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Jilliman

My struggle with conflicting beliefs

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Ever since I was a young child I've always had my doubts about Christianity and the possibility of an afterlife. I've struggled with the concept of religion all 25 years of my life. I've gone through times where I felt devoutly Christian and other times where I was a complete atheist. I graduated from college with a degree in religious studies in the hopes of becoming a researcher on spirituality.

I first started doubting when:

A. I was bullied in Sunday school and confirmation class so church stirred up bad memories for me.

B. When my pastor told me my dog did not go to heaven when he died.

C. When I argued as a child with my mom's hairdresser about how unfair it is that Hitler could go to heaven while all the innocent Jews he killed went to hell. I started to win the argument and she got so furious she about butchered my poor mom's hair. Oops! ;)

Throughout my life I had other times where I felt like Christianity was not true especially when:

A. Our former married pastor that presided over my maternal grandmother's funeral hugged me a little too long and tried to get me to come to him alone to talk about it. Something felt wrong. I later found out he quickly fled to another state when local police got reports of him sexually harassing other female members. :(

B. The anti gay beliefs. Why would got hate people for something they did not choose? This is who they are and they should borne persecuted.

C. Just various bad experiences with so called Christians and how rude they were. Nobody remembers to follow the bible and love thy neighbor.

As the years went by I constantly bounced back and forth and now I can safely state what I believe in.

There is a loving god out there. Not hateful. Just pure loving energy. There is also a universal consciousness and we all go back to it upon death. I also believe in reincarnation and various after life scenarios. The universe is huge and anything is possible.

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One thing I can assure you of is that animals have an afterlife too. I saw the ghost of my cat once.

Pastors and priests are just people and can commit crimes just like anyone else. Trust someone because they deserve your trust not because they are religious or anything else that puts them in a position you are automatically suppose to trust them.

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I do believe now that animals have an afterlife. After my pastor told me that I told my mom and she said the pastor was full of it. I've also sensed the presence of my deceased cat as we had a very close bond. :)

It's unfortunate with people in positions to counsel others to take advantage of them. Predators do lurk in many forms. I was in a dark place at the time and felt like if this pastor was preying on other women and myself than religion is a joke. I reminded myself later in life that god cannot intervene even if god wants to. It's just a shame that you hear about this stuff a lot.

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Posted (edited)

B. When my pastor told me my dog did not go to heaven when he died.

I can't help with most of those, but maybe this can:

There was an elderly widower who lived with his elderly dog on a farm. Eventually the dog died. The man was grief-stricken, but eventually was able to recover and continue his life without his beloved fried. In due course, the man also died. He found himself in the clouds looking at a golden path leading to a great gate. There beside the gate sat his dog. The dog was over-joyed at seeing his old friend. Together they went up to the gate, to a man with a long flowing beard and a great book. The man gave his name and the man with the beard checked the book. "There's your name. Right here. You can come in right away." The man beckoned to his dog and started toward the gate. "I'm sorry," said the man with the beard. "We don't allow dogs in here."

The man was very disappointed, but he would not leave his dog. They wandered forlornly down the road. After awhile they came to a mud track leading away from the road. Following it, they came to an old farmhouse. There was a light in the window and smoke coming out of the chimney. Out walked a man as elderly as himself. "Come on in," he said. "We've been waiting for you." They went inside and there was a meal spread out on the table with a woman just serving up a bowl of soup, and on the floor was a dish for the dog.

After dinner, the man could contain his curiosity no longer. "What is this place?" he asked. "Heaven," was the reply. "Then what was that place I saw on the way over?" the man asked. "That's hell," came the reply. "It's for people who would abandon their best friend."

I don't know about you, but I'll choose my dog if I ever face that choice.

Doug

Edited by Doug1o29
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Best advice I was given by my grandmother was to believe what you want to believe. No religion is the right religion and we all go to the same places. Do what makes you happy and not what makes others around you happy. If there is a god, he'd accept you for just being open minded and living your own way.

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I can't help with most of those, but maybe this can:

There was an elderly widower who lived with his elderly dog on a farm. Eventually the dog died. The man was grief-stricken, but eventually was able to recover and continue his life without his beloved fried. In due course, the man also died. He found himself in the clouds looking at a golden path leading to a great gate. There beside the gate sat his dog. The dog was over-joyed at seeing his old friend. Together they went up to the gate, to a man with a long flowing beard and a great book. The man gave his name and the man with the beard checked the book. "There's your name. Right here. You can come in right away." The man beckoned to his dog and started toward the gate. "I'm sorry," said the man with the beard. "We don't allow dogs in here."

The man was very disappointed, but he would not leave his dog. They wandered forlornly down the road. After awhile they came to a mud track leading away from the road. Following it, they came to an old farmhouse. There was a light in the window and smoke coming out of the chimney. Out walked a man as elderly as himself. "Come on in," he said. "We've been waiting for you." They went inside and there was a meal spread out on the table with a woman just serving up a bowl of soup, and on the floor was a dish for the dog.

After dinner, the man could contain his curiosity no longer. "What is this place?" he asked. "Heaven," was the reply. "Then what was that place I saw on the way over?" the man asked. "That's hell," came the reply. "It's for people who would abandon their best friend."

I don't know about you, but I'll choose my dog if I ever face that choice.

Doug

The Hunt (The Twilight Zone)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hunt_(The_Twilight_Zone)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkfIPzgrJAQ

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Posted (edited)

Ever since I was a young child I've always had my doubts about Christianity and the possibility of an afterlife. I've struggled with the concept of religion all 25 years of my life. I've gone through times where I felt devoutly Christian and other times where I was a complete atheist. I graduated from college with a degree in religious studies in the hopes of becoming a researcher on spirituality.

I first started doubting when:

A. I was bullied in Sunday school and confirmation class so church stirred up bad memories for me.

B. When my pastor told me my dog did not go to heaven when he died.

C. When I argued as a child with my mom's hairdresser about how unfair it is that Hitler could go to heaven while all the innocent Jews he killed went to hell. I started to win the argument and she got so furious she about butchered my poor mom's hair. Oops! ;)

Throughout my life I had other times where I felt like Christianity was not true especially when:

A. Our former married pastor that presided over my maternal grandmother's funeral hugged me a little too long and tried to get me to come to him alone to talk about it. Something felt wrong. I later found out he quickly fled to another state when local police got reports of him sexually harassing other female members. :(

B. The anti gay beliefs. Why would got hate people for something they did not choose? This is who they are and they should borne persecuted.

C. Just various bad experiences with so called Christians and how rude they were. Nobody remembers to follow the bible and love thy neighbor.

As the years went by I constantly bounced back and forth and now I can safely state what I believe in.

There is a loving god out there. Not hateful. Just pure loving energy. There is also a universal consciousness and we all go back to it upon death. I also believe in reincarnation and various after life scenarios. The universe is huge and anything is possible.

A reality of an afterlife does not make believers in a creator of the universe sending his only son to be a blood sacrifice to atone for a situation he made in the first place make that belief true.

Here is a lecture on "Book of Acts a historical fiction" if interested.

Edited by davros of skaro

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Best advice I was given by my grandmother was to believe what you want to believe. No religion is the right religion and we all go to the same places. Do what makes you happy and not what makes others around you happy. If there is a god, he'd accept you for just being open minded and living your own way.

This should be posted in every religion thread that pops up.

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I can't help with most of those, but maybe this can:

There was an elderly widower who lived with his elderly dog on a farm. Eventually the dog died. The man was grief-stricken, but eventually was able to recover and continue his life without his beloved fried. In due course, the man also died. He found himself in the clouds looking at a golden path leading to a great gate. There beside the gate sat his dog. The dog was over-joyed at seeing his old friend. Together they went up to the gate, to a man with a long flowing beard and a great book. The man gave his name and the man with the beard checked the book. "There's your name. Right here. You can come in right away." The man beckoned to his dog and started toward the gate. "I'm sorry," said the man with the beard. "We don't allow dogs in here."

The man was very disappointed, but he would not leave his dog. They wandered forlornly down the road. After awhile they came to a mud track leading away from the road. Following it, they came to an old farmhouse. There was a light in the window and smoke coming out of the chimney. Out walked a man as elderly as himself. "Come on in," he said. "We've been waiting for you." They went inside and there was a meal spread out on the table with a woman just serving up a bowl of soup, and on the floor was a dish for the dog.

After dinner, the man could contain his curiosity no longer. "What is this place?" he asked. "Heaven," was the reply. "Then what was that place I saw on the way over?" the man asked. "That's hell," came the reply. "It's for people who would abandon their best friend."

I don't know about you, but I'll choose my dog if I ever face that choice.

Doug

Thank you for sharing that. It touched my heart. I'm with you, if ever faced with that choice, I'd choose my dog.

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To the topic starter.sorry that you were picked on in Sunday school.you can beilieve what you want.

And yes dogs go to heaven

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Have you watched every one of these movies they ever made? You seem to have a movie for everything.

Doug

Not everything, but "What You Need."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What_You_Need

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLo24jirIGI

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If the average dog doesn't get into heaven, then the rest of us are in BIG trouble.

Doug

The story (more or less, for example, the man and dog die together, by drowning, each trying to save the other's life) was written by Earl Hamner, Jr, for the classic TV series The Twilight Zone. The epsiode was titled "The Hunt."

>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dZjwsxYtUA

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All the replies on here are beautiful! I know I would not go to heaven if my dog and cat were not allowed in. A lot of the time I sense their innocence and soulfulness and I can't imagine them not going to heaven if there is a heaven.

I have more or less adapted a spiritual belief and believe we are all loved and that life continues after death.

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I don't know what I believe, I do know animals have spirits and I believe that there is somewhere out there for every soul including animals, I believe that there is a higher power of some sort. I myself have a hard time with religion.

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I feel my cat Tia jumping up on my bed occassionally. She died in y bed about ten years ago, so I believe she has a spirit or soul or something of that nature. I also felt a powerful sense of my mother's love flowing through me unexpectedly a few days after she had died while not even thinking of her..

I think all religions are created by we humans for obvious reasons. Whatever the real spiritual thing may be, I think it remains a mystery to us who are alive, and always will remain so. We may believe what we wish, but I think all our beliefs in fact are our own personal opinions only. No one has come back from the dead to tell us what's going on, if anything.

Considering spirituality a mystery brings us closer to the truth in this way. It's something hidden from us from the very beginning. For me this is a reassuring thought, as I don't have to pay any attention to all the drivel spewed out by the various religious doctrins invented by bored old men seeking power over me.

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I'm not going any place were animals aren't welcome. That wouldn't be heaven that would be hell. I dropped Christianity at 18 for a lot of the same reasons the OP did. In my 40's I found a Pagan path and I've been very happy ever since. I am a Pagan Druid. I could have gone with Buddhism, but Paganism suits me better. I am my own guru. People seem to get locked into the religion they are indoctrinated as a child or someone sells them and can't seem to walk away from it even when they don't think it makes any sense. I don't understand why other than brainwashing by those who think their spiritual dogma is the only way view the Universe or have something to be gained by it. There are many paths in the spiritual forest, each step is your own choice, choose well.

When people tell me I am going to hell, I ask them where are you going. When they say heaven, I say I'll take hell, then, heaven would be hell with you anyway.

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I'm not going any place were animals aren't welcome. That wouldn't be heaven that would be hell. I dropped Christianity at 18 for a lot of the same reasons the OP did. In my 40's I found a Pagan path and I've been very happy ever since. I am a Pagan Druid. I could have gone with Buddhism, but Paganism suits me better. I am my own guru. People seem to get locked into the religion they are indoctrinated as a child or someone sells them and can't seem to walk away from it even when they don't think it makes any sense. I don't understand why other than brainwashing by those who think their spiritual dogma is the only way view the Universe or have something to be gained by it. There are many paths in the spiritual forest, each step is your own choice, choose well.

When people tell me I am going to hell, I ask them where are you going. When they say heaven, I say I'll take hell, then, heaven would be hell with you anyway.

The funny part is the paganism/shamanism is much older than Christianity and actually gave birth to the modern religions. The original Hebrews were a shamanic desert tribal people.

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I'm not going any place were animals aren't welcome. That wouldn't be heaven that would be hell. I dropped Christianity at 18 for a lot of the same reasons the OP did. In my 40's I found a Pagan path and I've been very happy ever since. I am a Pagan Druid. I could have gone with Buddhism, but Paganism suits me better. I am my own guru. People seem to get locked into the religion they are indoctrinated as a child or someone sells them and can't seem to walk away from it even when they don't think it makes any sense. I don't understand why other than brainwashing by those who think their spiritual dogma is the only way view the Universe or have something to be gained by it. There are many paths in the spiritual forest, each step is your own choice, choose well.

When people tell me I am going to hell, I ask them where are you going. When they say heaven, I say I'll take hell, then, heaven would be hell with you anyway.

Very true. I think I would take hell as well if some of the people I knew were going to heaven. I also agree on their being many spiritual paths. I think the spiritual world is more vast than the ocean. All the possibilities are endless.

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Maybe the way to deal with conflicting beliefs is to avoid having beliefs and stick to opinions, which you think may or may not be true with varying degrees of assurance.

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Maybe the way to deal with conflicting beliefs is to avoid having beliefs and stick to opinions, which you think may or may not be true with varying degrees of assurance.

Are you an agnostic?

Doug

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How is that relevant?

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How is that relevant?

It isn't. But that's the sort of answer I would give and I am.

Doug

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I always find it sad that people throw out beliefs because of the actions of people, no matter how horrible those people are. Not that I have a problem with atheists or agnostics at all, it just seems that if you have a belief in some higher power, it would be separate from the knowledge that some people just suck... unless you subscribe to the fairy godfather/mother type.

Believe what you want to believe and what makes sense to you as long as it doesn't harm yourself or others. If there is an actual heaven after death, why on earth wouldn't it have all the good stuff, like pets, in it? If it didn't, it would hardly be heaven.

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If the average dog doesn't get into heaven, then the rest of us are in BIG trouble.

Doug

The story (more or less, for example, the man and dog die together, by drowning, each trying to save the other's life) was written by Earl Hamner, Jr, for the classic TV series The Twilight Zone. The epsiode was titled "The Hunt."

>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dZjwsxYtUA

Eighty, I thought you'd like this. I just love this so much. It's from Elizabeth Gilbert who wrote Eat, Pray, Love:

I met a monk once in India who told me that one of the karmic roles of our beloved pets ("part of their service," he said) is to come into our lives as teachers. They are sent here not only to teach us how to love, but also to teach us how to die — because they do it so well, and so uncomplainingly. We need these lessons, you see, because we are so famously bad at death, we humans. We are so afraid of it, so angry at it, so resistant to it. But our furry-heads, they see death differently. And as they slip away from us, they try to show us, "Watch me do this: It's really not that difficult. You just have to let go…"

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