Faith and Religion


Editors disclaimer: Before I even begin to dive into this topic, I am letting you know that I am not making any assumptions, judgments, or references to other people’s beliefs or ideals about religion. I am speaking from experience/the heart, and that is it. Religion is a tricky and sensitive subject to many, but please know that I am not biased. Not even close! I welcome all religions, ideas, and walks of life here. So, please feel free to comment on this blog, but please don’t judge each other or me. I will not tolerate it!

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Natural beauty

Well, now that that’s settled, I must apologize for my absence yesterday. I was in the middle of writing a post, when two transformers went down right across the street from me, and my entire area lost power for a couple of hours. And needless to say, I lost everything that I had written. So, because I was feeling nosey, I followed the mass amounts of people that were gathering across the street, and when I asked one of my neighbors what happened, he said “must’ve been an act of GOD! Uuu-huh!”  So I just shrugged my shoulders and smiled at him.

I stood there watching a small brushfire and a dangling live wire with sparks until the fire department came. I went back inside shortly there after and thought about what my neighbor had said “must’ve been an act of GOD.” And of course I thought to myself “two power lines blew for no reason at all… nothing we can do about the power going out… shit happens… it was not an act of god.” 

Or was it?

Thinking back almost five years ago, I was officially a few weeks away from delivery. I had planned on having my son circumcised regardless, but I was also adamant about not having a Bris (a Jewish tradition of circumcision). I wanted my son to be circumcised, in the hospital, by a doctor, with anesthetic, in a sterile environment, without an audience. I just had this awful vision of a shaky old Moil (the man who performs the circumcision) messing up, and causing my 8 day old to suffer in pain and disfigurement for life. I know… I’m dramatic sometimes, but that vision I had was freaking me out. Still does. And also, I think it’s a barbaric tradition… and it freaks the crap out of me! 

A few months later, my grandmother called and asked me if we (Jason and I) were going to have a baby naming (when a Jewish boy or girl recieves their Jewish name. It’s their next step into Judaism.) I stuttered and stammered on the phone for a few minutes, and then I caved in again. A month later I met with the Rabbi and a date was set. Willy received his Jewish name, Mordechai Reeshone which means (first warrior) on a Friday night, in front of a hefty crowd, at my family’s Synagogue.

My husband stood up there with me during the ceremony, and I knew he wasn’t too keen on the whole idea of a baby naming, but I reassured him that this act of faith was painless, would be over shortly, and that we wouldn’t call him Morty or anything. It was just a name…

Fast forward 4.5 years later.

I am Jewish by birth, raised with Jewish traditions, went to hebrew school three days a week for years and years, was Bat Mitzvah’d, went to Israel (the motherland) when I was sixteen, and confirmed at eighteen. I had gone through each and every step in my climb up the Jewish ladder to adulthood, but sadly… the older I get the less faith I seem to have. I now consider myself to be a “fair weather” Jew, meaning, I’m as Jewish as I wanna be, when I want to be. Got it?

Alrighty.

Well, I was recently asked by friend if we were going to raise Willy Jewish… and I just didn’t know what to say. I believe in so many things, but now, more then ever, I believe in tolerance. I believe in good manners. I believe in kindness, helpfulness, purpose, self respect, and so much more, that I feel like those are the main purposes in life now. Not a higher a power. I want Willy to believe in himself. I want him to be kind and a respectful/respected member of his community. I want him to value his own life and the lives of others. And most importantly, I want my son to know how that he can always count on those around him who support him and respect him for who he is. Now THAT is my faith of choice for him, and I don’t think that I need to go to a house of worship to practice those things. 

Now, this doesn’t mean that I’ll never bring my son to my temple or anything like that, but if he chooses to worship a higher power someday, I certainly wouldn’t deter him from that. In fact, I would encourage it. Really, I would. So when the day comes that he asks me about GOD and religion, I hope that he and I can have an open conversation about it. I hope that he can feel free to ask me questions about GOD/religion, and I hope that I can give him the answer that he is looking for. And if not, I’m sure I can point him in the proper direction and someone else can offer the guidance that he is looking for.

Now… discuss.

 

6 thoughts on “Faith and Religion

  1. Totally have to comment!
    I not being Jewish, married a Jewish man. I joined in l the holidays and we even did Pajamica (Hanikka sp? In pjs party where we served breakfast at night)! I not being Jewish or any real faith! I loved me Christmas tree and we did both!
    Totally agree with the snip snip of the baby in the hospital! We did that too! But Adam really wanted Noah to be Jewish. So Noah got mic-fad (horrible speller here) and I watched my baby be let go quite a few times in the water… Hearing him scream with fear and swallowing large amounts of water! I totally wanted to scream! So drowning my baby made his Jewish!
    But I’m totally with you Jill! I don’t care if Noah is Jewish or decides to be a Christian or anything else! As long as he has those same values you pointed out!
    I do believe in having some faith, and that faith is in myself and those who have passed to look down on me!
    But things bursting and live wirers flying is more like act of weeks worth of rain!

    • Right on sister! I’m with you. We celebrate both Christmas and Chanukah (Christmas-kah), and both Easter and Passover (East-over) in our house. I give my boy some insight into my past as well as my present. 😉

  2. Before the age of ten years of age I was damned to the fiery pits of hell by several different priests and more times than I’d care to remember. Everything was sinful and everyone doomed to burn and meet unpleasant ends one way or another because they succumbed and blasphemed and didn’t have faith and so on.

    Asking why God was choosing to inflict this would prompt a spontaneous combustion of saliva and a whole load of wrath and shit about fire that never goes out…

    I now have weird set of little spiritual beliefs going on – made up from a whole mixed bag of different things I guess but ultimately, it’s just for me and a certain set of rules and standards I live by that includes being nice, tolerant, kind and always doing what I know is right and I should.

    I couldn’t give a rat’s arse what anyone believes in or not – be it spiritual, religious or anything else.
    To me it never makes any difference because there’s no right or wrong. Whatever gives you strength, helps you find peace / harmony and does no harm to others is always the way forward.

    We’ve emphasised this to the kids from a very young age and despite still being young teenagers, they are genuinely the most tolerant, kind, selfless souls on earth with character and personal strength I can only dream of. Always nice to know of others that take a similar approach 🙂

    • Oh Aunty. I know so many people who also grew up being made to believe that they were all going right to hell and burn for eternity. But I am so glad that you found yourself and raised your family with the values that you hold dear. I’m so proud of you.

  3. There are lots of us I’m sure but far less now than there was back in the day so that can only be a good thing. I just never got the “Love me or BURN!!!!!!!!!” angle with the Catholic church.

    If he’s God and loves all his children and is the way and everything else, how come he’s such a meanie? That always got me knee deep but helped me decide I’d rather not join his gang. That and the number of completely “have-yourself-on” people I feel sure were the basis of the outstanding characters in Father Ted.

    One thing that never ceases to amaze me is this need for people to somehow convert everyone else – like they’re on commission. Why the overwhelming desire to get everyone else signed up?

    I was quietly taken with the idea of Humanism at first but was later disappointed and disheartened to see an increase in disrespect, intolerance and the general shouting down of others for no reason whatsoever.

    There are campaigns to get rid of all faith schools, withdraw funding and all future research into things like homoeopathy and bizarre ideas that personally, I find far more oppressive and dangerous than any organised church.

    Anyway.. I’m not stirring up a whole new casserole of nonsense with science versus religion.

    I do like the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster though. They’re worthy of a mention.

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