On 10 Jul 99, at 11:01, Pauline Williamson wrote:
It can be a very sensitive subject, on both sides...

Then Sandy wrote:
Ain't that the truth! This post might be a bit sensitive too. However, at my age, and with my life experience, I'm finding it very difficult to believe in much of anything other than spirituality and living a good life that is honorable and respectable and ethical. (And feeling good in the unspoken, unbroadcast little things I do to chip in here and pay in there....more and more...those ARE the things that give me the most satisfaction...without one word of recognition in return.....I like watching from the sideline. :-))

And as I tend toward that edge, I think some of the Zen aspects and beliefs regarding life are very appealing (sp?) to me and have drawn me towards that philosophy for the past 6 months or so. In fact, I think a lot of older, protestant pastors/ministers are starting to wrestle with their own beliefs and are really wary of thinking that there is only one, narrow road to follow (at least the ones I talk to anyway). It's a huge, broad, mind-numbing, but effervescent world out there that has rules and ethics and spirituality that could blow away American self-rightous senses and practices in seconds, and all of it entails laughter and happiness and fun too. [One author that really piqued my curiosity was John Shelby Spong, Bishop in the Episcopol church. He's written a number of books that are great reading for the inquiring and analytical mind.]

belief can be an illogical thing, but one that cuts close to the heart. and when people use their religion as a justification for their acts..well, if you don't agree, then their reaction is that it's not them that is responsible for their actions, but their God. nice little self justification there. but we are good at that...

True, and it's always best to remember exactly what you profess to belive, and also what you write, especially since what you write should be able to flow both ways, and you, and your beliefs should be willing to be judged by what you say about others' beliefs and religions. :-) And at the same time, there are those of us who have traveled down many, many paths of religions; some of us finding a niche, and others of us sometimes stopping long enough here and there to learn and "know" more about the religion than the most fervent proselytizers on the PR side of any given sect at any given time. And yet, somehow, many/most of us have learned well and if we haven't stayed, well, then we moved on to something else or another search for spirituality. And like you said, ..."belief can be an illogical thing, but one that cuts close to the heart. and when people use their religion as a justification for their acts",... I answer to all that we should never forget it's a two-way street out there. :-) And there are others that have seen, experienced, and made decisions on their own for how and what they believe today. On this list, they are always allowed dignity and respect for their beliefs. In my mind, anyone who is in their late 20s (28+) and up, has a lot of things they can toss in. At the same time, it took me until I was 45 to start actively searching for other things, even though I've been reading stuff for years.

and then the only recourse is to rail against their god...when the ones truly deserving are those that did the abuse.

Well, for someone who's never been abused by the church in any way, form, or mean...I'd like to say that I "railed against my god" and started looking elsewhere. I'm currently spiritual and have deep beliefs and convictions regarding right and wrong and ethics and morals and good and bad and good and evil. I'm just not believing that smug, protestant/catholic belief that if you don't believe x,y, and z and do a, b, and c you will die in a pit of fire and suffer and be damned like the witches of Salem.......none of that cuts it for me and I tell people it's a crock of shit as far as I'm concerned. It started bugging me when I was about 13 or 14 and I tried hard, but could never swallow the whole thang. Too many wonderful people I've met out there in the world....those that have no religious beliefs, Jews, Hindus, Animists, Buddhists, Shintoists, etc, etc., Wow...my world has been blessed knowing these people and they've set me straight, and they've set me free...If "God is Love", and they are all of God, and all of them full of love, and living it, and practicing it in their culture and their way...then religion by label is wrong!! They, too are as worthy of My God, and I think I'm worthy of their God too.

Anyway, that's me for now. I think religion is something that is lived, not preached, and very often it is even earned...not something espoused and advertised. Practice and show is what it's all about.....never talk (besides the dogma and philosophical issues). The show of kindness and empathy steals my heart anyday and anytime over anything done from a zealous belief due to principal or dogma.

© copyright, 1999, Sandra De Quesada and Pauline Williamson
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