Stepping outside of my faith in God, I have to say religion is a funny and strange concept. Here you have so many people living on earth believing in numerous "gods" without an ounce of concrete proof. Our faith is supposed to gather all the "spiritual experiences" it can, if we're willing enough. And on the scientific end of it, our brain can manifest such euphoria - a "god-like" feeling which can be confused with "God's presence". Many Catholics have seen "evidence" --- a statue of religious figures crying, a wood groove on an oak tree that resembled a man with a beard (Jesus) or seeing the Virgin Mary on a piece of toast up for bids on eBay. We're completely awed by it, until someone tells us it was rigged or tampered with -- or, that it was just a coincidence that their mind "saw" Jesus and not a groove that somehow can be looked at as a man with a beard. For me, I have had confirmations of messages of God -- like seeing the same scripture three times in one day. "Hmm, must mean something!" -- And while it does for me, it can totally mean coincidence for somebody else who doesn't have faith in religion. I sometimes wondered (still do kind of) if religion was a made up theory or myth so that people here on earth wouldn't have a fear of dying. Let's face it, the thought of death is our worst fear. Even if you're the most religious person, dying and going somewhere into the "unknown" -- even if that "unknown" is heaven -- it's still a scary transition. Will I be in pain? Will it hurt? Will I be lost for a while? Will someone greet me? Will I make it into heaven? All these questions have people absolutely scared out of their minds. So we ease them with religion -- a concept of not fearing what's on the other side. Or, has God already done that? Has he already eased the minds of all who are faithful?
In John 20:29 it states, "Then Jesus told him, 'Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.'" Do we get more rewards when we don't ask for proof? There is a section of the Bible that states it's bad to ask for proof -- it basically means that you lack faith. It's like sitting in an underground bunker, and some man walks inside and says it's raining. We can either believe him or we can go out and check for ourselves. But we can't with religion. In a strange dream I had a couple of weeks ago, I was swept up from out of my body, straight into a huge hospital-like building with tons of doctors in white coats (I know what you're thinking, no not a psyche ward), they were more like scientists and doctors experimenting and doing studies of some sort. I don't remember much of the middle of the dream, however, when I finally got out of the room to make it into the corridor of the building, I remember falling and sitting on the floor. I was almost to the elevator - but it wasn't an elevator - it was a way to get "home" - here on earth. It was like this time traveling shaft that would speed you into your designated dimension. I had to be escorted by some guy in a yellow suit who knew how to travel this shaft properly, so that I would get off at my "stop" -- like a bus. But before I made it into the "elevator" --- some doctor or scientist started running towards us screaming, "Don't let her go yet! Wait!" He then explained that I must not tell a soul about my experience when I get back home. I can't let any one of my friends, family or even strangers know about this place. He explained that each person or group on earth has their "Jesus" or "Allah" or "Buddah" -- and by explaining experience, it may take away their faith in their "little gods". See, he was trying to say that this "hospital" or "facility" was the creator of us. So by seeing "his people" form religious groups and seeing the many challenges we have here in political ways, it was determined who was the "brightest monkey" so to speak. They then placed me in the elevator, which I thought would be a smooth ride, but instead, it fell, letting us go faster and faster as the gravity took us down at such an incredibly high speed. I tried screaming out to the expert who was with me, "We're gonna fall and die! Stop this thing!" And he smiled and said, "And off you go!!!" I then floated out of what looked like a building in its first skeletons - still under construction. I then drifted off into the night, going through familiar roads that led to my house and then back into my body. When I woke up, my heart was racing so fast, and I kept hearing the words of the scientist guy telling me, "Do not tell anyone about this place!" --- Almost threatening me if I did.
I sat up in bed the rest of the night - not sleeping for one second more. Madelene asked, "You okay? Did you have a nightmare?" I just nodded my head and said, "Yeah, don't worry I'm fine." But I wasn't. This dream shook me up so much that I was afraid to tell anyone about it. The next day I was talking to my mother and she asked, "How'd you sleep last night?" I told her I was up all night with nightmares, and she asked, "Oh what did you dream about?" -- Which she never asks... "I forgot." I didn't though. I remembered all too well and it stuck with me. As days went on, I sort of relieved myself from the constant thought of that dream. I finally told Madelene about the dream and as much faith as she has, she believes that some religious faiths were meant to do just that. Later that evening as I was falling asleep when Madelene was watching some apocalyptic type of documentary -- they started to speak about different faiths and how religion keeps them from fearing the worst. It was then I muttered out, "People have their 'Jesus'', their 'Allahs' and their 'Buddahs' and that's what keeps them living with hope and less fear." I then realized what I said, as though I had absolutely zero faith in God and started to wonder about my dream again....about my faith again...about the dream again. All these thoughts now rush through my mind: Where did Dad go? What did he see when he opened his eyes really wide for the last time before he took his last breath? Is he okay? Is he in some sort of experimental facility or is he in "heaven"? Or, is he now just apart of this earth we call home? This is when I start feeling betrayed by God - like how can you leave our minds, our hearts up in limbo not knowing for sure? But, they say, that's where faith comes in. Faith. Some had faith in Greek mythology. Hell, I had faith in Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny till someone told me the truth. And Easter is derived from a pagan - a goddess named, "Ēostre", pronounced, "Easter". She was the goddess of fertility. They painted elaborate and decorative eggs and the bunnies were a symbol of fertility. It was a Pagan holiday - so how did Jesus' resurrection take over the entire meaning of its name?
Where are you, Dad?
But I digress. I guess I'm having a hard time lately "believing" or not believing. I'm not quite sure which it is. It makes it especially hard when you have a loved one who recently passes and you have no clue as to where they went. That part bothers me a lot. My dad used to sit outside with me out on the patio and say, "When I'm gone, (which was heard more than enough times), I'm sending a hawk as a sign!" As if that was such a rare thing up here. There are hawks everywhere! But now, my mother points up to the sky and says, "There's Daddy!" And it makes her feel somewhat comforted. I have to admit, when I see one swooping down, I kind of giggle to myself and say, "Hi Dad" under my breath, hoping he can hear me wherever he is. So even though my faith has dwindled just a tad, I can see how it keeps us all together, all somewhat sane and comforted as we travel through life wondering about the unknown places we're about to embark on. I still pray. I still have faith that God hears me. I guess it's still there, until the day I stop praying, perhaps thinking it's just random chitchats to myself. And while I know the Bible inside out, can quote scriptures and verses like it's nobody's business, I also know that it's a man-made book inspired... inspired by God, or maybe a euphoric generated inspired thought from the most powerful organ we have: our brain. I still believe. I still believe. I still believe. Say it.