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The Right to Your Own Belief
7/17/2008 - Rebecca Fishel Bright

OK.... apologies upfront to those of you of a sincere religious persuasion.

I have to vent a bit. I was raised an Episcopalian who wandered away when they changed the prayer book in the early '70's. As I've lived my life since then I've come to many beliefs that fit under the umbrella of spirituality. However, I don't need to go into that and you probably don't want to hear about it...

To the point: I am getting soooooo fed up with people trying to tell me what to believe and lecturing me on what to think that I can't see straight!

Why would anyone think that it's OK to try to change my mind about religion/belief in an attack mode? Discussion - that's OK. Write a book and I'll read it. Give a lecture and I might come. But, why is it OK for you to stop me on the street, in a coffee shop, at a reception, even on my own doorstep and speak to me as if I were a simpleton?!?

AND, I just heard some gentleman on TV state that morality is only possible through Christianity!

Hog wash.

The Golden Rule is older than humanity, let alone Jesus Christ. How presumptuous ...how arrogant ...how distressingly ignorant.

(I almost said, "how male.")

Sorry for the rant.

But is this getting worse, or is it just me?

11 Comments From Other Members
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7/18/2008 J Peak from Plymouth MI wrote:
Right now in my own family my father and brother are not talking to the rest of us (1 other brother, 3 sisters) because we are not the "right" kind of Christians/Catholics. My brother refuses to let us see his 4 kids, or even be around him and his wife, because we might contaminate their minds. We thought with time this would subside somewhat. It started 2 years ago with no end in sight. We can only shake our heads and keep reminding ourselves that this is NOT what God has in mind. I can appreciate your blog.
7/18/2008 Susan Terbay from Dayton OH wrote:
First of all Rebecca if your blog offends anyone then they have a problem - not you! I'm a Catholic - work at a Catholic College in Social Justice. I hope my actions speak of my beliefs. I'm sick and tired of people forcing their reiigion, beliefs, whatever you want to call it to promote 'their agenda'. I believe we are all given a path back to God, whatever means it takes for us to get there is our choice - period! Somewhere the "love God and love one another' seems to go by the wayside of fanatics. I don't know if it is getting worse but se just hear more about it.
7/18/2008 Dorothy Sander from Durham NC wrote:
What you describe Rebecca is a feeling that many, many people have. It has gotten worse as the conservative Christian movement has grown. I went to seminary in the 70's & it was one of the best experiences of my life to have the privilege of learning from the best theological minds in the country. My classmates were wonderful, sensible, committed people who went on to become ordained ministers in the church.That was not my path but I admired them. Now 30 plus years later I wake up to find their voices lost in the noise of unhappy, insecure shouting people who have given Christianity a bad name
7/18/2008 Dorothy Sander from Durham NC wrote:
We are angered by this but I believe we should find a constructive spiritual outlet for this anger. Finding sites like WE gives us a voice of spirituality that can be different. Our anger is a reflection of our uncertainty, otherwise we would say "you're crazy" and walk away. But they rile us up. I think we should ask ourselves why. Is it because they seem so certain and we wish we were too? Is it because we have no confirmation for our beliefs, no structure, no form, no visible sign of who we are spiritually, like they do? I wonder.
7/18/2008 Rebecca Fishel Bright from Crafton PA wrote:
You have hit on something there, Dorothy. Anger is always the cover emotion for a deeper one... like fear. When I look below anger, I always ultimately find fear of some kind. Am I afraid they are "right" and I am wrong? Am I afraid of my time being wasted? Probably not. I think I am afraid of what they represent: an unforgiving, compliant, non-compassionate world. And, I fear most that this is what the future holds for us and for our loved ones... especially the youngest of them. And, it makes me so mad!
7/18/2008 Mary Allan Mill from St. Petersburg FL wrote:
My feelings are that each person must find salvation in their own way. I studied Zen to achieve clarity of thought years ago, I was christened in the Church of England and baptised in the Catholic Church. I'm sure that when I get to heaven they will let me in backwards and upside down! Respect for each person's belief is paramount. One learns a great deal more by listening... Mary Allan Mill, St. Petersburg, FL
7/18/2008 J Peak from Plymouth MI wrote:
Also, it seems they not only represent an unforgiving, non-compasionate world, but also an uncompromising one. That old "it's either my way or the highway" mentality. How is it that we've learned to accept diversity among the races but refuse to accept diversity among thoughts? Yes, there are limits to that but rarely do I see anyone really have an open mind to a new idea. And heaven forbid (no pun intended) that they actually change their minds, instead holding stubbornly to their thoughts because a change in thought might mean loss of self.
7/18/2008 Rebecca Fishel Bright from Crafton PA wrote:
Well, J, I might cavil a bit with your belief that we've learned to accept diversity among races. We are working on it, to be sure. And, it's better than it was 30 years ago, to be sure.... but, acceptance? Not so sure. However, your point is well taken: we need to turn our focus to beginning that path in regard to individual belief.
7/19/2008 Ebie Brown from Saratoga Springs NY wrote:
I have the same issue, Rebecca--everyone knows where the churches are, and if we're looking for God, we can walk in the door. I hate it when people try to sell me religion. I have very deep spiritual beliefs that are all my own, culled from a lifetime of experiences and revelations; being accosted on the street isn't going to change that. And the best Christians I have known are the ones who make the least noise about how Christian they are.
7/19/2008 Rebecca Fishel Bright from Crafton PA wrote:
A good point, Ebie. Acts are what count, not words.
7/20/2008 Dorothy Sander from Durham NC wrote:
I've read, as I'm sure many of you have, that many fundamentalist Christians are clinically depressed. Their apparent, giddy, self-confidence about their beliefs is just a mask of deeper uncertainty and pain. They are confused and eager to grab hold of someone else's beliefs to give them stability and a means of coping. They are terrified in every respect. Terrified of life, of death, of being wrong. They cover it, mask it and bury it by focusing all of those feelings and uncertainty on those they perceive to be unbelievers.

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