Authentic responses and reactions from Question #1 from my New Dawn Narrative interviews. There’s a lot here BUT please take time to read each person’s story. By the way, feel free to add your answers or comments!!
Describe where you are on your personal spiritual journey (agnostic, atheistic, religion, denomination, your path of personal development, guides, spirituality, belief system, way of understanding):
Male, Age 24, LA
I understand the need for the human race to have something higher to believe in. Something that will keep you honest and constantly critiquing yourself. It is an instinctive trait of every animal to be on cautious lookout constantly. Through our rise to the top this “looking over our shoulder” has given way to religious figureheads like God, Buddah, Muhammad, and Zeus. So I feel its not so much what you believe in, but that you take teachings from these “religions” so as not to repeat mistakes and to help lead yourself through life so as not to collect a stack of regrets.
Male, Age 36, OH
I am on a path of seeking. I enjoy living by the mantra of; question everything. I have found that Faith is imperative for any persons development. I believe we are all connected. The Kingdom of Heaven is inside of you. I believe one message can change the world: Love thy neighbor as thyself.
Female, Age 25, TX
Once I started studying human nature and the history of the church, it was hard to have faith in the church. I know that is not were any faith should be placed, but much church doctrine is based on what church leaders said and did as the church grew. I can see why certain things were necessary then, but they don’t make since for today.
Anyway, I don’t think it is right for a “christian” to pick and chose what they are going to do and not because that is not how the religion was set up. So I chose not to be part of that religion or any other.
I got to that conclusion through rational thought. And that is what I value more than anything else now. It is my life’s goal and calling to teach others how to think so they can make rational decisions. All I want people to do is make informed decisions! Whether it is about religion, politics, finances, etc. I want people to believe in things for some reason that resonates with them, not because a pastor or parents or the media say something. I want people to know why they believe in something.
Male, Age 40, IL
Personal Spiritual Journey has been at a standstill since my divorce 11 years ago. However, During those 2 difficult years of growth while divorcing and after being abandoned by the church of my youth (which I worked for) I switched churches to a more liberal open local Bible Church. I feel in those 2 years I learned more about God, Christ and Christianity in general than I had my entire life. I think being hurt helped me HEAR what God was saying, But being abandoned and rejected by people I knew my entire life was quite a learning experience.
As for my spiritual journey, I’ve been kinda Jaded ever since. I changed quite a lot spiritually during that time and even switched from KJV only to NIV which just made more sense when reading it to me. But as for a daily walk with God – I know He’s there, I know he loves and watches over me, but just don’t want to walk or talk daily with him still. I’m not bitter or angry with him. It’s just not my thing anymore. Do I still talk to and acknowledge God? Sometimes. Just depends on the mood really.
Male, Age 20, VA
At the moment I’m not really sure what label somebody would give me. I’m an atheist in the fact that I don’t believe in God or a god. I’m agnostic in that I’m not against believing in God or a god, in fact I would love it if something that big existed. I used to read a lot of Norse mythology. That is such a great religion. What’s the greatest achievement in a Norseman’s life? Dying in combat for the glory of their gods. What happens after you die? The Valkyries, Norse angels, carry your spirit to Valhalla where you battle all day (in good fun of course), after everybody is “dead” again you are resurrected, you feast and drink and be merry until the next morning. At the end of time, Ragnarok, you get to fight alongside your Gods and your friends souls against the hordes of evil. What a great, simple belief system! Too bad they’re only stories. Religion wise, I am a confirmed Catholic, but I only went through with that because my parents made a promise to God that I would be raised Catholic, and who am I to break my parents promise to a divine entity? I have no “path” that I’m following. I don’t have any guides. I want to believe in spirits and souls, though I can’t even guess what that would mean who what they would do, I just kind of like to imagine that they do exist. I don’t know why.
Male, Age 26, LA
I’ve taken a bit of an all-inclusive approach to spirituality. Got tired of dogmas and decided just to love everything and everyone. Seems to work out pretty well for me. Mainstream Christianity has taken a rather sad turn in the past years.
When I left the church, I started asking those big questions and found my way into a lot of fringe areas of thought and philosophy. Definitely not the most popular route, I started studying indigenous cultures and their understanding of spirit. I wanted to get back to the core of my relationship with spirit and doctrine just wasn’t doing it.
I’ve taken some strange roads. I’ve been to central america and have participated in shamanistic rites involving ayahuasca, a powerful hallucinogen that has a very common affect on most people that is both healing and profound. There is a reason these plants and others like it grow on earth. They are tools for communion with nature and have been used thusly for thousands of years.
I lived in Costa Rica for 3 months a few years back, and in my times there I started really paying attention to they ways that I thought about everything and how it affected my daily life. Thoughts truly do become things, which is why many people just seem to manifest their fears most readily. Many people waste their thoughts worrying and all it does is create more of the situations/things they’re afraid of.
I live in the mystery of the moment these days. I don’t do plans, I don’t do itineraries. Going with the flow has become more than a mantra. I still have a bad habit of taking the weight of the world unto my shoulders, my mom says I’ve done this my whole life… I’ve just had to learn to trust in spirit to sort it out. I change the world now by changing myself. I’ve come to understand that the current state of the external world is the result of our internal struggle as a species and as we move closer to truly loving ourselves and each other.
Male, Age 20, LA
I chose my own path. I don’t confine myself to the beliefs of one such religion over the many others. I have my own beliefs that are based upon the common beliefs of all religions. I do not attend church. I do not pray on a regular basis. I do however live as a good person to my friends, my family, and people to whom I have never spoken a word to in my life. I feel the belief and faith in a higher being is part of my life but I don’t spend every waking moment praising him. If that makes me a bad person, so be it. God’s word teaches us to be good people to everyone and everything, help others who need help, and do the right thing to make a better life and better community for those around you; and that I do. I think He would be happy with that. I did get a religious background from attending a Catholic middle school and a few years in a Baptist school.
Male, Age 21, VA
Currently, I’m at a crossroads, so to speak. I’ve been in and our of church since September of 2005. Once I joined the Navy, it just became too hard for me. I was already bored of the whole thing when I was a sophomore in high school. I’m trying to get my life back where it should. Me and my fiance have made some steps to get our lives closer to “right.” The big thing right now, is that I haven’t actually prayed to God in a good five years, I’d say. I feel like he doesn’t want to hear what I have to say. I’m too big of a screw up to deserve to talk to Him and get His help.