I Can’t Just Believe. I Have Questions.

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Questions, Questions, Questions

Trepidation would be the word that describes my thoughts about writing this post. No matter how honest and innocent I believe it to be in it’s child-like questioning of things, it’s what I have questions about that will no doubt make certain people feel uncomfortable and probably make them unjustly defensive about it. I’m not meaning to question anyone’s beliefs or belittle them with what I have to say. I just merely want to explain why I will never be able to answer your own questions about religion or anything else related to it with a simple Yes or No.

I have too many questions.

Questions I don’t believe anyone will ever know the answer to. At least not have an answer to that requires me believing without knowing; that requires me to accept things just because you say so.

I can’t do so.

For a long time growing up I would be asked the question, “Are you a Christian?”. Asked so in a way that I knew the only acceptable answer was yes. Asked in a way were you were almost coached, pressured into having no other answer but yes. So, out of pressure I would always say yes. I suppose that should have been something that brought me relief and joy – to claim to be a Christian, to know God. But for me it always brought guilt. It was an incredibly conflicting and contradicting thing for to me to say. To say that I was something that saw lying as a sin, and at the same time know that I was lying to myself by saying it. Lying because although it sounded good and I wished I had known God (if there is one), I had too many unanswered questions surrounding it all to say it with true conviction. The hypocrisy of it all bothered me.

I’ve never been someone who can kinda believe in something, or who will preach something I don’t 100% stand behind. I’m not saying I’m never wrong about what I believe in, say, or do, but I always own whatever it is until I find a new, better way. I won’t do something just because. I can’t. It goes against ever fiber in my soul, and I refuse to ignore that uneasiness within just to make others feel better. If anything, I think that is the ultimate truth – our voice within.

I think this is why I can’t just believe, because I will always have questions. But I think that’s what also makes our convictions and beliefs the strongest – to be tested. I see no value in blind faith. To me, it wastes our God-given (or natural born) brains to just believe. In fact, several historians would say that it was only our need to answer certain questions that brought about the birth of religion in the first place. Because we could not answer many things ourselves, we made up our own answers. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I would rather be someone who doesn’t have the answers, than to be someone who just believes in something because they need to have an answer. I’m ok with not knowing, but I’m not ok with saying I know something just because someone else has decided it is so.

I’m going to stop this train of thought here though because this could really go on and on, and I don’t want to philosophize.

So, here’s some brutally honest questions that I’ve always had about religion. Feel free to take a swing at answering them if you feel you must, but don’t feel bad if you can’t. It doesn’t matter to me if you have the answers. I’m ok with not having them. Maybe the greater question is are you?

9 Unanswered Questions About Religion

1. How old am I when I get to heaven?

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If I die when I’m 80, do I have to spend an eternity in my 80 year old body? I mean I dunno if there’s sex in heaven but I’d still like to have certain parts work. And what if I die with dementia and don’t know who I am? Can I choose to be my 40 year old self instead? What or who determines it? Or, am I just a spirit that doesn’t really have an age? What about everybody else that I know who’s been dead and gone before me? What age are they when I get to heaven? What if my dad is unrecognizable to me because he chose to be 40 year old Fred? And what about when someone dies before they were even able to become an adult and make grown up decisions? How do they get in to heaven having made no hard choices, and how can they be anything other than what they were at death if they were never able to mature in real life?

2. Do all dogs go to heaven?

I’m ok with no cats, but no dogs? That would be a shame. And what about the other bazillion living things on earth past and present? Are we shitty human beings the only ones that get in even though we fuck up the planet for everything else? Seems a bit prejudice. I think it’d be cool sharing heaven with a couple of dinosaurs so long as they were herbivores. Just for the record.

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3. How do people from different generations coexist in heaven?

So if people have been going to heaven for thousands of years how do they interact with one another coming from so many different times and cultures? Are they separated, or is some asshole from the middle ages going to be arguing with me about how the world is flat the whole time? I suppose they could have been watching and observing and learning all the while, but that seems a little unfair that they have thousands of years of perspective and I won’t. Which leads me to my next question.

4. If dead relatives are watching over me is there a filter associated with that?

Does heaven have a privacy policy? I mean we’ve all thought this thought right, if granny is watching over me can she see me naked and using those parts of me that I hope are still working years from now? If so, good luck with getting that out of your head granny. I mean I certainly don’t want to look down a hundred years from now and see my great grandson wacking it. Seems like if you’re smart enough to create a heaven then surely you can figure out a filter for it.

5. How big is heaven and where is it?

I know it’s not in the clouds, because I’ve been there and thankfully I didn’t see anyone. So where is it? If there are millions of people in it how do you fit them all in it, and at the same time still be able to find your peeps? Does heaven have a Bullet Train or a FindMyRelative app? I’m not really trying to ask a million people I don’t know if they’ve seen my dad. I’d be nice if there were invitations or something sent out ahead of time, and there was some sort of surprise party waiting for me when I got there.

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6. Who created God?

Ok, if you haven’t asked this question I do question your thinking ability. This is one of those questions that for me is like a black hole, because if you can answer it then you can expect almost the exact same question from me again and again and again. It’s one that’s scary endless, and I simply choose to think about more pertinent things instead. And now my brain hurts.

7. What happened to all the people who were around before religion? Did they just go to hell?

People have been around longer than religion, and especially longer than modern religions, so what happened to all those people who came before the likes of Christianity and Islam? Could they not be saved? That seems kind of unfair to me. What if they were better people than the murderers who magically repent at the last second now?

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8. What makes one religion better than another?

If someone is born into a culture and a family that has a certain belief system and then adapts it themselves how can they then discriminate against someone who has done the exact same thing somewhere else? I see no difference in people who are of any religion. The amount of people who actually choose their own religion and aren’t a product of the environment they grew up in are very, very small. The people who are prejudice against other religions outside of their own are even smaller.

9. Why can’t we just commune and be nice to each other without the wrath of God coming into it?

Why can’t we simply give ourselves more excuses to get together and focus on the greater good rather than feel guilted into doing it one or two days a week? Why do we constantly need to re-read a centuries old (often misinterpreted/translated) book to remind ourselves that doing the right thing and following the Golden Rule is important? Why are we only selfless for one hour a week? Why do we give money and spend time in churches, and then find excuses to not do community service, never take the time to get to know our neighbors, and bitch about government assistance programs to the impoverished? Why can’t people just do the right thing? Is it really the devil, or just weakness/ignorance?


Unanswered Questions

So yeah, that’s how my brain works.

I actually never did find solace in any answer to that beginning question about my religious affiliation. That is, until I came across the definition for the word agnostic in my early 20’s. For me, it was something that finally enabled me to be like, “That’s me!”. To own it. It felt like a huge relief to be able to give a complete answer to that question. Not really for others, though, but for myself. To know there was an explanation for my view on things, instead of just feeling the need to agree with others.

I was and am someone who honestly does not know the answers to all those questions and many others, but I don’t need to pretend to know for the sake of ‘knowing’. And discovering that word helped me realize I was not alone in my questioning of it all.

I mean I hope there is a God and a heaven and all the other lovely things, but I’m pretty positive I’ll never be able to say it for a fact is unless I’m right next to them one day. My brain just doesn’t work that way, and I see no need to apologize for how I am. After all, that’s the way God made me right?

And for the record, I actually enjoy going to certain churches and hearing and sharing the positive messages I receive there. But it’s not because I feel like I have to to get into heaven or please God to do so. I sleep pretty good at night just knowing that I’m a good person solely because I can be. If that keeps me from getting into some exclusive club after death so be it, but at least I’ve lived my truth.

Now if anyone who knows me feels compelled to like me less having known all this that’s fine too. Just be aware that I’ve been this way the whole time and still liked you.

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