My Journey from Religion to Spirituality ☮☯️

When I was a child, I went to a very prestigious “non-denominational” Catholic grade school.I was not put in this school for the religion, I was put in this school because with this school, I would have an incredibly easy life and future set for me, if I was anyone else 😂. But I’m no one but myself, so here’s what I’ve gathered along my journey.

RELIGION – Catholic & Christian

Religion is defined as: “the belief and WORSHIP of a “superhuman” CONTROLLING power, especially a PERSONAL God or gods.”

Synonymn: a cult.

The Catholic religion is focused primarily on the Old Testament – put the fear of God into the youth. They also live by these ten rules called the “Ten Commandments.” Do not rape is not one of those ten commandments, but you better not say the word “God” incorrectly. 🙄🤬I do not ever remember hearing that God loved me, but I very much remember regularly being told I was going to “hell” over minor things like my clothing choice or music selection, questioning the things that didn’t add up, or overall being a “sinner”.I very much remember being called a “sinner” and sent to additional confessions to get my “sins” out of me.
I only remember hearing about Jesus on Easter and Christmas. It was more about “God the Father.”My mother has told me a little about her own Catholic experience. She was required to fundraise for babies who are in “purgatory” because they died before Jesus could take their “original sin” away with baptism. 😲 I asked her who got the money, since it was already too late for these babies? She didn’t know.I do not believe in sin, heaven, or hell. I became an Atheist while reading the Bible in grade school. My grade school Bible was filled with highlighted versus of pro-misogyny, pro-racism, pro-violence and death, pro-beating children into submission, pro-beating women, pro-rape, and pro-hatred of everyone but themselves. I still cannot read the Old Testament without being filled with immense hatred. I have nothing positive to say about the Catholic religion.Fast forward to age 24 when I met my now-husband. He was adopted into a family of Evangelical Christians. I’m the real black sheep 🐑.
I refuse to let my children be raised in religion, and since I married into it, I became obsessed with “finding Jesus,” so that I would possibly understand how to navigate the constant battles in my home over religion. You can’t fight something you don’t understand, so I began reading the Bible.I purchased myself a She Reads Truth Bible so that it was pretty enough to WANT to read, had messages from other women explaining the “context” so I wasn’t reading “out of it,” and was in layman’s terms. I wanted a fresh start that wasn’t already decided to be a book of evil.The Christian religion focuses primarily on the New Testament, so I started there. This is where Jesus enters.So what I’ve gathered about Jesus is that he is the son of God, but still God because they are one? In my mind I see God as an authoritarian dad with a major anger problem that takes punishment to an extreme (Republican), and then Jesus is the rebel child that is like, “move along, pops, your days are done” (Democrat).He self-sacrifices himself to forgive the “sin” on Earth so that everyone has a free pass to do whatever they want under “free will” (your fate is already determined for you in the Christian religion because “God” has already written the story of you) and as long as at the end of the day they accept him and his dad, they will still go to this magical land in the sky called “heaven.”Heaven is a place where people are literally dying to get in 😂 (pun intended). It is not a place that I have ever spent fantasizing about. Its not a place I have ever wanted to go. It sounds overpopulated and very bland and boring. How could everyone be satisfied in the same place in death, while being completely unsatisfied with everyone while being earth-side? Everyone will just magically get along now that they are dead? Why are you not fighting for everyone to get along here, while we are already together?I hear people sit and talk about how amazing “heaven” is going to be, while talking about how awful life and the planet is, then say to let God take care of the problems, while choosing to ignore them themselves while waiting for others to solve the world’s problems for them, and thats not something I can accept in my heart, mind, or soul. I don’t want to go to heaven, but if you want me in your heaven, by all means have me there, because it’s your heaven.Back to Jesus. He tells us that all “sinners” are forgiven. He tells us not to use religion as a way to make money. He tells us not to store earthly treasures. He tells us to give what we have instead of hoarding for ourselves. He tells us to love and accept everyone, especially “sinners.”That’s all cool, I can dig it. I can see how he gained a following. I just wish his followers would hold themselves to as high of a standard of following that as they push upon the “non-believers.”A friend recently said to me, “I see a lot of humans, but very little humanity.” That is how I see the “Christian” religion. I hear great messages, I see very, very little action. (Message and action do no align)

CROSSROADS

Crossroads Church based in Cincinnati, Ohio is where I began forming my own beliefs.Crossroads does not classify as “Christians,” but rather, “spiritual warriors.” Their slogan is “Be the Church.”Crossroads lives out Jesus’ message through action, rather than just talking about it.

They DO collect money at services.

This money:
  • Provides free housing and meals to the homeless and those in addiction, as well as rehabilitation services and reintegration into society, including a culinary school to help criminals find careers.
  • Paid off $46.5 million in medical debt for people who do not even attend their church.
  • Provided* (pre-coronavirus) free coffee (& hot chocolate in the winter), not only during services, but Monday- Friday for anyone who needed a hot cup and someone to talk to, any time.
  • Provides free shows to the public, an extraordinary kids club, a spiritual camp, various free support groups, free events for the public, among many other things.
You can find their Financial Philosophy here.In the Spring and Summer, they clean up the community as a church. They tend to gardens, fix up damaged buildings, clean up litter, etc. They ask for nothing and supply everyone with breakfast and water. They believe in giving back however and whenever possible.In the Fall and Winter, they host the largest food drives. They did a huge free Christmas show which has now been moved to Broadway. They did Angel Trees and supplied Christmas gifts to many indigent families.In my experience, Crossroads is made up mostly of people who have endured religious abuse as children. It is a place to heal. It is a place to come as you are, however you are dressed, whatever you believe, or don’t, and be accepted and loved. No fear, just love. It is a place that is fighting to change the world and put an end to religious abuse and show the world they are spreading the wrong messages. Both message and action fully align.

BUDDHISM

Buddhism is NOT a religion. There is no “god.” It is a way of life. Buddhists believe in the Three Universal Truths and the Four Noble Truths.

Three Universal Truths

  • Everything in life is impermanent and always changing
  • Possession of material items or relationships will not make you happy.
  • • “Self” is a collection of changing characteristics or attributes.

Four Noble Truths

  • Human life has a lot of suffering.
  • The cause of suffering is greed.
  • There is an end to suffering
  • The way to end suffering is to follow the “Middle Path.
“The “Middle Path” is not living a life of luxury and indulgence, but not one of too much fasting or hardship. It is where you will find nirvana.

Buddhists believe and practice:

  • compassion over selfishness
  • tell the truth, avoid abusive speech and gossip
  • help others, don’t harm living things, take care of our Earth
  • do useful work (farming, florist, creative, librarian, teacher, etc.) and avoid work that causes harm (police, prisons, politicians, taxation, meat industry, etc.)
  • encourage positive thoughts, discouraged destructive thoughts
  • be self aware – think and feel for yourself
  • calm the mind, open the heart
I became interested in Buddhism when I was in rehab for the first time at 18 years old. I find it productive and aware, and the true path to happiness and world peace.

SPIRITUALITY

Spirituality is a personal relationship with your divine creator. It is your own personal set of beliefs, from what you have gathered on your own journey. It is taking what you personally believe, and ditching the rest. It is a physical connection with our earth and space. It is a path meant for you and your steps alone.
  • I do not believe in a “man in the sky.” – I believe that “GOD” is an acronym for Good Orderly Direction. Be a better person than I was yesterday. Do good deeds for the sake of being kind, rather than an “eternal reward.” I believe in being a good person.
  • I believe that it is abuse to put the fear of “God” or any adult figure into children. I believe it is abuse to beat children into submission and obedience. I believe it is wrong to strip rights and holidays from children in the name of religion. I believe it is wrong to hate in the name of religion.
  • I do not believe in “heaven” or “hell.” I also do not believe in a “devil.” – I believe in reincarnation. When I die, I want to be cremated and blown into glass jewelry and given to each of my children.
  • I do not believe that the Bible can accurately be viewed as historical facts. I do not believe in the “Ark.” I do not believe in talking snakes. I do believe in facts over beliefs.🤷🏼‍♀️
  • I believe that material items are of no worth because they will not come with me in death. I believe in giving freely to others. I’ve had it all & sold it all, and none of it made a difference- I am still here living. Do not live in greed. Do not support fast fashion. Buy second hand and support local artists over corporations.
  • I believe that I am responsible for my own actions. My actions are not out of “sin” or any other entity. I believe that ignorance is not an excuse or defense. I do not believe in “sin.” I do not believe in “sinful” thoughts. I believe in action.
  • I believe that men and women have individual skill sets. I enjoy the idea of men and women gods. I agree that if you are saved in death, it’s too late.
  • I believe in receiving signs from loved ones who have left Earth-side.
  • I believe in living a Buddhist lifestyle.
  • I believe in living Jesus’ message, but through a Buddhist mindset.
  • I believe that the Earth is the greatest gift. Always take care of it and make it beautiful. Pick up litter. Plant gardens. Live sustainably. Always recycle. Leave it better than you found it.
  • I choose to live a plant-based lifestyle because I believe in not hurting living things.
  • I enjoy horoscopes, astrology, tarot, crystals, and the idea of communicating with spirits from the other-side.
  • I believe that no human is illegal. I believe that people are born gay and that is a beautiful thing to be. I believe in pro-choice. I believe in freedom of expression. I believe in fighting social injustice. I believe in change.
  • I believe Jesus was probably a pretty cool dude. It’s not his fault his dad was the way he was, unless they are in fact one, then 🤷🏼‍♀️.

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