July 1st, 2001

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Belief.

Fiddled around on Beliefnet tonight. They've got an interesting quiz, where you describe how you believe and they try to match with you. And I wasn't so suprised with the results as I was with how strongly they came out. For your edification, here's all the ones at 80% or above.

1. UU (100%) <-- that suprised me
2. Liberal Quaker (95%)
3. Reform Judaism (89%)
4. Liberal Protestant (87%)
5. Neo-Paganism (83%)
6. Bah'a'i (or however it's spelled) (80%)

An interesting and varied variety of beliefs. It's prolly 'cause my mom's a lapsed Catholic who lost her own faith as a teenager, and my dad's been relatively agnostic. When I was little, I went to a mainstream Christian church with my grandma, but when I was in sixth or seventh grade, she switched churches.

This was entertaining. They were one of those Pentecostal churches, and I have to admit to being a bit nervous when people started singing in what seemed to me to be gibberish, and the flags came off the walls, and people started dancing in the aisles...it just didn't feel right.

But I didn't DARE express this feeling, and this church somehow had the funny idea that teenagers were adults and thus could sit in sanctuary with the rest of them. Having nowhere to express my beliefs, with not even a youth pastor (everybody who might have wanted to resented having to miss the services to deal with a bunch of unruly teenagers...) to confide in...I just broke and refused to quit going. I tried going to the local Catholic Church with my best friend, but she wasn't really into it, and I seemed to think it cool for the anthropological value, but it didn't appeal to me spiritually.

And then came Berkeley, which was prolly the best thing that happened to me. For the first time I had to examine the culture I was raised in to my new culture, and believe me, the one I was raised in was found lacking. For a while, I fiddled with the Berkeley Agnosticism, which basically was a trendy way of saying, "I do not know; I cannot know; I don't want to find out."

And then came the diagnosis. My world was shattered. For the first time, I had to figure out which was me and which was the evil beast that resided in my head, and it meant going back to square one.

"Is there a God?"

I expressed it like that because the only tradition I was familiar with was that of fairly conservative christians, although I'm not sure what's all included in that God term. But I thought about it for a while, and I finally decided simply thus. "I look around me, and I see a world, in all its infinity and beauty and fine craftsmanship. And I look at this world and I cannot not honestly believe that it was created by random chance."

I'm still working on square 2. Call me a Seeker if you will. Agnostic is too tight of a term for it. I express it now as, "I do not know. I may never know. But that's not gonna stop me from attempting to find my answer.

So there you have it. It's not gonna make any testimonials page, but that's how I got to this point. Right now, I have an amalagation of beliefs I've pulled together from different places, from the Bible to TS Eliot, from Shakespeare to Stephenson.

I once joked to my mother that with the diagnosis of manic-depression, it opened up the career of cult leader. But enh...lemme figure it out first.

And that's it. I dunno what else to say, this is a story still being written.

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