May your days be filled with wonder!

Reflections regarding religions and the following of Christ by K. D.Snyder.

Regarding Religions and the Following of Christ:

In this age of technical bombardment: TV, internet, radio, etc… never before has an individual on the planet been
exposed to so many opinions.  While it is wonderful to extract so much feedback from the world, it can also lead
the vulnerable astray.  There is seemingly misdirection or a lack of direction to many people’s lives and I fear it
leads to much of the hopelessness, greed, violence, and soullessness that we see in the world.  We need
guidance; we have always wanted guidance towards something greater than what we find on this earth.  Reading
the religious literature, the interpretations are as numerous as the people who read it.  The question should be:
What is the basis for this religion and the source of its guidance?  While seemingly bright and thoughtful people
belong to all religions and often simply follow the faith of their parents, I will not judge further as I did my own
shopping around and came to my own conclusions.  Having read up on many of the religions that have guided
people through the ages and in the spirit of free opinions, I will give mine on God and Christ and finding Peace.

But first, who or what is God?  Let me define God as the Creator; Goodness itself; the Spirit of Love.  God is an
entity so beyond us that I believe we are actually quite ignorant of God.  (I used the word “defined” because I
could not believe in God who is not Good or embodies Love.  I will continue more on this later.)  That God is the
epitome of superlatives is unquestionable as we view the universe, creation, and life, and the physical and
chemical interactions around us that we still barely comprehend with science. (BTW, I am a scientist by training.)  I
also have no problem with God using evolution to create.  Physically, our bodies, our world, our universe are
complex chemical palaces.  With the Gibb's free energy equation taking Entropy into account, a slow chemical
process of creation is conceivable.  BUT you have to start with something to bake a cake. Whether you create the
ingredients out of nothing or create an actual cake out of nothing, it doesn’t really matter.  Creation of anything is
simply impressive!

Why would we believe in God?

Spiritually, if you do not believe in something greater than yourself, you must also accept how truly insignificant
you are.  You are as important as an ant; maybe less, if you are of an unproductive nature.  You must also realize
that if there is nothing more out there, nothing really matters – really, nothing.  On the other hand, if you believe
there is a God, then God and his guidance really should be the most important thing in your life.  

Let us return to God being defined as a good and loving Creator.  The fact that this Creator is beyond our
understanding does not mean He is good.  That God is an artistic genius does not mean He is good.  That God
awes us with wonders does not mean He is good.  We all know of many human artists or those with brilliant minds
or abilities who are not necessarily decent people.  I believe God is good because He created all this, then took
the time to send a messenger (once man had developed enough brains to understand and receive the message)
to show us how to live. That messenger embodied the perfection of God to such a degree as to be considered a
true Son of God.  As you may realize, Christ often referred to all of us as children of God.  He taught us to pray to
God as “Our Father” and explained that we all have the potential to hold Heaven inside of us. This true Son
showed us how to live through love and mercy, and to die without violence while showing forgiveness.  He showed
us how to overcome our selfish, evolutionary animalistic urges and to live by His example.  His teachings were so
Godly and so beyond my intrinsic natural behavior, that if I ever come even close to emulating Christ, my joy
would be, indeed, Heaven.

I am a Christian, but do not belong to any man-inspired religion or brick-and-mortar church.  I may one day; but at
the moment, I find my inspiration in God’s creation: on a beach at sunrise or in a forest on a mountain peak.  I
belong to Christ’s “Church”, but one without walls, where there are no arguments, no misinterpretations, and no
misunderstandings.  As far as I can discern, Christ’s teachings exemplify Godliness better than anything else I
have seen.  Let His Way and our deeds define us.  Therefore, anyone who tries to behave with love, mercy, and
forgiveness is a Christian, whether they think it or not.  And a self-proclaimed Christian who acts with righteous
violence and claims hatred against anyone is no Christian at all.  We must also keep in mind that Man can corrupt
anything.  The fact that one could say historically Christians stole from the poor to build their cathedrals, killed
mercilessly throughout the Crusades and the Inquisition, and now abuse children, should not turn anyone away
from Christ as these were clearly not His teachings.  One must return to the pure source of guidance, Christ's life
and his teachings.  Likewise, when comparing religions, one should examine all sources and examine the truths
behind each.  

I call myself a Christian because my goal is to try to follow Christ’s teachings.  Focusing then on Christ’s teachings
in the New Testament, the first rule is: “Love God (or Goodness)” and the second is: “Love your neighbor as
yourself”.  Those rules really say it all.  (So, if someone asks you to do something evil in the name of friendship or
love, Goodness must always be considered first.)  They are all I need for guidance and certainly should and do
keep me quite busy.  Of course, I usually fail miserably and get caught up in my selfish little life.  I know very well
what I should do on a daily basis but my focus strays so easily.  The big bonus is that I know that if I do try with all
my heart, God will forgive me my failures.  This forgiveness is the ultimate gift to receive (no matter what you have
done in the past), and to hopefully pass on to others.  

The pure message in the story of Christ who had so much power and yet was a humble, loving servant to his
fellow man IS Godly.  He was demeaned, betrayed, tortured, and killed alongside thieves; and He still showed no
violence and forgave those who harmed Him.  I believe this is why He came and suffered, to show us how to live
and die in this world, that we might reach Godliness.  (The excuses we would give if he hadn’t suffered can be
imagined: “Well, of course HE could be magnanimous, he wasn’t feeling the pain I am in.”)  Even when we realize
how horribly He suffered to bring us this message, it still isn’t easy for us to follow his Way.  But this was God’s gift
of love to us.  This love, with its giving nature, its lack of violence, and its total forgiveness, takes away all fear
and results in Peace.  I write this in the hope that someone else out there might find His Peace.

                                                                       K. D. Snyder
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