Does it Matter?

Today’s question comes from Yvette.  She writes: “Craig — I see myself as being spiritual as far as believing that there is some greater ‘something’, I have hope and faith that this thing ultimately is good— there are times I believe I could have lost my hope — and many times, for a moment I have– I believe Jesus Christ to be a person (like myself!) to have believed wholeheartedly In Something 100% that miracles – unnaturals – have occurred— however I just cannot label myself Christian, or believe that the stories in the Bible are nothing but stories.  So what am I? And does it matter?”

Thanks for your open, honest question.  Let’s see if I can begin by offering my two cents, and then invite others into the conversation as well.

Let me begin with your very last question: “does it matter?”  I believe there is TREMENDOUS value in having some sense of clarity about aspects of your spiritual journey.  It matters a great deal!

Why?

Having a sense of clarity about your beliefs gives you a foundation that you can turn to when needed in life.  At a moment of crisis, for instance, knowing what truth you can affirm can give you tremendous comfort and hope.

Having a sense of clarity also makes it easier for you to seek out and nurture connections with others who share similar beliefs.  I have found life to be so much richer when I can connect with like-minded folks with whom I can share my joys and sorrows.

Those are just a couple reasons why I believe it matters!

In reading your question, I can see you do have a sense of clarity about some important things.  You have, for instance, a belief in something larger than yourself.  You have a belief that things can occur which are beyond our scope of understanding.  You also have a clear sense of what you belief in regards to Jesus and the Bible.

The challenge, then, is to engaging in some exploration to see with what tradition(s) your beliefs are most in line.  There are a few tools out there on the web that could help begin that process of discernment for you.  One such tool is a brief assessment found on the website belief.net: http://www.beliefnet.com/Entertainment/Quizzes/BeliefOMatic.aspx.  There are certainly others that you can find that would work as well in terms of finding a jumping off point.

I wish you the best in living into that sense of clarity as you build your community of support and find your foundation.

So what about you?  What words would you add to this conversation?

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About capete67

I'm a 47 year old single, gay man who lives in Los Angeles, CA. My passion and vocation involve spirituality. I live with my two Italian Greyhounds and my passion for Houston sports. I'm looking to start wonderful conversations that spark spiritual growth in all of us!
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4 Responses to Does it Matter?

  1. Beverly Marshall Saling says:

    While I agree with Craig that having clarity on what you believe is important, I don’t think that having a label for “what you are” is that big a deal. Religion is not a multiple-choice test where you have to pick one of a limited list of options. And even if you do choose a label you most closely identify with, you don’t have to define your own identity exactly the same way other people who chose that label do.

    Personally, I don’t believe in the literal existence of God as a supernatural entity who wants and does things. But I do believe that it is useful to have an anthropomorphic metaphor for the laws of nature that govern the universe—a non-literal, universe-spanning “being” that we can speak of as metaphorically “wanting” or “doing” things when a more literally accurate description of how and why those things actually happen is too much information or beyond our current knowledge. (For example, I’m more comfortable saying, “The universe wants us to treat each other with kindness and respect” than I am launching into a scientific dissertation on how socially supportive behaviors are evolutionarily adaptive.)

    Some people think that set of beliefs makes me an atheist, and some people think that makes me a pantheist (or a Unitarian Universalist). I figure it doesn’t matter that much which label I pick, because I’m always going to have to explain what I really believe anyhow.

    • Stevie says:

      Recently I read that your religion should be the one that helps you be a better person. For me, the beauty of the Mass connects me with God in such a way that, I believe, helps me to be better. It is a personal thing with me. I don’t defend my beliefs or argue about anyone else’s. I am at peace about it. Since I have found that peace, I don’t give one thought to what anyone thinks about my personal journey.
      Having said that, I do long for a sense of faith community, and I don’t feel that at church. I have moral convictions that don’t bode well with some of those in my church, and also…I worship with a congregation of 1000. I think it would be amazing to have a group of people besides my friends and family who are one in my belief system, and to work side by side with them to contribute. I don’t have that.
      To you,Yvette, I would say to just find what makes YOU peaceful. Whatever it is, it is between you and God,

  2. ybabb001 says:

    Here is my question to you Craig?? How can some people stay so strong in the face of divirsity??
    Within the ruling by SCOUTUS on same sex marriage, I have seen my children and myself Damned to Hell– and Jesus’ name being involved . First off, that is just not my take on Jesus- second when dealing with other religious views, how do you stay strong enough to still have faith in humanity ? I know my children are on the right path, but sometimes I feel they are attacked for their views.

    • Beverly Marshall Saling says:

      Yes, I would also like to know if you have any tips for engaging in loving dialogue with people who disagree strongly on this issue. I know people who believe being asked to acknowledge the legal validity of a same-sex marriage is being “forced to sin against God,” and I would like to discuss with them to see if there’s any kind of “render unto Caesar”–style compromise that would allow them maximum freedom to live out their beliefs without trampling anyone else’s. But it seems hard to start the conversation without assumptions that I mean them ill or want to mock them.

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