Monday, June 29, 2009

Religion

Between Internet connection problems, a busy summer schedule, and my attempt to wrap my mind around everything I've been trying to learn, I haven't been able to post.

I've been trying to condense all I've been learning about the similarities and differences between Judaism, Christianity and Islam. As always, whenever I attempt to tackle making sense of things for myself, I find my faith challenged. This always makes me uncomfortable but I believe that in order for my faith to be real it must be able to be questioned. That is not to say that I have answers for my questions. There are so many that I don't. It does mean that I come to a place where I can accept that I don't know the answers and yet still believe what I do. I really wish that I was one of those Christians that isn't plagued by doubt. I'm not. I am often frustrated and confused. I don't know if this comes from the fact that I was raised in an environment that was, for lack of a better word, neutral about spiritual matters. God was something that just wasn't talked about. What I believed was left up to me.

Judaism, Christianity and Islam begin pretty much the same. Abraham is a key figure in all three religions. Interesting considering that Abraham is referred to as the father of faith in Christianity. For a quick comparison of the three go here.

I had hoped to be able to do one post on Judaism, Christianity and Islam and present it from a position of my understanding it all. I don't. I can't wrap it up and be satisfied with what I know at this point. So, today I am just going to write a brief synopsis of what each religion believes about who God is. All three are monotheistic in that they believe in only one God.

Judaism: God is spirit. To Orthodox Jews, God is personal, eternal and compassionate. To other Jews, God is impersonal and unknowable and defined in many ways.

Christianity: God is triune, meaning one God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It can be explained as multiplied wholeness (1x1x1=1). The title God refers to the first person, God the Father. He is a spiritual being. He is personal and involved with people. He is eternal, holy, and loving.

Islam: God (Allah) is one. He is the judge that is sometimes merciful. They do not believe in a personal relationship with Allah.

The problem with breaking things down this way is that it is overly simplistic. There are many variations of what people believe that fall under each of the religions.

Question:

1. Why do you believe/not believe in God and why?

Also, today in the news:

"Now, in an unexpected move, Obama has told White House aides that instead of joining a congregation in Washington, D.C., he will follow in George W. Bush's footsteps and make his primary place of worship Evergreen Chapel, the nondenominational church at Camp David. " continue reading here.

2. What are your thoughts on that?

11 comments:

Bob Cleveland said...

Because I accept the evidence.

BLBeamer said...

Now the press is interested in where Barack Obama goes to church? Why didn't they show such interest when he was attending Trinity Church and being mentored by an ugly, race-baiting anti-Semite?

Coffee Bean said...

I felt the same BLBeamer. I am glad they made that choice for their kids. I do find it interesting that it is the church President Bush attended.

As for why I believe in God... I see the world around me as evidence that it was created.

Two Dogs said...

1. I believe in God because I hate, hate, hate science and math.

2. Barry Obama does what will get him the most positive press at any given time. It certainly doesn't hurt that our national media has refused to perform the responsibilities that come with the rights of a free press.

Susanne said...

I believe in God because of nature and the human body. Consider the complexity of it!


I read that story about Obama choosing a church.

Good to see you back. The link to those comparison charts was great!

Looking forward to more . . .

Just Me said...

1. Because only God could create something as wonderful and complex as our universe. Susanne is right. The human body is an amazing creation.

(Two Dogs - I love your answer to #1!)

2. I really don't care where Obama goes to church. If he were a man who clearly exhibited divine influence or guidance in his decision making, I'd feel differently.

BLBeamer said...

I believe in God for several reasons:

1) because stuff exists.
2) because much of that stuff is incredibly complex.
3) most importantly, because He has revealed Himself to me.
4) and good thing too, because of both my utter inability and selfish unwillingness to discover Him on my own.

There's nothing unique about #3, the vehicle of His revelation was and is through both the spoken and written word.

Roland Hulme said...

1. I don't believe in God, but accept that this is as much a leap of faith as actually believing in a God. The truth is, we can't know one way or another. However, given the way life plays out as the result of a complex cocktail of statistical probability, and that if a God did exist, he'd be cruel, childish, petulant and abusive, I prefer to conclude that there isn't a God and we're all here alone (so we need to grow up and play nice with each other.)

2. Obama's decision seems to stem from convenience rather than anything else - the D.C. churches he attended got swamped when he went. Camp David is pretty private and that means he can concentrate more on the spiritual matters than personal security ones.

BLBeamer said...

Hi, Roland. I prefer the view that cruelty, childishness, petulance and abusiveness are human traits, not divine ones.

Therefore, there's no hope for us to get along without Divine intervention.

Roland Hulme said...

Ah, but BLBeamer - God made us in his own image (which also implies he's a bit gay.)

No, there are so many stories in the Bible of God doing questionable things, angry things, merciless things... Then there are natural disasters - tsunamis and the like - that can't be blithely attributed to 'man is evil.'

If God exists, he's been so cruel, neglectful and abusive to his followers, it's no wonder that they reject him (and Atheism IS the fastest growing demographic in all fifty states this year.)

BLBeamer said...

Roland - Hmmmmm. Evidently you are laboring under the apprehension that no bad stuff should ever happen to people, particularly those who are theists?

And since bad stuff does happen, there must be no God.

Did I capture your theme?