Today's topic is a little tougher than having tea with Gandalf though, but I think it's important. See, I'm aware that a lot of the blogs I read are written by quiet Christians, quiet Mormons, and more. Their faith is a large part of who they are, but they don't talk about it online, just like I don't. There are many, many good reasons for this, but just once I'd like to tell you what I believe, and hear what you believe, about this crazy existence we're all stuck together in. (For the purpose of this post, atheism totally counts by the way).
Some ground rules:
- This is NOT about converting people. The point is to learn about each other, not to prove a point.
- Likewise, this is NOT about who is right or wrong. Please don't put people on the defensive about their faith (and if I do so without realizing, please tell me).
- DON'T be a meanie head. Nasty comments will be summarily destroyed.
Here are some questions to help voice your thoughts. Feel free to use them or skip them as you want.
- What is your religion (just the label here)?
- What's one important way your personal belief differs from what people normally think of when they think of that label?
- How does your personal belief impact your daily life?
- Most religions agree that the world sucks: people are hurt, get sick, die. How does your personal belief address that?
- Why do you believe what you believe?
- Anything else you'd like to share about your beliefs?
And my answers:
- Christian (non-denominational Protestant, I guess).
- I'm not your stereotypical conservative (not conservative at all, actually). I don't froth over the mouth about issues like gay marriage, for example. I tend to believe that loving people is more important than making them follow "the rules."
- Little ways: I go to church. I teach my kids to love Jesus. I read the Bible and pray most days. Big ways: I believe God called my wife and I here to Thailand to do what we do.
- Short, short answer is that I think it's a combination of sin and free will. That is, God gave us life and the ability to do what we want with it, and a lot of us (all of us, really) have screwed it up. I have a slightly more in-depth answer here, if you're interested.
- For years, I was Christian just because that's what I knew. I grew up in the church, a Christian family, everything. When I left home, I realized I had to decide for myself if this was my religion or just my parents'. Over the years since, I feel like God has proven himself to me in a number of ways, to the point where I trust him.
- I really think the most important thing is to love God and love people, not beat people over the head with their sin (nor make laws so we can punish them for it, for that matter). Beyond that, there's still a lot I'm trying to work out for myself.
I know this is scary (it is for me), but I do really, really want to both share what I believe and know what you believe. We put on these internet personas that are really only part of who we are. Sometimes I want to know the whole person, you know?
Likewise, I understand if you need to protect your internet persona by NOT talking about this. That's okay too. Feel free to say as much or as little as you like.