WOW!!! What a subject for me to get into.
I have had so many different experiences with religions, mostly Christian, but am now not a Christian.
Now, before you say "You are going to hell if you don't repent and get right with the lord."- Read this! Besides, what right do you have judging me. Doesn't your own book, the Bible, tell you "Judge not, lest ye be judged"?
Jesus taught love and tolerence, yet I am very hard pressed to find a True Christian.
First of all, I was raised a lax Lutheran and then one of Jehovah's Witnesses during my childhood. What a combination that was. From, anything you do is okay as long as you go to church on Sunday and are confirmed when you are 13 years old---to everything is wrong, everything you have been taught is wrong, we are the only ones who have the truth, and you can't even watch a movie without worrying about demons.
After leaving home at 17 years of age, I was without religion of any kind for a few years, went back and tried Jehovah's Witnesses again--REALLY TRIED---but you are never good enough. Then I lost my twin daughters. One reason the doctors didn't even try to save them was because I was brainwashed into believing that blood transfusions were completely against God's Law. I blame myself for being so stupid as to believe this and going along with it, but I also blame the people who taught me that it would be a sin against their god, against the twin's souls, and against my soul, to allow the doctors to try to save my girls lives. So instead I had a funeral for them.
That was in 1977 and I still mourn for them.
After that, I went into a deep depression and finally came to the decision to either kill myself or leave my alcoholic, abusive husband and get a divorce so I could start my life over----both of which, by the way, are against Jehovah's Witnesses beliefs.
After meeting my second husband, I "found" Jesus (didn't even know he was lost). I became a born-again, tongue speaking, ultra religious, judgemental, preacher of the "Word". I taught Jesus love every where and to whom ever would listen. I prayed, went to church three or more times a week, was the best Christian I could be, studied the Bible in depth, tried to convert people, and lived everyday never being as perfect as I could be, always failing, always feeling guilty, always trying harder to be something that was impossible to be. And never getting the answers I needed. But, being told that was the mystery of faith, that all I had to do was believe harder, have more faith, give more to the church, pray more. It didn't work kids. Like I said, I was judgemental, especially against gay people. Guess what! The Universe placed several gay people in my life. My eyes were opened to the fact that sexuallity has absolutely nothing to do with being a wonderful, loving person. My best bud in the world is still my friend. He doesn't like labels, but he has struggled for years with his sexuallity. I've learned to just be there to support (no matter what), help when asked, not judge on sexuallity, just be there when needed.
The one thing I'd like to say to everyone who judges another, for whatever reason, is: Clean up your own life, be the best person You know how to be, learn, learn, learn (not just what you think you believe in, but about every lifestyle, every religion, every viewpoint)---WITH AN OPEN MIND!!!
Getting back to my experience with religion: I again became disallusioned and depressed with everything. My son was still disabled, I was still living in poverty, my second husband didn't come back to me, I still had a dibilitating disease---my life was hell and God/Jesus just didn't seem to care.
Then I met my present partner. His son had gotten a book from the library called "Wicca: A Solitary's Guide".
It taught me that we are responsible for our own lives, we make our own futures, our own happiness, but we can ask the Universe and Nature to show us the Path to Knowledge and Wisdom. I was so impressed that I copied the entire book longhand so that he could return it to the library.
We moved to Florida where I found a little shop, I guess you would call it "New Age" where I started taking classes on the Elementals, Meditation, Past Life Regressions, Tarot, Runes, Wicca and other forms of Paganism.
WOW! (Thank you, Deborah.)
I am very seldom depressed, take responsibility for my own life, past and present, learn from my mistakes, go with the flow and take every day as it comes.
I believe that Nature is our friend and Mother, not our enemy. I believe that we ARE responsible for our own lives, not some being in the heavens or a devil. We can be kind, good, caring, loving, and helpful without being "saved" or part of a group. I do believe in Universal Law---"whatever you do, be it good or bad, will comes back to you times three." I will not say that you are wrong in your belief, because if it works for you and is good for your life, wonderful. But don't tell me that what you believe is good for me. You do not know me. You have not lived in my life or experienced the things that I have experienced. IT'S ALL RELATIVE!!! What is relative and good in your life is for you and no one else, not even your children or your spouse. Each of us is an individual and have experienced our life in our own way. You can take five children raised in the same family the same way, but each has experienced their life and upbringing individually. So please don't profess to know what is right and good for anyone else. Take care of yourself...be the best you can be....and let others find their own way. Yes, you can give them information, but it is up to each person to know what works for them and it is a crime to teach only one religion to anyone. Just because I'm different than you does not make me bad or evil.
Is my life all hugs and kisses? No. But, I can choose to be happy in whatever situation life hands me. Do I still get depressed? Sometimes. When things go wrong, my partner is being a craphead, if someone I love doesn't seem to care, the usual life things.....yes, sometimes I get depressed. BUT (and that's a big but) it doesn't last long. It seems when things aren't going well, the Universe puts something beautiful in my life.
To learn more on Paganism go to www.witchvox.com or contact me and we'll discuss.....NO PREACHERS PLEASE (I mean people who will judge me and want to talk at me without listening to anything anyone else has to say, i.e. closed minded people), I have, as previously stated, done much study and have made my choice based on knowledgable education.
Religion is here to teach us some ways to make a better life for ourselves, not to rule our lives. No one religion is right for everyone. Even each sect within a religion is not right for everyone. So don't tell me you have all the answers, I sure as hell don't, and do not believe that anyone does. Each of us learn in our own fashion. All we as individuals do is try to make life happier for those around us and ourselves. We can cooperate with anyone, as long as they don't try to "be the boss and know-it-all."
Manifest Destiny and Divine Right is just someone's way of saying: "I want to control what you believe and I have the right to lord what I believe over everyone. If you don't believe the way I do, I'll kill you, put you in jail, and persecute you into changing." What a crock!!!!