I promise I'm not pushing any type of agenda!
Last semester I took a class called Reading of the Old Testament according to the Tanakh and the (also brilliant) professor gave us an extra credit opportunity by going to a lecture that my current professor (CP) was giving on the sources of the world's religion.
CP is very objective; he began his lecture stating that his findings and studies were not based on a spiritual level. It started with Pan-African religions and branched off from there. After the lecture, I talked to some of his current and past students and they aggressively suggested to take his any of his classes. So I enrolled in World Religions and last week we went over a huge list of religious terms (sidenote, CP told us that we could use the Encyclopedia of Religion, Oxford Dictionary of Religion or just the Oxford English Dictionary, etc., to find the definition of these words. Anything that wasn't subjective on the terms) within different categories: philosophic, elements of religion, concepts of divinity, special concepts and religious groupings. What I found interesting is when he pointed out that, if you just get down to the basics, theism and atheism are two sides of the same coin, much like Batman and Lex Luthor. Theism is very, very sure that God exists and atheism is very, very sure God doesn't. In fact, CP told us (and keep in mind he had already told us to stop taking notes because this was just his opinion) that if anyone was accurate, it was agnostics who reserve the right to be doubtful and then just go on their merry way.
I called my boyfriend to tell him this because he's agnostic and he actually liked that theory. Also, the fact that I have an agnostic boyfriend is something that would have made my mom's back go up when I was younger (and my younger self as well.) His reasoning is different; his mother subjected him to her long-term relationship with a man who verbally, mentally and physically abused both of them for years and years, all while dragging him to church. I can understand his position; a lot of really horrible shit happened to him that shaped his young look on life so how could God be present when that happened. But we're both two sides of the same coin as well; while I wasn't physically abused, my mom was seven fucking shades of fucking crazy and I would have never gotten through it with some Divine Being giving me strength through myself, friends and family.
But that's my point; being spiritual works for me just like his agnostic views work for him. And neither one of us pushes each other's agenda on one another. I completely understand and respect his view and, after some discussions and sending him this, he understands mine as well. We can have discussions on it, and we did a few months ago at his school's failed parent/teacher conference. He asked did I believe in the Bible and I said I don't consider myself associated with any type of religious organization because then we couldn't be having all the sex that we have, but I believe that we should be Christ-like; that is don't be an asshole, be good, pass it on. There are some beautiful elements of every Holy Scripture but I don't like when it gets into women can't cut their hair, you can't get divorced, you can't be friends with gay people, you can't be in an interracial relationship.
I mean seriously, if there is a heaven and hell, it's probably not like anything people imagine it (although I did like Dante's view on Hell. Flatterers are steeped in shit? That's pure genius) so I have a hard time believing that God is some homophobic, misogynist, racist, judgmental being. But that works for me! If you believe God is something else, like the Flying Spaghetti Monster or you don't believe in God at all, I ain't mad at ya! Because that works for you.
A little back ground: I grew up in a religiously conservative and conservatively religious household, there's really nothing new you can tell me about Christianity unless you make some shit up. Essentially, we were Christians and good people; we didn't hang out with non-Christians or bad people unless we were spreading the word. But who were bad people? People that smoked, people that drank, people that swore and didn't go to church (so minus the smoking, how I am now.) My mom say to ask me "Why has thou lied!" when I was in trouble. We were in church all the fucking time and she use to drag me out on Saturdays to go spread the gospel. So what changed? A lot of things went down by the time I hit 13:
A) As a young, black child, I didn't understand why I kept hearing how as minorities, we should fight for equal rights but fuck gay people.
B) It is preached that we're all sinners but gay people are the ultimate sinners, so fuck them. Seriously, it's ok to forgive murders but we can't "forgive" gay people?
C) My mom worked at a bible college and ended up embezzling from the missionary fund. Thinking that they would throw her in jail, she checked herself to a mental hospital.
D) After realizing she wasn't getting charged pressed against her, she stopped going to our church, but continued to let me go there. By the way, I didn't find any of this out until just a few years ago so a lot behavior that didn't make sense at the time came into perspective.
E) My mom tried to pull a "do as I say, not as I do" while she was
So yea, I totally just try to be a good person in whatever I do. Live your life, get a pet and be happy, silver margaritas are the best.