I believe I am posting this in the proper forum. I grew up Catholic. At a young age my parents had stopped taking me to Church and I had had a sort of "falling out."
My sister had ventured into western versions of Christianity. I couldnt even name them if I had to… I had gone along with her sometimes and the stuff was torcher… I couldnt stand it. I read the Bible at a very young age and while I dont remember much, I remember the basic principles.
I know that ALL religions have the same basic principles. I decided to post this here, because it was my core roots as a child, and because Catholics have a very open mind about things. (Yeah, I know most people say they dont, but try talking to a Jehovas Witness, or a Protestant, or anything else)
The problem I had with the westernized versions of Christianity are the “cool” factor they threw in. The modernized versions of things to sway young people into the faith.
Now, I have never been a prude, but I guess I just saw through all of it for what it really was: a money machine.
As a matter of fact many Churches had the seemingly same aura about them.
A good friend convinced me to go along with him to a church, I cant remember what it was but it honestly scared me. People were speaking in tounges, touching me, begging me to accept their God. I really felt intimidated.
Once I had got into college I never really lost “faith” so much as I had lost a specific religion.
I read everything I could from Christian theology, to the Bagvad Gita, to the Te Tao Ching, as well as a lot of basic principles I had learned through physics, quantum mechanics, and other scientific theory.
By this time I thought I had a pretty good understanding of faith, and life, and the universe. I mainly focused a lot on Buddhism as it seemed very similar to Catholicism in the traditional sense I had known. (Please dont take offense to that, I will elaborate further.) Buddhism offered me a faith I could literally think about on a long drive and be content with myself. The idea of Karma, and Dharma and being one with everything was a lot like what I had thought the original idea of Christianity to be.
Contrary to popular belief the Buddha is not to be worshiped, but that God is within ourselves. (Another Christian teaching).
This allowed me to really feel content, I was in control, while still (maybe) holding on to the Catholic teachings when I was a kid.
Of course, in college I had gotten a few tattoos, started smoking, drinking, being with women, you name it. I guess it’s commonplace for many college students.
The problem with Buddhism, is where do you go when you have a question? I learned a lot about how to cope with many aspects of life that still apply to modern life in our world.
I could justify anything, with any book, with any text, of any Religion.
I could justify killing someone (in self defense) just by some text from the Dali Llama. (Not really sure what Catholicism teaches about self-defense and the right to life.)
I became very proud to life in this country. I stuck to the constitution of the USA and took advantage of every right I had as an American citizen. I realized, I could vote, buy cigarettes, buy guns, buy liquor, sign up for a draft, and I took advantage of those rights. Everything I do, and every belief I have can be attributed to faith. I can defend anything I do by using these Religions, and the Constitution of the United States to ultimatley make me feel in complete control of my life at all times.
Then, recently, I started thinking a lot more about Catholicism.
I remember going to a beautiful Church in Jacksonville, Florida called Immaculate Conception in downtown.
I find myself wanting to go back to church but I am afraid of scrutiny.
How will the Father see my abscence from the church? How would God view the tattoo of a Buddhist priest on my arm, or my affairs with women out of wedlock. Or even more intimidating sometimes, the other attendees of the church?
These are things I cannot change. I cannot give up everything I have learned so much from Buddhism, I cannot give up my right to life, I cannot give up my long-time girlfriend. I certainly can’t erase the tattoo on my arm either.
Some people may say that is ridiculous, that your faith should always come first. Expect me to renounce everything I have ever believed in no matter what religion it came from. Tell my long-time girlfriend I have found Jesus, and that we can be no more (she doesnt have a religion by the way, I guess she is Agnostic, I dont talk to her about these things.)