A Statement of Belief

(This node was instigated by Tiefling's request that the members of the Christians usergroup state their personal religious beliefs. I'm continuing a trend begun by Quizro and appreciate the chance Tiefling has given me for talking about myself! All opinions expressed in this node are my own, even when I omit the "in my opinion" disclaimers because I find them a little repetitive after awhile.)

I consider myself a Catholic, a member of the largest and oldest denomination of Christianity. As such, I can easily state some of my core beliefs immediately. I believe in a Triune God that exists as three separate but connected Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I believe that this God created the Universe and our own world out of a desire to share His glory with other beings. I also believe that humankind turned away from God and willingly rejected His offer of divine perfection. To restore us to Him, the Father sent His only Son in the form of Jesus of Nazareth to die with and for us, restoring humankind to a state of grace before God. I also believe that the Son, after he had risen from the dead, gave the disciples the Holy Spirit to be with them and guide them. I don't consider anyone a Christian unless they believe these key points. Though people such as Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses may believe in and worship the God that I worship, their beliefs about His nature are almost completely different from the definition of God held in most Christian churches from the first century anno domini

As a Catholic, I also believe several other things. While these beliefs are generally in accordance with Catholic dogma, I came to them only after serious thought and internal debate. Having two parents that are non-religious, I felt a strong desire to go to church from a young age (around five or so) but wasn't able to. Howeever, this changed when I was in eighth grade and was confirmed into the Catholic faith; my parents would now let me walk to church every Sunday morning. Since then I have attended Mass regularly, almost always alone. All of the beliefs I describe below came to me through a process of religious self-discovery I have undergone since I was a little kid. I believe that in them I can capture some of the divinity of God:

  1. I consider the Pope the rightful heir to Saint Peter and head of the Church. Though I respect and admire Martin Luther for his bravery and courage (and also agree with him to some extent), I still believe that the Catholic Church is the only Church specifically created by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. That said, I also strongly support the ecumenical movement and its attempts to bridge the denominational gap. So many of the differences between us Christians are superficial and petty, and I earnestly hope that they will be resolved. The Church is Christ's Body on Earth; it should not be divided by schisms.
  2. I believe in the sanctity of human life. Life is a gift from God, perhaps the Gift, and is not to be uselessly squandered. To that end, I am rabidly opposed to abortion and the death penalty. From the time a sperm and ovum join to form a zygote to the time of death, a person's life is sacred. There is no debating this point with me; I am immovable and pray fervently every day for the reversal of Roe v. Wade. As Mother Teresa put it, how much lower can a society sink when it murders its own children?
  3. That said, I am not a pacifist. Though all life is sacred, sometimes life must be destroyed to preserve it. War, though horribly destructive and incredibly evil, is sometimes necessary as a method of self-defense. Were the Allies wrong in stopping Hitler with bombs? I think not.
  4. I believe in transubstantiation, the belief that Christ is present in the Eucharist.
  5. I believe in saints and in angels. Though I don't worship them (a common misconception among non-Catholics), I do ask them to intercede for me to God. After all, another voice in prayer can't hurt, especially if that voice is already in communion with Him.
  6. As my godparents stated for me in my baptismal vows and I reaffirmed when I received the Sacrament of Confirmation, I believe in Satan, the ultimate embodiment of Evil. I also believe in Heaven, a state of communion with God, and Hell, a state of eternal separation from God.

Besides these beliefs that I subscribe to simply by being a Catholic Christian, I also hold others:

  • I believe in a God of infinite Love as well as a God of Justice; God's mercy is endless, as long as you ask for forgiveness. He loves each and every creature that He created and would like nothing else but to be close to us; we shut Him out of our lives, not the other way around.
  • I hold a "loose interpretation" of the Bible to be true. While God (through the Holy Spirit) divinely inspired the Biblical authors to write the accounts appearing in the Holy Book, He allowed them to express themselves to the people of the time in a way that they could comprehend. The information related to us in the Bible is not meant to be a history in the sense that we know it today. Rather, it is meant to be a tutorial about God and His nature. While there are some events in the Good Book that are considered true (e.g. the crucifixion of Christ), the inspired writers were free to exercise artistic license in order to get the point across. The Bible tells the Truth, it isn't meant to be a fact book or a strict historical narrative.
  • As you may have guessed from the previous statement, I do acknowledge the validity of science. I do not believe that the world was literally created in six days, rather that God created the world. Science is the tool to understanding the incredibly complex Universe that God has created. Instead of feeling threatened by scientific advances, I am exhilarated at the possibility of being able to get a more accurate glimpse at the clock-maker's masterpiece, for it is a beautiful sight to behold.

Though I believe that everything I've stated in this node is true, I'm open to the possibility that I am horribly wrong. There are many pathways to God; I have just chosen the one that makes the most sense to me. There may not even be a God. There is no definitive proof informing the world what the One Path to Truth is and there shouldn't be. People should have to grope around in the dark to come to a conclusion; it makes that conclusion all the more precious. In the end, all we have to go by is faith, and perhaps that is the greatest gift my God has given me.

Is Music Your Life?

After an early morning conversation with Dave I started to have a little think. I say an early morning chat but it was more like lunchtime. On a Sunday right up until around 2 ‘o’ clock it is early because that is just simply how it goes with me. I am kind of waking up now. I’ve promised myself to try and update a lot more than I currently am and I thought this was something I could write about…

Has there ever been a song that reminds you of something? A song that makes you think of an event that has happened, a place that you have been or a person who means something to you.

Maybe you are all confused as to what the hell I am on about or maybe as soon as you read this you thought of that song and the feeling that goes with it. We all have a songs that we love, don’t we? And something comes with the song, an emotion, a feeling, a person or an event. At the end of the day surely that is the reason why we love the song, that can be the only reason, can’t it?

So you put on the song - it means something to you and sit and listen to it. As you hear it start you relax and you remember that moment that this song reminds you of. It might be painful; it might be from the happiest day of your life and you love every minute of it… People around you wonder what is so good about it and only you know and you try to explain but they aren’t really listening and you aren’t really telling them properly because they will never really get it.

I tried to think of the song that meant something to me, that reminded me of something and believe me I searched and searched for that song… I have to admit there are too many… I don’t just have one song, I have so many songs that mean something and I can’t even begin to try and talk about them all. I have to say though; music is something that brings out how I feel quite a lot.

Now it is your turn. I want you guys to tell me what songs mean something to you and why. I don’t want an essay, I just want your thoughts, go for it guys.
Message me :-)

Much later, Ten Hours later in fact...
This one is for you.

I shouldn’t have told you all my problems; I should have never told you or started talking to you. I wanted you to back me up but you didn’t and I’m not even sure why. I know that you might think that I am being silly but you do not know what it is like to be me. Yes, this is where it starts – this is where I start to pity myself because that is all I know.

This was something I could do for myself and not many people knew about it simply because I didn’t want them too. I wanted to confide in you though when things got a little tough and I thought you would support me. The truth is though you are just like everyone else, you just can’t understand. I realise you don’t need too. Sometimes though it is hard to talk to other people are you seem to understand anything I say and feel.

Maybe I am being silly but I just want to be noticed by someone – anyone. Sadly, this seems to be is the only in which I can do it. I’m doing too much you say, isn’t doing too much better than doing too little? I’m going to sleep on my thoughts and what you said and then tomorrow morning time will tell.

It's weird to decide to write a day log entry, then read the others, and completely change your mind what to write about.

Anyway, I'll bite.

Note I don't intend to argue with or offend the authors of the other writeups, just that I disagree with them to a very high degree.

A Statement of Disbelief
I think I might be accurately described as "agnostic," but I still want to write about the absence of firm convictions in my mind about how we got here, why we're here, and what happens when we die.

I bet people will think I'm boring, but here's my answers to the Big Questions about life, the universe, and everything:

  1. How did we get here? No way to know for certain, but looking at everything we've seen so far, it seems more likely than not that we're a miniscule part of an absolutely enormous (theoretically infinite) system called the "universe" that is constantly changing. Part of that change once involved the combination of basic chemical building blocks into various schemes on this planet that subsequently spawned single-celled organisms that eventually evolved over millions of years into the huge variety of plant and animal life that exists on Earth now. On the surface this idea seems as ludicrous as a deity snapping its fingers and bringing it all to life, except we can actually see evolution at work. Completely conclusive? No. Highly probable? Oh yes.
  2. Why are we here? No way to know for certain, but probably because our parents had sex. I know -- it's a pretty boring answer, isn't it? As for some "higher purpose"? There's no telling. Sure doesn't seem like it though. Surely if a deity wanted us to do something specific, it would have told us by now in a form more reliable than second-hand tales scribed thousands of years ago.
  3. What happens when we die? No way to know for certain, but it's likely we will stop breathing, consuming sustainance, and thinking. Afterlife? Possible, but unlikely. Seems like it'd be a bit crowded if such a thing did exist, but there's never been one damned shred of evidence whatsoever that there's such a thing.

Heh. We agnostics are a frustrating bunch, I bet. Assuming I'm using the right word. I can talk all day about my non-belief, but really I don't want to because I've got better things to do. I can be accurately summarized (in the religious sense anyway) as "don't give a shit". I'd rather spend time being a reasonably decent person and staying out of other people's way than impressing fellow churchgoers with my ability to suckle at God's teets better than the rest.

I expect, if there is an afterlife in which we are judged, this writeup will be included in the prosecution's case against my entry into the fun zone.

In other news, in our continuing saga in trying to buy our first house, the lender spontaneously decided that they needed to see two months' worth of mortgage payments in reserve in our bank account as a condition of the loan's approval. Fuckers. We explicitly told 'em we had nothing to put down on the house and needed 100% financing, which they then approved. Then they sprang this on us.

Between my unbelievably generous parents who lent us the money to show off to the lender and our credit union's miraculously fast response time to the lender's faxed verification request, we managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. All the conditions for loan approval are now met, and the house is still, in theory, ours. The builder now says they'll know the closing (and walkthrough) date by this week, and hopefully they'll clue me in about it at some point.

Not that they'll ever see this, but thanks, mom & dad!

I think the credit union deserves a letter of thanks, too.

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