Sunday, June 16, 2013

I'd like to think I've come a long way in the last year.

I will admit too that it's not something I have done entirely alone though I can't say it's been a higher power that has helped me. Two things I did in the beginning I think helped a lot. One, I left an online parenting forum that I felt was a negative influence in my life due to the constant competition among the parents in the forum. I did not find it to be a very supportive environment and it only got worse as time went on. I had been accused of playing the victim one time too many (far as I was concerned) and decided that enough was enough; I was done. So I left and it's been over a year since I last visited the site. I don't miss it at all. I had found some friends on there but found more people looking to stir up bad feelings and trouble and it just was not good for my mental health (and likely still is not which is why I haven't gone back). I instead returned to a forum I had gone back and forth with and picked and chose groups that fit me and I casually visit which makes it easier for me to keep an emotional distance. Later on, I was able to find some very good groups on Facebook and those are the ones I frequent most often.

Online groups are often not enough though. Local groups have been especially difficult for me to get into in the past but I finally found one that has been an excellent fit and better yet, one that stretches my intellectual muscles. I joined a local freethinker's group and that has been (tongue-in-cheek here) Spaghetti-Monster-sent. Through there, I have been introduced to such topics as evolution (something I'm trying to learn more about everyday because I find it SO fascinating), separation of church and state, religion, school vouchers, and much more. My world and horizons have been expanded and my thirst for knowledge increased many-fold. I have even attended a Unitarian Universal service. I find myself, really for the first time in a long time, not angry and negative about beliefs but positive about my quest to establish and confirm what I do believe. I may not believe in the god of the bible but that does not mean I have no beliefs at all. I'm constantly seeking to add to my personal belief and moral system and while that may differ from many who do believe in God, in many ways, they are the same. It's hard to explain.

I do not see myself as one of those "angry atheist" as many are stereotyped to be (not that they aren't out there but there are also some pretty angry Christians out there too). I am seeking and striving to figure out my place in the world and in the universe, trying to figure out what values are important to me. Not all of those values are taken from a book written almost 2000 years ago. Some may seem to fly in the face of what's in that book but then again, it is a book that has not evolved as much as human consciousness has.

It is interesting how finally figuring out that I didn't believe in God has lead to move positive changes in my life than trying to hold onto Christian beliefs has. But that has been MY experience and I don't expect it to be that way for everyone. One thing I seek to do is try and understand where others are coming from in their experiences and beliefs. There's a lot that comes into play when deciding our beliefs and it's a very personal thing indeed. I do grow frustrated with narrow-mindedness and the idea some have that EVERYONE has to believe what he/she believes because that is the ONLY belief there is. And I really hate it when religion gets involved in politics and affects education. Those, I will admit, are kind of my pet peeves. But beyond that, I know that for most people, religion is something that brings them comfort and would not want to take that away from them. I wish I could say it had done the same for me, but it never did, even when I was at my most fervent in my beliefs. But I am not without comfort. I merely find it in the tangible and in the wonders of our world and universe. 

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