04/08/2017

So, I am going to go off on a bit of a rant here that I had to stop reading my textbook to go on. Starting now:

One of the things that is beat into your head when you are doing a slightly scientific major, which I consider Psychology as a slightly scientific major, in college is the scientific method of research.

A big part of the scientific method of research is that scientists will not research or study something that they cannot prove or disprove. Meaning, if we cannot prove that our theory/hypothesis on something is true and we cannot disprove it, we aren’t going to waste our time with it.
….except when it comes to God and religion.

“People return to religion … not as an act of faith but in order to escape an intolerable doubt…they make this decision not out of devotion but in search of security” – Erich Fromm

Okay, I am very religious.
If you have read my blog for more than a few posts, you will have noticed this about me. I am religious, it shapes most of my life, and it is something that I completely live by.
That being said, I am not trying to shove it down anyone’s throat or force anyone to be a part of my religion. I am into it, it’s okay if you are not.

However, I have heard many times in the news and in my life, scientists and people in the scientific community try to “justify” or explain the reasons why people should not be religious. Or even farther, that there is not a God.
They are entitled to their belief, but now after going through multiple classes on the scientific method of research, you are only entitled to that belief as a person.
Not as a scientist who would have to provide some form of evidence in order for it to be accepted by the community.
You, as a person only, feel that atheism is the only correct way.

Freud, the “founder of psychology” (who I just talked about having difficulties with, said this about religion:

“that to anyone with a friendly attitude to humanity it is painful
to think that the great majority of mortals will never be able to rise above this
view of life”

Why?
Why is it that a way of living, that has not been proven wrong by science, is something that needs to be risen above?
And it’s even more comical of a statement coming from the man whose theory on life is there is only sex and death.
So, rise above religion as a view on life so you can only see sex and death too?
Cool.

I just wrote this, because I get frustrated with hearing scientists say that religion is bad and yet they can’t even prove its validity.
In fact, trying to even prove its validity goes against the core research tactics.
So…stop please. Or at least preface your statements on religion with the fact that your statements are not as a scientist or a psychologist, but are your personal opinions.

/Rant Over

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09/04/2016

I have mentioned on here a couple of times that I take part in the very “fun” practice of online dating.
Or app dating, which I feel is in the same category.
Which many may roll their eyes at, but it is really not as bad as online dating used to be and almost is necessary nowadays.
But I will save the for another post.

One thing I made sure to do when I am on these sites is put on my profile that I am LDS.
I do this, because being religious (outside of Utah at least) is not such a common thing anymore.
By putting it on my profile, I am hoping that I am letting people know about a huge part of my life upfront and saving some time with certain questions that might be asked.
A big one is the hooking up question or grabbing a drink.
It doesn’t save this time though.
In fact, to date, one of my favorite first messages I have gotten on one of those sites was:

“What does ‘LDS’ mean? Likes dirty sex?”

Super close.

Anyways, this past week I got a message from a man who in the first couple of messages let me know that he used to be LDS until he had an “awakening” and realized that all religions are wrong and to just do the best with the time that he had here.
My response was just “Oh, well that’s nice.”
Cause really, what was he expecting me to say to that?

“What?! You’re so right! I’m going to change my entire life right now!”

That was said with sarcasm, in case you cannot tell.
But not meant to sound rude, just to illustrate that there was really nothing else I could say in that moment.

He then said “If you found out today that I was right, would you keep living your life the way you are now?”
Continuing with my simplistic approach, I just responded with “Yes.”
He then said:

“Really? You wouldn’t try all of the things you haven’t been doing because they are ‘bad’ or ‘sinful’?”

Okay, it’s in moments like these where I get this huge smile on my face.
Because when these moments happen, and not just with religion, where someone is trying to apply a stereotype or social stigma to me and I can’t help but smile and think in my head “Oh, you’ve got the wrong person.”

I responded back letting him know that I had left my church for a while and did a lot of those things that, in his words, were ‘seen by my church as bad or sinful’ and that they did not make me happy. That my church was what made me happy and even if I found out that it wasn’t true, I would still do the concepts in the church because it’s how I am happiest.
I ended by saying that I would want him to continue to do the things that make him happy.

…he blocked me after that.
Which is why I couldn’t take screenshots of this conversation for this post.
But keep in mind that this conversation happened over the course of 10 minutes and was only about 6 messages back and forth.

Now, maybe I am sounding like a jerk here in this post in how I responded to him, but I used to try to do something similar when I was not in my church.
I cannot say how he was feeling, but when I left I felt like I had been repressed and that everyone who is in that religion is ignorant and repressed and secretly wanting to do all the things that they “aren’t supposed” to do.
So, I would try to get them to admit it, because for me when I used to do that (I cannot speak for this man) it was a way for me to justify myself and what I was doing.
It was that small moment of condescension and “HA!” of proving that they were wrong and I was right.

I would be lying if I said that living a religion isn’t hard. It’s not popular right now and it is definitely not cool.
And there are a lot of people who do feel repressed in religious settings. I know a lot of people who wish they were out partying or doing some of the things that they would do without our religion.
I know a lot of people that follow my church just because that’s what they’ve always done and that’s what their parents did, so stick with what you know, right?

But that’s not everyone and that’s definitely not me.
I go to church every 3 hours every week, because I choose to. When I am faced with a situation that is, again in his words, ‘seen by my church as bad or sinful’, I actively choose to not be a part of it.
Why?
Well, I would be lying if I said it was easier or that if I said I have no desire to partake in some of those things.
But I choose to, because I know that I will be happier in the long run when I do follow the concepts in my religion.

I feel like I am probably rambling at this point and that relating this story is not as impactful as it was for me when it happened.
So, I will just finish by saying that I am a huge believer that people should conscious choose what they believe. Whether it is religion or lack of.
That in order to truly devote yourself to any belief, as you should or is often required when choosing a belief, that you should do so actively.
If someone is having doubts or feeling repressed, they need to work through those feelings until they can find what makes them happy.
That is something that I have done in my life and has made all the difference. It has made it to where when I am faced with a situation like I had with this man, I can easily tell them that I know that my church is true and that even if it wasn’t, I still would be doing the same things I am doing today.
And that either way, I am doing so with every bit of awareness of what my options are.

You’ve changed…

Recently I have gone through some changes.
Mostly I decided to go back to church, which wasn’t really a change in my mind.
You see, I used to be very religious and then I stopped.
So, in my mind it is not really a change, but rather returning to who I am. I was very religious when I was younger and all through my teenage years, but it wasn’t til I was 20ish that I decided I wasn’t about that anymore.
The problem with making such a huge decision like which completely changes you life and outlook, you have to really “prove” to other people who you are serious.
For example, I remember going through my blog and making any post about God private, because I was not about that anymore.
I remember saying some really harsh things about people who believe in God.

Well, two years later, you end up wanting to return to things that you once knew. You look at your life and try to find what originally made you happy.
And God has always made me happy.
But its not just happiness, I started to wonder who I was and what did I stand for?
I realized that I didn’t stand for anything. I remember watching a movie with my parents and watching these young men declare their love for God and I thinking “Man, I wish I stood for something like that.”
That’s when I remembered how I used to be and returned to it.
And I am really glad that I did.

It does leave a bit of an awkward situation.
For my parents and for people who have known me awhile, it’s no surprise that I went back to church. I used to love it so much, it was just more natural for them to see me go back.
In fact, I think a lot of them were relieved.
However, a lot of people who haven’t known me more than 2 years are a bit uncomfortable with it. I have a good friend at work who straight up pointed out to me that I had said some hard things about God and now to hear me talk about Him is just odd to her.
I have another friend who simply cannot accept it. It just doesn’t work for him that I changed so much.
But again, for me it’s not a change, it’s returning.

Anyways, now I am left with this mess. Especially on my blog.
Like I said, I remember marking all posts that talked about God private. And I have tried so hard to keep my blog so unbiased.
But this is a big part of my life. I don’t want to hide it from my friends that may not have known me long enough.
And how can I keep my blog honest to my feelings if I try to hide this huge part of me.

So, it’s going to be uncomfortable.
But I have changed and that’s it.

“Are you a spiritual person?”

One of the most common questions that I have found people ask when they are trying to get to you know is: Are you religious?

I am not exactly sure why this small part of a person’s life is one that can completely define them, yet somehow it does. I don’t think religion tells you anything about a person’s personality or who they are.
But people do model their entire lives after their religions, so I suppose it can provide some insight into who the person is.

Religion is a difficult topic for me.
I was raised in a very orthodox religious home. Because of this I feel that particular religion is a part of my culture.
Also, I am living with my parents and so I go to a lot of their churches meetings with my sister. In fact, I pretty much go to all of the meetings. I spend a good 8 hours a week doing church activities. A whole work day.
But if you asked me if I am religious, I would probably answer no.

As you can see, it gets a little confusing when talking to me.
Why would I say no when I go to church stuff?
Because I do not feel anything at these activities. I am just respectful towards my parents religion and the religion I was raised in and my sister wants me to go with her.
It does not bother me that I have to go.
But do I believe in it? No.
Do I follow their rules? No.
Thus I do not consider myself to be religious. I think to be religious  you actually have to stake something into a religion. You have to feel something and want to do things for that.
That’s not me anymore.

Anyways, the other day a person asked me if I was “spiritual”.
Now, I know that saying you are spiritual means that you believe in something, but I am not exactly sure what. I think it is what people who are not wanting to say they are religious, but they still have some form of beliefs.

It always reminds me of hippies and people who meditate a lot. They seem like very spiritual people. They put a lot of emphasis on being at one with nature and themselves.
Etc Etc Etc.

When it comes to the image that pops into my head, the one I described, no.
I am probably not spiritual.
But I would like to think that I have some form of spirituality. Sometimes I make references to the universe and the “fates”. I believe that we do have a soul.

In the end, I honestly don’t care much about whatever cosmic beings are out there. If they wanted to make themselves known, they would.
I think that we create our own purpose in life. Our actions and our strides and just the fact that we are higher functioning with personalities, goals and in-depth thought gives us value.
Which would make me a humanist, if we had to label it. Which people seem to want to have labels to it. Because if they didn’t need the labels, they would ask what your beliefs are.
Not what religion you are.

That’s all.

It’s a Priest.

So today I was at work and of course part of my job is to answer phone calls. I got a call from an elderly man and I began to take a message and he says his name is Father Last Name. (That’s not really his last name or else it would be super ironic). Turns out he is a Priest.

As we continued to talk, there came a point where I had to say a sentence that I would normally insert someone’s name in. The problem is he told me his name was Father Last Name. So it brought up a whole mess of questions. A whole dilemma for one sentence.
Am I supposed to call him Father? I’m not Catholic and I don’t know how that works. But is it disrespectful to not call him Father? The fact that he told me this was his name makes inclined to call him that. I mean, if that is how someone refers to themselves and introduces themselves, shouldn’t you take that into account and call them that?
I have a problem with that. Once someone tells me their name, they are labelled in my mind. Written in permanent marker on their forehead. Sometimes people will want you to call them by their nickname later on. NO! There is a time and a place where a person should be flexible. This is not it. Permanent Marker.

But the problem with the Priest is, am I being disrespectful because I am not Catholic and I am addressing him that way? Or Am I being hypocritical? And on the flip side, is Father an honorary title that shows years of study like a doctor? Because if he has somehow earned this title, it’s respectful to call him that.
I think he earned it just by agreeing to not have sex his whole life. Yikes.

I don’t know what to do about this. Hopefully he never calls back. I’m sure my boss agrees we don’t need business from with title issues.