I have been thinking about the assignment since before it was assigned. I share many of Dina's belief's and have a similar (in a very general way) religious background to hers.
My parents were (are in my very living father's case) sceptics as far as organized religion. My mother was raised in Massachusetts and attended Methodist and Congregationalist churches. She was an atheist all the time I knew her and I think she perceived a spiritual cynicism from her parents growing up, whether it was fair or not.
My father was raised in a Southern Irish Catholic family. The convergence of these three cultural subsets in unlike any other. I'm not going to say much more right now, but I was only peripherally a part of it. My uncle was a priest in Charleston. I went to St. Peter's in Columbia with two fine priests Fr. Cronin and Fr. Carter (with whom I & all the other girls in the 4th grade were in love in a chaste Catholic girl way).
Dad took us to church, but he would not take communion. I thought it was because he had been married and divorced and had a family in North Charleston he hadn't told us about. I was an imaginative child. I found out that it was because he, too, was an atheist. Or agnostic. Or something.
Our father took us to St. Peter's every Sunday because in South Carolina you go to church. Catholic church is not as good as Baptist church, but it is a church.
A lack of organized religion did not translate to a lack of morals. Both of parents were and are the most solidly moral & ethical people I will ever know. If I wander in a spiritual wasteland it is not because they did not give me a compass. I have a wonderfully sound internal compass that will always lead me to true TRUTH. Mom called it a Bullshit detector, and although I am a very naive person, I have a pretty good BS detector. Go figure?
I think that I can (and probably will) spend at least ten posts on this topic, but I will try to follow directions and make a list of sorts. This is what I believe:
- I believe in God
- I believe that while the Divine never changes (probably) that human understanding changes over time. Like children, we understand the Divine at our developmental level, in a way that we are ready for. So if religion changes over time, it isn't God that changes, it is our understanding of God that changes. And if morality changes over time, it isn't morality that changes, it is our understanding that changes. The Divine isn't relative, but we are.
- I believe that a person's religious views tell you more about that person than about God.
- I believe that no person should be killed for who he or she loves. And no one should say that that is OK in any way, shape or form, by action or inaction.
- I believe that rights are like love, they are not diminished if more people have them. If you have rights, I don't have fewer. Don't confuse rights with privileges. And don't think your privileges are your rights.
- I believe that all children everywhere should be served by teachers, principals, administrators, school boards, staff members, and legislators who LIKE children, who think they CAN learn, who think they WILL learn, and who believe they will be IMPORTANT members of society.
- I believe that everyone can be a hero. I believe that everyone is a hero in some way to some one.
- I believe that people will rise to the level of your expectations.
- I believe that if I can make myself sick with worry I can make myself well with hope.
- I believe there is a new day coming and we will live to see the dawn.