This, I Believe…


Christ-miss…

December 25th, 2013, Christmas day.  I was blessed to have been invited to spend time with my daughter, and her mother on Christmas Eve; to stay the night and to wake up with them on Christmas morning.  We shared good food, laughter, and created memories.  To me, that is what Christmas is about – regardless of faith.  I am now back home, in a house which now seems far too big.  I am alone with my dog, and my thoughts.

Like many secular Americans I still appreciate, and take time out for Christmas.  I embrace it as a holiday of both internal and, external peace.  I get to step outside the flow of the world, if only for a day.  A sort of, world peace day.  Christmas day, save the occasional school shooting day or profound natural disaster day, is the only day of the year I feel connected with my fellow man in a way which helps me feel good about my species.  The inevitability though, of religious argument this time of year, if not religious confrontation, is a given.

or

North of Coos Bay, August 2010. It felt like a doorway into another dimension…

Baby overboard…

Several days ago I explained to a friend that I was excited to be celebrating Christmas with my daughter, and her mother.  My friend was quick to suggest that we would be spending “just another day” together.  Meaning that, unless we had planned to celebrate the birth of Jesus in a dogmatic way, we would not actually be celebrating Christmas. I strongly disagreed, though I did understand the foundation for his argument, probably far better than he did.

I suggested that Christmas means different things to different people, and that to me Christmas represents a time of family, of giving, and of peace – regardless of faith.  My friend accepted my reply as an insult to the birth of Jesus, and did not stop short of attempting to sell me on the ideal of a conversion in an, it’s never too late kind of way.  I was left with the feeling that an unnecessary judgment had been directed at me, and I was labeled a non-believer.

 Step back nonbeliever…

I am a believer though, and I have pity for anyone so ignorant as to doubt what I believe.  My beliefs exist to my core.  They are malleable to be certain, and as the winds and rains of a changing society reshape and redirect my life’s path, my beliefs may change as a result, but they remain imbedded, and are not for sale.  When somebody suggests to me that my beliefs require changing simply because they are not consistent with the beliefs of another, what they are telling me, in unmistakable words, is that they believe my very existence is invalid.

The only painting that has ever mattered to me...

The only painting that has ever mattered to me…

What I do believe…

I believe in absolute universal oneness – period.  That is, underlying everything that has ever happened, every person who has ever lived, all the things and people yet to happen, and in times, spaces, and dimensions which may parallel, crisscross, or piggy back on the very dimension from which I write this, that we are all interconnected.  I am you, you are me, and some day we may be that tree.  That ideal is my god, if not my God.  I believe I have a responsibility to live as such, which is why I’m usually the first to apologize, even if I’m first to pick the fight, because I believe that in fighting with you, I am fighting a part of me.

What may make this idea of oneness so challenging for others to accept, I believe, is that clearly in the here and now we are separated by tribes, borders, values, circumstances, and intentions.  In a word, individuality.  We fear losing our individuality.  It is negotiating these divisions though, in my opinion, that our individuality is cultivated – or not.  These divisions are where we are tested.  Of course all the answers to the test are located in the back of the book, and we don’t get to see what’s in the back of the book in this lifetime.  We choose our answers based on faith.  I’ll choose my answers based on my faith, and not somebody else’s.

World peace day…

I believe that a successful future for mankind is absolutely dependent on religious tolerance, and plurality.  That if we are to ever get humanity right in the head, we must to first get good with human acceptance.  That is my belief.  I would gladly accept a painful eternal death over separating myself from that belief in favor of another’s dogmatic stance.

How I feel when somebody attempts to cast their beliefs on me...

How I feel when somebody attempts to cast their beliefs on me…

There is no one day though, not yet, for people of all beliefs to put down those beliefs, put down weapons, put down agendas, and open up the boundaries and borders that we may experience this universal oneness – if only for a day.  Ah, but that is my belief, and may not be yours.  Until that day of world peace finally exists, I’ll just celebrate it on Christmas…  Be well.  rc

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Please check back in 2 weeks to see what happens when I push the “stop” button on the blender in my head. Hint: It probably isn’t going to have anything to do with fitness  or exercise.  Oh, and there’s this from Tasmanian, Tane Emia-Moore. Enjoy…

12 responses

  1. I so agree with you Roy, and I love the way you expressed it here. I have no religion and the more I learn about Jesus Christ thru sources other than the Bible the more I admire the guy and what he really stood for (which is not what vocal American “Christians” think it is). We are all the sons and daughters of “God” and JC was the great example, not an exception. God dwells within us, just exactly as we are.

  2. I see it the same way: “Christmas represents a time of family, of giving, and of peace – regardless of faith.”

    A lot of “believers” can’t even apply peace, acceptance, forgiveness to their own lives, yet they allow themselves to judge us.

    This resonates with me: “When somebody suggests to me that my beliefs require changing simply because they are not consistent with the beliefs of another, what they are telling me, in unmistakable words, is that they believe my very existence is invalid.”

    If I remember well, you have seen the documentary Flight from Death, thus you know that they react this way because they are afraid of dying. Their whole system reassures them, and your views threaten their system. It’s that simple (and that sad).

    And yes, we are all interconnected.

    From a secular Christian. :-)

    • I think I’ve watched that movie 8 or 10 times now, Julie. In some sense, it probably pushed me into being more open with my values.

      In writing this I asked myself who will unfriend me, who will write the most scathing comment…? I came to the conclusion that probably nobody will, because those who may, will have to come face to face with their own fears and probably won’t want to do so publically.

      Scarcely related, I don’t fear death, inasmuch as be my chance to come back as a wine connoisseur….

    • Actually Heidi, I have friends locally who are very involved in the B’Hai faith. I fist learned about them in Huston Smith’s, The Religions Of Man. Sixty years after it’s first publication, it is probably still the best overall source for religious learning at a human scale.

      I will check out this video tonight, thank you!

  3. Roy,

    What an incredible piece. And, what a wonderful celebration of love, life and incredible writing you are. I look forward to these amazing pieces. I am humbled by their clarity and strength.

    best,

    Bill

  4. I LOVE THIS!!!!!! Yeah, my computer did not lock up this time!!! I am so with you! I love me the Instagram but I tell you, there are a lot of religious fanatics on it telling people their way is the only way & I am tired of it… tolerance & unity 7 let people believe what is right for them… thank you for this Roy!!!!

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