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A couple more religion answers

07 Jul
A couple more religion answers

Love this one!

(haha I’m loving this!!)

**Disclaimer** this is my experiences, and is meant as NO offense to anyone.  I’m sorry if anything came out harsh.

All in all, I think it comes down to experience, no? For example, right this second.  D is upstairs sleeping, so I’ve got my earbuds in, and I’m listening to this rockin’ music station on a website (http://last.fm) And a pagan song comes on by a group called Spiral Dance, the song is called Burning Times.  (Youtube it J There are several awesome versions of it.) And before they even got into the song itself, the prelude moved me so that my eyes misted up.  I’ve never had an experience like that with any other religion.

The way I see it, so long as your religion moves you like that?  All the more power to you!!

Ok. First question: I do not believe that any being is inherently good or evil.
I understand how no being is good or evil; do you believe, then, in good and evil in general?

It’s funny that you asked that.  D and I just had a very nice discussion about this just last night in the hot tub J  I do indeed that there are behaviors so bad as to be called evil, and vice versa with good.  I however believe that perhaps 95% if not a tad more of behavior is in the oft overlooked “grey area.”

Second question: So, a lot of Christians say that they have a purpose to life through their religion. What is your purpose? Purpose wow…good question.  Hmm.  Gonna come back to this one…

Second try at this one…you’re really making me think.   I’m loving it!!

My purpose would to be the best pagan I can be, within the limits of who I am.  For me, and through my experiences  with pagans and paganism, a big thing is to accept everybody, for who they are.  To judge no one.  (Really, who are we to judge?)  This also includes ourselves.  We are the way we are for a reason, ya know?

I also said to be the best pagan I can be.  This would mean to honor my Deities, to honor Mother Earth and treat Her good.  Do my best to celebrate the Sabbats and Esbats (our holy days; esbats being full moons) to be environmentally aware and friendly; don’t’ litter, recycle, ask Mother Earth before I did or plant or anything like that.  To use my talents for the good and to harm no one, including myself.

Third question: You have mentioned a few times that you believe in reincarnation. Have you had a past life? I believe that I have had a few past lives.  Contrary to what a lot of attention seekers claim, I do not believe I am ancient or Atlantean or any crazy thing like that.  I believe that my soul has had only a few reincarnations, at least one other of those was me as a female.  I once had a past life tarot reading, and I believe that that female life I mentioned involved me living in a cottage, in a time where you washed your clothes by rubbing them on rocks.  I know that in this life I was a good person, however I believe that in a least one other life I was not.  I believe that I also died in one of my past lives by falling a great distance.

Fourth question: I might be getting off topic a little bit here, but as a Christian, I obviously believe in Creationism. Do you believe that your Deity created life and the universe? Yep, though I prefer the term Intelligent Design. Though I do believe that as a species we have evolved a bit, I do not believe that we used to be monkeys or apes or orangutans or anything like that. I however also believe that where we are in life right now, as humans, is not at all what Deity intended.  At all.

Fifth question: This isn’t really a question, but I would really like to hear more about your experience with Christianity, whether it just be Christians you know, or your personal situation with the Lutheran church. This is especially important to me because I am intensely aware of how others view and stereotype Christians, as I’m sure people also do to you

(First let me say that it’s always the extreme things that will make the lasting impression.  I know a handful of Christians who are a lot more moderate if not liberal in their ways who frequently leave positive impressions with me.  2 of them are accepting as they were my friends before I became pagan.  The other one is married to a Pagan.)

LOL Yea, there’s a *lot* of stereotypes for Pagans.  Probably not more per se, than any other, but… a very wide variety 😉 Hmm.  My experiences with Christianity.  Well, when my mom was making me go to church when I was little/younger, I remember a great deal of the sermons were based around offerings and tithing.  (If I remember correctly, at the time the already large church was wanting to expand, so they needed money.) At least 1 sermon a month was about tithing.  I found it difficult to swallow that money should have such a high priority that people were looked down upon if they gave a smaller amount, no matter their life situation.  My …disdain for this (for lack of a better word) has really survived strongly for me.  In paganism, it’s strictly forbidden to pay your Priest(ess), or teacher, or helper.  It’s strictly forbidden to pay for anything religious, unless it’s materials (ex – if you need to photocopy something, candles, etc.)

Also, I remember being very confused.  From what I believe, God knew(knows) what’s going to happen, before it happens.  Everything is pre-determined.  Who we’re going to marry, our children, etc.  It’s all already written.  If that’s the case, how on earth do we have free will then? How can I make a true choice, if God has already decided for me what I’m going to do.  When I was young I remember struggling with this, and praying for help, but I don’t remember getting any.  Nothing to tell me what to do, ya know?

A specific moment in time I remember was long before this whole tithing episode.  (Eegads the money in the offering plates…anyway…) I remember that we had learned about Greek mythology in school.  And of course it was taught as myth, but to me it made so much more sense, ya know? But knowing that I was Lutheran (or supposed to be) I again started praying in earnest.   Every night before bed, throughout the day, things like that.  Well, after a while I became disenchanted so I tried reading the Bible, and honestly didn’t get past probably page 10 of Genesis.  I think part of it is because I could read so many different versions of the Bible, and it was different.  Perhaps not majorly, but different enough that the interpretations were nothing alike.  Once I started learning more about the Bible itself (and this went through college) it made it harder and harder for me to believe.  (Granted by age 16 I’d already found paganism)  I found it difficult to even conceive of believing in a book that had been translated so many times from one language to the next.  Even in our church there were several different versions of the Bible.  If my own church couldn’t decide on one…well then.

So, what really cemented me in my Paganism were my experiences in a Southern Baptist church.  The only reason I’d actually started going was to watch the children in the nursery.  They paid me $20 per Sunday and sometimes that $20 can be all the difference, ya know?  (And again, yes Southern Baptist is a little…extreme sometimes, a lot less than some others though LOL) When I saw the split in duties based solely on gender,  how they would sit and watch videos of other religions and disparage them, saying how they (the Christians) needed to go and rescue them (the other religious practitioners) I was disgusted.  And saddened.

I have had so many experiences with Christianity where people are held down (figuratively) because they are female.  How they’re not allowed to make decisions, speak their minds or even drive.  I expressed joy over the first female bishop and was scoffed at and told it was disgusting.  (If only they had known I was ordained! LOL)

Something else that really … sticks with me is how it’s overlooked that Jesus of Nazareth is/was Jewish.  Heck, the Last Supper was a Passover meal.  Christianity is based around the teachings of someone who isn’t Christian, yet there is such intolerance against anybody who isn’t Christian.

I was once told that I should not take religious studies classes in college because it could “influence” me positively towards another religion.  I really could go on and on listing various experiences but I suppose my experiences for the most part are of intolerance towards others.  There is so much intolerance even within Christianity itself!  So many denominations show such lack of warmth with even other denominations.

In the end, suffice it to say that my experiences with Christianity and Christians is overflowing with intolerance and a desire for money. I recognize this is limited to my experiences and know that this represents only those with whom my experiences were with.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on July 7, 2010 in about the jessie beth

 

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3 responses to “A couple more religion answers

  1. Jessica

    July 7, 2010 at 4:44 PM

    Don’t take this the wrong way, because it’s not a judgement, but how come you do not believe in the evolution of humans and the link to our ancestors? (It’s not *monkeys*, it’s a long line of different species who share a common ancestor of monkeys. They’re nothing like monkeys that exist today. Our DNA is 97.5% identical to mice, but that doesn’t men we’re going to sprout tails and crave cheese 😉 ) Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t you study a lot of anthropology in college? It just surprises me, since understanding the origins and biological development of humans is such a huge part of anthropology, and would be taught in even an intro class, which I think you went far beyond. I’m just wondering how you explain the biological evidence, like bones, campsites and communities they found, all full of anthropological evidence of their existence? Stuff like the famous example of Lucy, or teethless skulls of the Neanderthal species, which showed that they took care of their elderly and sick, much beyond what an animal would do. Do you believe like many who believe in intelligent design, that the world is only 6000 years old? Isn’t denying evolution putting humans above other living creatures, all part of the same Mother Earth? If you believe that it is because your Deity created the Earth, and that the Big Bang didn’t happen, what is it about your beliefs that makes it so that She couldn’t have created us to evolve? I just don’t understand how your beliefs erase scientific evidence that you can see with your own eyes. Can’t it be both? Sorry that was full of questions.

     
    • Jessie Beth

      July 9, 2010 at 11:42 PM

      LOL I so totally promise that I’m gonna answer this this weekend! We have been so busy with errands and all that.

      🙂 And I totally do believe in a balance of both. Just didn’t have it in me to go into detail in this 🙂 So, I will. This weekend.

       
  2. Jessie Beth

    July 10, 2010 at 10:18 PM

    So, as for my beliefs for evolution and all that, the simple answer is that I’m honestly not quite sure yet. I couldn’t say that I believe in this aspect and that aspect, and do not in this or that aspect, ya know? My physical anthropology education was quite lacking actually, we barely touched on it in intro, and our one and only physical anthropology class sucked. We spent more time analyzing skulls than doing anything else. So, I’ll do my best 🙂

    I do believe that we are linked to early humans back to the Cro-Magnon. I do also believe the world really is billions of years old. What I believe before Cro-Magnon though? I don’t really know. I believe we were put here in a humanoid form and have evolved into what we now are from that, but I can’t articulate exactly what that humanoid form is.

    Sorry if I had confused you but after re-reading what I wrote, I can totally see why I did. 😛

     

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