What the hell do I believe?

Religion has never been very popular with me. Some say I ask too many questions. Others say I don’t ask enough. Still others say I don’t have the proper respect for religion. Long story short, in my adult life I’ve had a very hard time finding the religion that suits my beliefs best. And I’m still not sure I’ve found the answer, but a comment on an older post of mine has got me thinking, again, about finding a church I can stick with. My last foray into the world of organized religion left me feeling like I had no place to go as far as a church home was concerned. I felt like I couldn’t be honest with the people at that particular church without being told I was going to hell for my beliefs. That doesn’t sit well with me, so its been a few months since I stepped foot in a church.

But back to the comment that inspired me to continue my search for a church I could live with. One of the many options the commenter presented to me was the United Church of Christ, and after much research, I’ve decided to check it out next Sunday. I’ll let you know how that goes, but today I’d like to examine what it is I believe. I think a lot of my problem is I’m not sure what it is I believe, and that has led to a lot of confusion on my part. So here goes nothing:

1. God: He’s real, and he cares about us. He takes an active interest in our lives and wants to see us succeed in this life. He also wants us to worship him in everything that we do, so our goal should be to live a good life that is pleasing to God. What that “good life” entails, as far as I am concerned, is between God and the individual. For me, its taking care of the people I love and speaking out on the injustices I see perpetrated by people today. It’s different for each and every one of us though, so please don’t think that just because I live my life one way that you have to live your life that way as well. What works for one person doesn’t work for a different person.

2. Jesus: I’m good with the idea of Jesus. What the Christian bible writes about his physical existence is where I have a problem, but that’s more of a problem with the whole bible than just this one aspect of it. I fully believe that he was/is real, I just think the writers of the bible may have gotten the time-table wrong. I fully believe in living the way that He taught His followers to live and that there is a real possibility that He did the things the bible claims He did. Does that make sense? I sure hope so. And I definitely believe that He is part of the Holy Trinity and was sent to earth to save God’s people. I haven’t decided if I believe that it happened the way the bible says it happened, but I definitely believe that He was sent here to be a Savior for God’s people.

3. Holy Spirit: This one is actually a little easier for me to believe. I believe that the Holy Spirit is real and that He helps us live a life pleasing to God. Why do I believe this? I believe that God cares for us and is concerned about what happens in our lives, but he doesn’t take an active role in the day-to-day happenings of our lives. Jesus was physically there for His followers and disciples, but He has ascended into heaven and is no longer physically here on earth to guide us the way He did when He was here on earth. So the Holy Spirit was sent to be an active participant in our lives, to help us live lives pleasing to God.

4. The bible: This is where I have a problem. While I believe it is useful to teach people how they should live, I can say with almost absolute certainty that it is not historically accurate, as has been proven again and again through scientific discovery. The bible claims that the earth is only a few thousand years old. Scientists have discovered dinosaur bones that are millions, if not billions or even trillions of years old. What I believe happened is simple. The earth land masses used to be one giant mass, called Pangaea:

but they eventually separated, forming the continents we know of today. Once that separation occurred, different cultures and religions were formed to accommodate the people of those continents. Without the seamless communication we enjoy now, these religions flourished in the cultures they were formed in, and the people of those religions firmly believed that their religion was the only way to God or whatever it was that they believed in. Once long ocean journeys were possible, the various religious movements decided to take their religion to other parts of the world, thus causing conflict with other cultures and religions. As far as the bible is concerned, I believe that it is good for moral teaching on how to live, but should not be considered historically accurate because of its obvious historical mistakes.

5. Christianity and religion in general: As you’ve heard me say before, and as I’ll probably say a million more times, people fuck shit up, and religion is no different. I believe very firmly that God wants us to be like Christ. He was sent to this earth to show people how to live their lives, and we should trust God enough to know that He only wants what is best for us. Anything above and beyond what is printed in the New Testament as spoken by Jesus should be viewed with a grain of salt in my opinion. And organized religion, as a whole, strikes me as incredibly rule based and increasingly untrustworthy, given their track record for excluding people who don’t believe exactly as they do or live lives contrary to “church teachings” (notice I said church teachings, not necessarily what the bible teaches). While having some form of organized religion in our lives (at least to me) is important, I think people need to realize that the people running these religions are just as human as you are and they make mistakes.

So that is what I believe. Take it or leave it, but I’m done writing for now.

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4 Comments

Filed under Biblical Liz

4 responses to “God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit: What the hell do I believe?

  1. Very thoughtful post. If I were to write an entry about the things i believe, I’m not sure I would do as well.

    I know what you mean about the Bible. After returning to faith after a serious bout of doubt, I cannot overlook the Bible’s obvious contradictions; in addition, I have not felt drawn by the Spirit to Scripture’s every word. I’m not sure where truth ends and cultural opinion begins in the Bible. I wish I did.

    But I do believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that His mother Mary personally nudged me back into the light.

    • Liz

      Thank you =) I don’t make a practice of writing about religion because I consider faith to be a very personal matter, but its always good to know I’ve connected with my readers on some level.

      As far as scripture is concerned, I look at it this way. Everyone on earth, besides Jesus, was/is imperfect. While the authors of the books of the bible may have been (and probably were) inspired by God, it would be irresponsible to leave out the fact that they were human. They made mistakes. Add to that the fact that we aren’t reading it in the original language it was written in, and you have a HUGE potential for mis-communication. Not taking that into consideration, IMHO is irresponsible at best. And basing an entire religion on a book that we can’t be sure is accurate, then telling people that its the only way to heaven, is just plain wrong. So other than the stuff in red, I have to take into consideration the fact that we’re not dealing with original source material and that the people who wrote it are no better than me.

      With that being said, I think I’m good with the whole Mary and Jesus relationship and Jesus being the Son of God, mostly because of how Jesus refers to Mary throughout scripture (the stuff in red in most bibles) and how he treats her in scripture. I have to believe they got at least that part right.

  2. You’re pretty well on track with most of what you believe. One thing I might add is the ability of the Holy Spirit to teach. When I don’t understand a certain part of the Bible I go outside and ask God to explain it to me. After a bit of pondering and speaking to myself I always come away with a proper answer.

    It’s not as though I hear a voice speaking in my own language. It’s more like I get ideas that lead to more ideas. I rate them against what I know the Bible says and form a statement regarding my question. Then, in my soul, heart, center mind, where ever that place is, I look up to God and ask Him to confirm that I got it.

    There is a great deal to be said positively regarding the teaching of those who have studied Bible stuffs. But in general, the teaching comes home after those moments of reflection in His presence.

    I hope this helps at all. dunno if I did it any justice.

    By His Grace.

    • Liz

      The Holy Spirit teaches me each and everyday, so I definitely know what you mean.

      As far as listening to people who are more schooled in the bible than I am, I’m with you up to a point. I will listen to what they have to say, but I lose a great deal of respect for preachers and churches in general who feel it is their duty to shove their beliefs down the throats of those that simply don’t want to hear it. I’m perfectly okay with a pastor telling his congregation that homosexuality is wrong, but when that church actively participates in the forming of law in the U.S to restrict the rights of millions of people based on that church’s PERSONAL beliefs, I have to wonder how well they are living up to the commandment to love thy neighbor as thyself.

      And you did help, trust me =)

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