God and Gods: A Pagan-Christian Dialogue
Article ID: 14410
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: May 22nd. 2011
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Sheltered by a group of extremely understanding and noninvasive friends and acquaintances, tonight was the first time in my life that I had to defend my beliefs from those of someone else. The best friend who I have found in college, the only person who truly loves me up in this new place that I find myself, she preached God to me. Three hours I had to sit in my uncomfortable chair in my new room and explain to her that I will never be a Christian. That I can’t believe what she believes no matter how well she can prove that God exists. No matter how much she loves me and doesn’t want me to be sent to hell for my heathen ways.
It was not an attack to make me follow her. She honestly believes that I will go to hell. And she honestly doesn’t want me there. But that did nothing to make her words feel like something other than an attack. She has been attacked for being a Christian and therefore had arguments and grand statements that could defend her religion, but I was unprepared. I had no words but what came out instinctually. I don’t like to argue. I just wanted to convey to her that I can’t believe in something as pointless as eternal damnation and I don’t want her to worry about me ending up there. This is what we said:
1.) There is only one reality, but you (Kricket) have been affected by postmodernism that endorses the idea that whatever you believe is what is true, which is impossible because there is only one reality, one God, and one way to go to heaven. You (Kricket) are walking one of the thousands of ways towards eternal damnation. The idea that whatever you believe is true is just a way for people to not have to worry about the consequences of their actions. I need to help you see the light because if I don’t I will feel guilty for letting horrible things happen to you for eternity.
1.) My belief system says that I should aim for an existence where I harm no one and nothing without giving away myself, an existence where I find who I am, fill myself with as much positivity and love as possible, and then return it to the world, an existence where I give rather than take, discover rather than steal, and empower rather than over power. If I do everything God expects of good Christians, except for accepting him alone as the only truth, then he can have no reason to punish me, except the selfish, jealous reason of a lonely little boy who wants everyone to love him and will bully and threaten them until they do. I will make sure to give your God a good talking to if he insists on sending me to hell.
Her feelings of what is beautiful and what is God and good:
2.) I want everyone to go to heaven. In heaven, everybody loves and is loved and they are always joyous and feasting. It’s beautiful and perfect in its bliss. On earth, I appreciate the plants and animals and people, but if humans did everything for God, then they might be able to glimpse that beauty here on earth. Trees, plants, rocks, animals, and the dirt don’t have souls. People have power to use nature. We need it to survive, but nature doesn’t give freely. It has no will. You can only like nature because it has no emotions, makes no mistakes, will never talk down to you, but that is just because nature can’t talk. God is everything good. The Devil is everything evil. If you are just doing something because it makes you feel comfortable, then you are probably following a devil. God isn’t about making us feel comfortable, and you won’t find comfort in Christianity in just a few Church meetings. It takes time. And doubt is a part of faith. You just doubt Him.
My feelings of what is beautiful and what is God and good:
2.) Heaven as you describe it seems awful. No one can truly feel the positive with no recollection of what is negative. I would rather have pain and ecstasy, depression and mania, joy and sorrow, fear and tranquility. Just one without the other has no life. It has no adventure and leaves no room for growth. Despite being filled with souls, the place you describe to me has a severe paucity of soul. I feel comfortable in Nature. I feel like I’ve come home. There is no way in the reality that I have experienced that trees can have no souls. I think everything has a soul or spirit and that they all can communicate with each other in ways we can’t access as easily because we have all these physical and sensory ways to communicate with each other that doesn’t rely at all on our innate connections. Just because trees are quiet, it doesn’t mean that they have no power. They are so old and have seen so much. Knowledge is power and trees have more spiritual knowledge than a short lived human. God can’t be solely good. In the Bible it was his creation that turned against him and fell to become the Devil. How can something made solely of good create something with a potential for evil? If the devil is the source of evil, then how was his evil born except through his power... in which case power is the true devil and an antithesis to your God, who has incredible power. It’s a Catch-22. That’s why God must have grey spots. Smudges upon his perfect goodness if you will. How else could he be jealous, a trait which is a sin for humans to have?
3.) Imagine that there is a river with a town on each side. You live on the East and Christianity lies on the West. You have heard from people who once lived on your side attest to the green pastures and wonderful people on the West. All you need to do is cross the river and you will be able to live a wonderful life, fulfilled and happy. The only reason you wouldn’t cross over is because you are just living your life to please yourself and you can’t see the consequences of your actions from the East side of the river.
3.) And yet I have also heard about people crossing from the West to the East and finding the Eastern pastures greener. And even more than that, there can’t be just these two towns. The river will fork an indefinite amount of times. There will be towns on every shore, each with its own beliefs and customs. There are so many views, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. You have only ever lived in that single town, but I was raised by a mother who lived in the Catholic town, then the Buddhist town, then the Agnostic town, a father and brother who lived in the Atheist town, and a lack of tutelage from any of them, which let me wander to any town that I wished to see.
I felt too much of Spirit to take in the Atheist town’s lessons, except that of continual skepticism and never taking people or religions at their face value. From the Buddhist town, I took tranquility and an acceptance of things that I cannot change, but I felt that it was too demanding on me, so demanding that I couldn’t be tranquil within its bounds. From the Shinto town I took the idea that everything is sacred, but being constantly scared of the local kami's fickle nature didn’t reflect anything that I felt in the way nature interacts with me.
I took things from many towns, even the Christian one, but I was always a nomad. I can’t just rest in one place. I need to continue my journey. The destination doesn’t matter. If I end up in hell because I was spending this life discovering the world, then that is unavoidable. I won’t give up my nomadic ways. I may never belong in a town, but when I meet people, whether they are nomads like me or townsfolk, I will learn from them and greet them with as much kindness and understanding as I possibly can, no matter what their beliefs. I am a wanderer, a traveler, a nomad, and a definitely little lost, but I would rather be seeing everything and living this moment as a great adventure than sitting in my village sewing my own death shroud.
Her divinity: (This is extremely personal, so this is a brief summary.)
4.) I prayed for three hours every day and told God that he needed to be an external force so that I can confirm to myself everything I believe to be true. And then he filled me up with divinity. Like I was an empty tube. I wanted to do everything that is considered a chore. I wanted to read the Bible and help people all in His honor.
My divinity: (This is extremely personal, so this is a brief summary.)
4.) When I felt like I couldn’t go any longer, I went outside and sang to the earth and the wind and the sky and the rain. I reached out to the Lady of the Woods and the Lord of Animals, and then I felt their strength within me. I was more understanding, creative, active, and useful. I wanted to contribute all my strength to add to Life and Spirit.
And with that our discussion ended. She and I had no more to say to each other. We had both experienced the divine in our own ways, and yet it was practically the exact same experience, just different conduits. Both of our experiences led us to be better humans than we usually are and they both lasted for about a month.
Her description of God filling her up like an empty tube reminds me of many traditions of calling on the gods as an act of magick. She calls it a miracle. I call it magick. It is simply our diction that separates us. When we speak in such different languages, communication is jumbled and sometimes impossible. When I say that she will always mean more to me than any rock or tree, she hears that she is always going to be above the level of something without a soul. What we hold sacred differs so much that common ground is sometimes too small to hold a footing on.
Neither of us “won” or “lost” the argument. But the common ground is now marked more clearly and we are less likely to wander into the other’s marshy beliefs.
Location: Seatle, Washington
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