Sunday, May 24, 2009

It's a Process

When I was 24, after six years of soul searching I came to the conclusion that God was a figment of mans imagination. When I say God I mean the god that watches over us and cares what we do and judges us. I went through a process of breaking every taboo I could think of. The first thing I did was turn on a light on Shabbat. Next I ate bread on Passover. I tried pork (didn't like it at all), and shellfish (ewwwwwwww). The big test was eating on Yom Kippur. I had been fasting on Yom Kippur for 14 years already and half expected to be struck down by lightning when I did it. I had to force each mouthful down. By the third year I wasn't even thinking about it.

For years I shrugged off every ritual and symbol and Judaism.

When I moved back to the US something inside me changed (see my post "Does it Matter?). I started looking for other Jews and decided to take a course in Jewish Mysticism to fulfill my humanities requirement for my environmental sciences degree. I had never studied Jewish Mysticism growing up. Tanach, Mishna, some Talmud and Jewish Philosophy were the mainstream areas of study. This was also the first time I studied Judaism in a secular setting. It was disconcerting in some ways.

The course opened up a new interest in Judaism. I realized that I could study Judaism without having to "believe". I also realized that I wanted to do it. Judaism is so complex and it's a huge part of who and what I am. My family for the past few hundred years were all Hassidic Rabbis. Reverence for study and a thirst for knowledge is ingrained in my genes.

This is part of what made me who I am today and learning it from that point of view is fascinating. Every now and then I'll come across something that makes me ponder whether there is a God (but like I said not the judgmental overbearing one) and what part this "God" plays in the Universe. But every time I think I found something I can believe in I find holes in the logic. Oddly enough it's my Jewish upbringing that makes me crave logic in everything.

I'm still going through the process and I'm still Agnostic.

34 comments:

  1. I have never understood the torment associated with religous beliefs. I have no issues with "god" and have no real issues as to weather or not he/it exists or not. I am spiritual and sense the energy of nature and the unexplained. My real issue is the brain washing of religion. The need for members and money. If religion were in true form with god they why the need for wealth and extravigance while so many starve at their doors? I am not attempting to create a debate since most believe what we were taught while a few ventur and question the things taught to them as children. So much hatred associated with religion..I just buy into the good in it....

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love when religion uses its power and weath to help others...that is a good thing. It doesn't mean I need to join and believe it is the one true church of god...god is in all of us, as is satin. Internal good and evil have to be balanced...just like nature. Balance is the key.

    ReplyDelete
  3. italco, what religion did you grow up with?

    ReplyDelete
  4. "If religion were in true form with god they why the need for wealth and extravigance while so many starve at their doors?"

    That's what I loved about our synagogue in Israel when I was growing up. We prayed in a school gymnasium that was converted into a synagogue by some of the members every weekend. At some point the school said we had to leave but gave us land to put a building on with the condition that they could use it for prayers during the week. It was built out of donations from the congregation. But it was never the same.

    The most touching prayer session I was ever at was last Rosh Hashana. Congregation Albert holds their second day of prayers in the woods of the East Mountains. I loved it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I was bon Catholic, attended a baptist church for several years, took a look into the LDS teachings and found them all wanting with hypocrite members and when Iask about the hypocracy the answer was always. Humans are weak and what they do is between them and god. We all answer for ou own sins....I just shake my head and walk away. What a cop out answer. Especially the mormon faith where all the men hold the preisthood and put their hands on their head to bless other members. I was expected to do this as well and there was no way I would ever be able to live up to being "Preist Like". I also don't like being a hypocrite and use being human as an excuse to go against what I am suppose to believe...I like my spiritual state of mind. Now, my relationship with god is truely between him/it and me.

    ReplyDelete
  6. No religious influence...just me and my spititual state of mind. I am at peace.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm glad you were spared the torturous soul searching.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Geonite- I was brought up Catholic and around 14(I know, I've always had inquistive mind) I told my parents that I could not abide by a lot of the teachings...things personally for me....were not adding up. I was allowed to leave once I made my confirmation (parents rule)
    My biggest complaint was we were taught to "fear" God and the guilt trip business just didn't fit with the loving Creator, I guess I have always believed in and still do today.
    I did a lot studying of the different faiths and still do....I've had friends from all different belief systems....even went to a few buddhist meeting with a dear friend.
    So for me, I have settled down in my own little spiritual path, free to study the different books and praise God without organized religions dictating how I should feel.
    I will say, from working in the medical world for over 25 years, it would be incredibly hard for me, personally, to not have faith in our "Creator" as I have witnessed so many miracles over time.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks for the input annonomus.

    ReplyDelete
  10. How would you feel if there was irrefutable proof that god does not exist?

    ReplyDelete
  11. How would I feel? Probably like I did when I found out there was no Santa Claus.......sounds silly but it would be a profound sense of loss.....but this(unlike Santa) time, I've spent many more years with my faith and a belief system that shapes the way I feel about pretty much everything that affects our lives.
    Geo...excellent question- and just by thinking of that possibility and sometimes I suppose we all wonder, (I'm not the type that has consistenly held on to 1 belief system, it's ever evolving) makes me actually a bit sad. Isn't that silly?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Geo, you sound very much like Einstein in your opinion of God. He asked "How could an all-powerful God allow the suffering that exists on earth?"

    ReplyDelete
  13. No, I don't think it's silly at all. I appreciate the honesty.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wow Lette, Einstein...Thanks for the compliment.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I would be ok if there was proof of no existance of "God" as we know it. I will not go to the extreme of saying we have no spiritual soul because all living and non-living things are created through energy. Doesn't mean it is necessary to worship the energy but there is nothing wrong with recognizing it and showing appreciation for life. If people feel better for believing in something larger than that then by all means...get on your knees and worship...I hope it find you balance between good and evil.

    ReplyDelete
  16. But how do you define good an evil? If you look at various cultures throughout the ages good and evil are subjective.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I read an article about Einstein that concluded "These days, those who fail to understand the purpose of evil not only reject the concept of a personal God, but also reject the concept of God's existence altogether. If you are an agnostic or atheist, my goal for you would be to recognize what Albert Einstein understood about the universe - that its amazing design demands the existence of a creator God. Then, go beyond Einstein's faulty understanding of the purpose of the universe and consider the Christian explanation for the purpose of human life and why evil must exist in this world."

    ReplyDelete
  18. Evil is as simple as Negative and Good is as simple as Positive. Neither can exist without the other. Ying/Yang...Balance is the eye of the storm.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Too much of either and risk being an extremeist that would like to wipe out the existance of the other.

    ReplyDelete
  20. to go just a step further and I do like italco's explantion- but I believe that good comes from within each of us, the intent and hopefully the end result of any action that enhances yourself, or another being, in the positve way. Evil- that is the most selfish act one can do to inflict any type of pain, hurt & etc...(very negative results) -knowingly, and that is key for me. If you knowingly set out to hurt or destroy someone.....pure evil in it's basic form.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I think you missed my point. Have any of you ever read Shogun? We were raised with a belief system that views certain behaviors as good and others as evil. Other cultures like Japan and China have a different value system. How can you be sure which system is correct? In fact I don't think either is "correct". That's what I mean when I say that good and evil are subjective.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Yes, I agree with you on that, and that is one of the reasons I have difficult time with organized religions to begin with....they are subjective and oh Geo, I have saved on my DVR a 2 hour show, will have to somehow get you the link...but it spells out, how just writing of the Christian bible was no where near clear cut. I forget how many different versions there were from the start. And again.....these books were written by man, inspired by God. Halfway through the show, it brings up the topic of how some very important books- were purposely left out.
    And that is just Christianity.
    So with that said, and no I did not read Shogun, but I do believe I understand what you are getting at. It's a cultural based thought process and where you begin in life basically, is what is going to be inherent somewhat, in your thought processses of right and wrong/good and evil.
    And I'm I a 100% sure that what I believe is correct. No- yes I do have a deep faith.......but would I bet my home on being the "correct" one- NOPE!
    I can only follow what I believe to be good in my heart, and believe me, so many times in my life, I've faltered, like most people.
    But keeping it at its simplest and purest of thought processes, I tried everyday to follow the "golden rule" and forgive myself when I fall short on that one. And pray that my actions will not inflict any form of negativty on anyone else.
    Sorry, I'm sure I'm getting way off topic.

    ReplyDelete
  23. That was totally on topic. I appreciate the fact that you can see beyond the narrow world of what you were brought up to believe.

    Life is not black and white. To coin someone I greatly admire- everything is relative.

    I'd LOVE to watch that video.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I know it was on the History Channel just a few weeks ago, I'm looking @ my list of saved shows....It was very enlightening. I'm going to see if we can copy it to DVD- It's called "Banned from the Bible II" and actually discusses the 3 main religions as well, and where they agree and where they don't. Very well done show. That's why I saved this one, as I would like to watch it again. I will let you know if we are successful in recording and will send it out to you!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thanks. I wonder if I can find it on the internet. I don't have a TV. I occasionally watch movies on my PC.

    I actually wrote a blog called "The Term Judeo-Christian is an Oxymoron" on another blog site. I think I'll reload it here.

    It pissed off a lot of people.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Geonite if you go to
    http://www.hulu.com/
    You can find any tv show including the history channel. They got 200 pages of episodes on there for the history channel also...

    also that website I sent you for movies, I believe that has TV sections as well...

    ReplyDelete
  27. ANAV is a wealth of information when it comes to movies and TV :-)

    ReplyDelete
  28. That link doesn't have the history channel but I found it on YouTube

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-i57BB0IGWE

    ReplyDelete
  29. OH ok...jaja
    OH and I saw that new Night at the museum movie on that site Geonite!!!
    It's actually really entertaining! Good fun...

    ReplyDelete
  30. I was raised in a strict Catholic environment.. Not so much in my home...but the school system, and basically the whole country of Spain was Catholic....
    Also all masses were in Latin,,,and there is a Saint Day for everything.....
    The Catholic religion is so indoctrinated into society. That your saint day( the saint you are named afer) in more important than your birthday,,,
    I feel I have done my time in the church.
    I had an issue with original sin since I was a very young child......I never understood how a killer that repents is forgiven.....while a helpless newborn goes to hell if not baptized.

    At this point I could care less if there is a God....If he judges me harshly for not believing, in that case I want nothing to do with his heaven.....I know I am a good, fair person....
    I believe in karma and reincarnation...that all we experience in this life is to teach us something for our souls to evolve to higher level.....

    ReplyDelete
  31. Ok I watched the show.

    My initial inclination is to say that those texts were not included because they are so preposterous no one in their right mind would believe them.

    My second inclination is to say that they are not authentic.

    My third inclination is to say that they remained esoteric texts because they are dangerous to the well being of individuals who read them without the proper training.

    Of course, the second one is probably the most accurate since none of the texts are authentic.

    I just MIGHT be able to swallow "god" I could never swallow the story of Jesus. He's too much like Mithra.

    ReplyDelete

Miri 1994-2009

Miri 1994-2009
I Miss You