How I Found Jesus by Losing Him, part 3

So I grew up in multiple religions, all Christian. I went to Catholic school. I became a nurse.

When my patient breathed her last, and became a body, I realized that’s all we are. I lost my faith.

But did I?

I no longer believe in a higher deity, controlling every result and every movement, but does that mean I don’t believe?

There is strong historical evidence to show that Jesus Christ existed, and he set a very good example of how to live a life. The saints, real or not, provide amazing examples of humanity.

I have a strong ethical and moral backbone. I believe in being a good person because it’s the right thing to do, not because I hope to get into heaven or avoid hell. I still enjoy the occasional mass in honor of my grandmother.

I believe that religion exists as a method to control the poor and uneducated. It is a system that has worked to control the masses for centuries. Religion tells you that if you work hard, you’ll get a reward in the afterlife. It’s the base for every trickle down scheme the world has seen. Just do this and you’ll get this. The belief in a deity that will step in and save you was created to control you, not to help you.

You know who can save people? People. Be a decent person. If you see racism happening, speak up. If you see sexism happening, speak up. If you see someone being bullied, say something. Volunteer. If you see a parent about to lose it on their child, lend them a hand. People can do so much for each other if we start believing in each other and stop believing someone’s going to come along and magically make it all better if we follow a set of rules.

Live each day. Make friends. Do what makes you happiest. If your religion makes you happy, be religious, but don’t ram it down someone else’s throat. Don’t assume atheists have no moral code. Doing good for the simple purpose of doing good is…. fucking awesome. So give your atheist some respect. We have the right to be here, too.

Edited to add: I still pray with my patients. If a person asks to pray with you, they are in their time of need, and it doesn’t take any effort to hold their hand and share your spirit with them. Their prayers are not about your choice or lack of religion, their prayers are because they are ill, and they need support. It’s not the time for religious debate.

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About Grimalkin, RN

Trying really hard to be a decent person. Registered Nurse. Intersectional Feminism. Poet. Cat. Political. Original recipes. Original Stories. Occasionally Questionable Judgement. Creator of #cookingwithjoanne and #stopcock. Soulless Unwashed Carrot. This blog is dedicated to my grandmother, my beloved cat Grimalkin, and my patients.

Posted on August 1, 2013, in Religion and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I love the bluntness and honesty of your posts, and I hope that you accept the same in your comments.

    The first two- no, check that, the first post just made me feel sad for the childhood you had. The end of the second post made me uncomfortable and sad to read. I’m going through my own spiritual dilemma at the moment, but mine involves trading one set of beliefs for another, not the loss of one without a replacement. (I posted about only a fraction of it in my post entitled Fear and Faith)

    But this one… I liked it a lot. I especially like the fact that you don’t belittle or reject someone else’s personal beliefs just because it isn’t in line with any you may or may not have. I’ve seen that a lot with people of all religions and Atheists alike.

    While I do believe in ‘God’, I’m not sure how much I believe that he is of the form of ‘God’ I was raised to believe. I’m beginning to believe that It/He is much more vast than I was ever taught to believe, and more complicated, and more… I don’t know.

    But I thank you for writing this, because it has helped me a little bit, to put one or two pieces together in my heart about my beliefs that I hadn’t been able to beforehand.

    It’s also really similar to my ‘Perfect World’ post I wrote yesterday 🙂

    Thanks again for sharing! Have a great day!

    • I will always accept comments that are polite and well written.

      My childhood.. I’ve had a lot of therapy for my childhood. While there were a lot of wrong things, there were a lot of good things, and they all work together to make me who I am now.

      I did not intend for my post to make you sad or uncomfortable, but I do hope it made you think.

      No one should ever be belittled for a belief system. It’s part of what makes a person who they are, and that should be respected.

      Thank you for your comment!

  2. I ran across your blog from a nurse who posted your ‘Effects’ post on her FB wall and kept reading more of them (I like your writing style and insight). This one resonated with me. Your words helped me see what you see and feel what you feel.

    I’m surprised that more people haven’t commented on these posts. I know so many people who would want to ask you more questions and explain something extremely vital that is missing from what you were taught with words and in actions (or, at least, what you remember and has stuck with you). I’m almost ‘looking around’ wondering, “What am I missing? Why hasn’t anyone mentioned this in a comment?”

    What if God isn’t unforgiving, vengeful or someone who grants (or doesn’t grant) wishes? What if you’ve met religion but not Jesus? Is it possible that you’ve heard of Jesus so much but have not actually been introduced to the real man? That may be confusing.

    Do you remember who Jesus was talking to in Matthew 23? It was to the Scribes and Pharisees. These were the strong religious of the day. Jesus had some very strong words for them. He was very upset with them for putting restrictions on people that were keeping them from having a true relationship with Him. This has helped me to see that there is a difference between religion and having a true relationship with Jesus. I can also see why Jesus got so mad at them. He wants to have a relationship with us and by following a list of rules, we aren’t really doing that (can you imagine having a relationship with anyone that way?!).

    As I have read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, I see Jesus getting angry at the religious leaders but giving grace, compassion and healing to sinners. And, really, everyone in these situations are sinners (we all are) but the religious couldn’t or wouldn’t see their sin. By the way, BibleGateway dot com is a quick way to verify what I’m saying.

    You said something I found interesting:

    “When my patient breathed her last, and became a body, I realized that’s all we are. I lost my faith.

    But did I?

    I no longer believe in a higher deity, controlling every result and every movement, but does that mean I don’t believe?

    There is strong historical evidence to show that Jesus Christ existed, and he set a very good example of how to live a life.”

    You said, “breathed her last, and became a body,” and it makes me question… If she became just a body after her death, what was she before her death when you first met her and she was full of life? I think we are more than just a body and I see this as an example for that, not a reason for being just a body. There was a change that you saw.

    Then, what if God doesn’t control every result and movement? I grappled a lot with the idea of freewill but some things I’ve realized is that if we and others didn’t have freewill, how would we know what we chose to do was our choice? What if we were all like robots that had to love God? Would we really be loving Him and each other?

    We live in a fallen world where unfair things happen. Bad things happen to good people. There is injustice and pain. But, God loves us and He is good. He is stronger than evil and even when we don’t see it now, He will win the war on evil (read Revelation)! Jesus said, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).

    After all that, here it is in a nutshell. God love us. He loves relationship. He created a world and filled it with good things including man. He gave man (and woman) the opportunity to trust Him or not and we fell into sin and from then on out, we each were born as sinners. We can’t not sin. But, there is good news! See, our God knew ahead of time that this would happen and so He provided a solution because He loves us SO stinkin’ much! And, wants to enjoy a relationship with us!

    So, He gave us a choice (freewill), knew we’d screw up and provided a solution.

    Did you know that Jesus was there at the Creation of the world? I just learned this several years back and was absolutely floored! (All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. John 1:3) Since then I have seen more Scripture references to this. It’s pretty amazing.

    Jesus is that solution. See, the Old Testament shows us our need for a Savior and gives us pictures of what that would look like (sacrifice of a lamb to pay for the sins of the people but it had to be done regularly and was preformed by sinful people).

    God sent His perfect, sinless Lamb to pay the price for sin once and for all. Because He is fully man, He can understand us in our weaknesses. Because He is fully God, He is completely sinless, even though tempted, and was able to pay for our sins and not His own. His death paid the price. Now there is nothing left to do but believe in Him (Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. Acts 16:30-32).

    Phewww, that was long! The short comment would just be, you’re right. Religion doesn’t save us. I think you’re on the right path even as you look at science and study the world around you. The solution is Jesus’ death and resurrection as payment for sins so that we can have a relationship with Him. A loving relationship that includes our Heavenly Father as a loving, protective, caring dad who watches over His children and wants the best for them. 🙂

    God really is good and He loves you very much!

    -Sarah

    • Thank you for your complement on my writing style I really appreciate it. Since embracing my athiesm, I have actually found a spiritual freedom that I did not have before, and I do not believe I will be returning to any religion, although I plan to continue practicing Christian ethics in my day to day life.

  3. It was wonderful to read of your evolution to athiesm. I too was raised a Christian, and over the last 6 years have become agnostic. I have not “come out” to most of my family, or former church friends who live in another state.

    It was also refreshing to hear that you will continue practicing Christian ethics in your everyday life. I have struggled with that since my decision to quit beliving in God. I still hold onto my Christian ethics because they are part of who I am.

    I also came to my decision because of death. Two of my dear Aunts died within a week of each other. I was continually told by my Pastor’s wife at the time, that if I had enough faith that they would be healed. I suppose I did not have enough, because they died. It was then that I started down the path of disbelief.

    • I’d like to throw in a few of my own thoughts here. I hope no one will regard it as preaching, since I realize that what works for me might not work for someone else.

      First, I don’t think that getting into Heaven is the primary idea of Christianity, at least not the way I’ve experienced it in my life. I think people become Christians because they want to try to be like Jesus. After all, if that isn’t what they want, why would they want to spend eternity WITH Jesus?

      Second, the whole idea of a Supreme Being requires one to accept the concept of infinity, and our small, limited human minds aren’t capable of grasping anything that broad. As a result, we don’t (and can’t) understand why things happen the way they do. My cat sees me sitting here typing away on this laptop keyboard, but she’s not capable of understanding why I’m doing it, and certainly couldn’t possible conceive that, because I’m doing it, someone across the country is getting some information about me. Or why I’d want that to happen. She really can’t grasp much of anything about it, except that the laptop is comfortably warm, and that my fingers are moving in such a way that it invites her to reach out and bat at them.

      Third, if one accepts the idea of a Supreme Being as a father (or mother!), it makes sense that that father (or mother) isn’t always going to give us what we ask for, even if we want it really, really badly. I believe that telling someone “if you don’t get it, it’s because you didn’t have enough faith” is a terrible distortion of what Christianity is about. Nowhere in the Bible (much less the four Gospels) does it say that we’ll get anything we want if we just pray hard enough. In fact, early Christians gave up a lot, including (in many cases) a long life and an easy death; yet I don’t think we can accuse them of not praying hard enough.

      And, finally, I often compare religion to fire (an analogy that’s all too appropriate here, with Grimalkin’s account of being badly burned as a child). Properly used, fire can be one of man’s greatest comforts; when misused, it can be enormously destructive. Unfortunately, religion has been used to control; to coerce; to manipulate; to shame; to beat down, and often does so with complete impunity. And that itself is a terrible shame.

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