I may be perceived as being religious by some but I do not consider myself as such. Some people see me as being religiously devote simply because I can comfortably pray, attend church regularly and because of my conservative views. I do not consider myself religious but I do consider myself as a spiritual person so how does one differentiate between the two.
I will begin with stating that I am a Mason of the Ancient Free and Accepted sort. Masonry colors my thinking to a great extent. I will attempt to share some of what Masonry teaches and attempt to inspire critical thinking instead of stirring one’s emotions to confrontation and argument.
It is forbidden to discuss religion or politics when Masons fellowship together. Our ritual language states empathically to “adopt no particular creed, forbidding all sectarian discussions within our lodge rooms but urging that each be steadfast in the faith of his profession”. We believe in the fatherhood of GOD, the brotherhood of man and relief (Charity). We place a lot of emphasis on knowledge (Light) and the elimination of ignorance.
In other words we are brothers even though some of us are of different faiths, different races, and different points of view (liberals and conservatives/democrats and republicans) but we agree to disagree and respect each other’s views. Oh! But if the world but could do that!
I am a Christian simply because that was the faith I was raised in and it was the faith of my parents, ancestors and of my nation. I am a Methodist simply because I made a connection with a Methodist minister who was going door to door inviting people to visit his church. I could have been a Catholic, Mormon, Baptist or any other faith just as easily.
I am an agnostic in the sense that I can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God but I feel God’s existence at my core. I am also the opposite, a gnostic, in the sense that I don’t believe God only resides in a building built of brick and stone. I am a sceptic and pragmatist in that I believe in knowledge and intellect and when that takes me as far as I can go then I will take “that leap of faith” I see God in all of nature and the natural order of things. I see a God that is unknowable, unexplainable and indefinable, to quote the Bible” I am that I am”
I wish mankind could get over trying to put a human face on God to make him/her (it) more familiar. To attribute human characteristics to God is asinine. I am spiritual so I go along with “to know God is to know oneself” I believe we need to look within ourselves and recognize God as life itself.
I am such a mixture of things that I am embarrassed to talk about it but comfortable in that I have spent a life time thinking about my positions and arriving at a particular system of beliefs that are particular to me. I am a dualist in that I believe there are opposites of everything; up, down, black, white, stop, go, male, female and science is just now unlocking the mysteries of the cosmos; dark energy and dark matter. Mankind’s intellect cannot grasp the enormity of the universe no more than he can grasp infinity, our minds are too small and I think it is the same with our thinking of God. “May the Force Be with you” is more akin to how I see God.
I do not believe God intercedes on our behalf through prayer but I do believe in the power of prayer. I don’t believe God will heal your sickness but I do believe devout and prayerful people praying for themselves and other people and the “laying on of hands “ has a powerful impact towards positive thinking and hope.
I have particular views that are inherent to me, these are my views and mine alone and I will not attempt to persuade you. You have your opinions and you are entitled to them. Let us agree to disagree! That which separates us, let us lay aside, let us not have a confrontation and ruin a friendship or a relationship. I am a Christian and a conservative so you basically know what my beliefs are. These are my views, don’t hate me or condemn me or call me ignorant for my beliefs, it is who I am. All people are entitled to their beliefs and that is who they are. Reframe from your bias and bigoted ridicule of others and agree to disagree and maintain those avenues of communication with each other.
I wish to make one more observation which scares me. There is Evil in the world! You can slice or dice it or disguise it but we can’t ignore it. The opposite of evil is goodness and that is where my faith and humanity assert themselves. We can recite forever the sins that infect us; greed, ambition, slander, gossip, pride, apathy, and so, so many more but these are the human condition unfortunately. I see real actual evil in the world like Boko Haram in Nigeria and Isis in Iraq. Radical fundamentalist killing thousands of innocents in the name of their God and religion. Christianity is not innocent here if you will recall the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Salem Witch trials and so on.
What can we do as individuals to defeat such evil? It will take a unified world to oppose them like we did the Nazis and Japan in World War II but we had to drop atomic bombs and fire bomb Germany killing millions of innocents in the process to attain the peace. We are now on the same doorstep not wanting to open that door that will lead to the destruction of radical Islam. They are coming to a town near you to quote an old adage, are we willing to destroy Muslim nations and their people to defeat this evil? Moderate Muslims must stand up and oppose them and save their faith. I feel that many Muslims sympathize with these radicals and aid them. I think they may chose to ignore the horror of their deeds and think they are helping to evangelize the world to Islam at any costs. Islam is not a peaceful religion, they evangelize with a sword, profess Allah or die!