So I met and married DH who is an athiest. We got married by a Luthern Pastor. Neither of our children are baptized and neither are hubby or myself. We have told the kids that when great grandpa died he went to heaven. DH was a bit torn on what to tell them, but I was the one who really wanted to tell them about Heaven, because in all honestly, it sounds way better than telling them great grandpa got put in a big oven and made into ashes....which is really what happened.
I've had a few things happen in my life that really makes me doubt my non-belief. When I was in my late teens I was suffering a deep depression. I woke in the middle of the night when I heard a voice, and I saw a glowing figure in my room. Next morning I started my road to mental health recovery.
2nd thing was when I was pregnant with my 1st son. We were in a hotel the morning before another ultrasound and testing for hydrocephalus which had been confirmed with a 1st ultrasound (ventricles in the brain were HUGE, eyes were too wide set, and an artery was missing from the umbilical cord). DH and I both went to bed bauling our eyes out. Woke up the next morning and I felt completely comfortable and really happy. I looked at DH and said ëverything is fine!". Went for a bunch of testing, more ultrasounds and all was well. Venticles were fine, eyes were fine, and heart and umbilical cord were good! Called my grandma and she said she knew all would be ok because she asked my grandpa (who passed away years ago) to watch out for us.
3rd thing is when I was quadding with my sister a few years ago. I rolled my dads ATV down a 150 foot bank. I went down the bank first and landed 10-15 feet down the bank laying facing up the bank. The quad was rolling down the bank after me, and was rolling really close to the ground. I didn't have time to move and right when the quad was by my head, I closed my eyes and waited for it to land on me. But it didn't. For some reason it went up and over top of me, landed by my feet and went another 140 feet down the bank. I have no explanation as to how that happened. I walked away with a bunch of cuts and a minor concussion.
I don't know what I believe. In a way I believe in evolution. But in a way, I feel like there's something more out there, more than I can imagine. I've always felt a sense of belonging and a feeling of warmth and comfort when I've gone to church with my grandma. I've also seen the friendships that have developed within people who attend the same church, and I've had a hard time finding a friend who understands my commitment and dedication to parenting my children.
I WANT to believe that there is a heaven, I want to believe that there is someone up there watching out for my children and family. I don't feel as if there's any harm in believing.
I don't know what my DH would think though. I met him as an agnostic. We've had talks about it before and I've never actually expressed my interest in maybe going to church, so I'm not too sure what to think.
The only thing that really concerns me is that if I do go explore that side and I decide that I don't believe it and no longer want to attent that I will get hassled. I also don't know really anything about the bible and don't want to feel stupid.
I can think of a few things you might do.
One would be doing some reading. I'm sure people would have lots to recommend. At the moment my favorite that might be appropriate is The Illumined Heart. Or if you might like to try some fiction, maybe C.S. Lewis - his Space Trilogy is good, or maybe some Madeline L'Engle. Or you could try some history.
You could also try going to a church. There are a few groups of Lutherans, and I don't think you would be likely to get hassled by them if you didn't stay. As far as the evolution thing goes, if that is important to you, it's more fundamentalists that are likely to reject it quite harshly.
You could also look for an Alpha group. Alpha is a course that was designed for adults to just learn the basics of Christian faith. It's not really even directed at one denomination, because most of what they teach is so basic. It was designed by Anglicans but it can also be found being given in other churches, Catholics for sure and probably Lutherans.
And the other thing is that it is always worthwhile to spend some time in prayer. You can just talk to God, or say a more formal written prayer if that seems less intimidating. The Lord's Prayer is perfect for almost any occasion.
As for the bit about grandpa went to heaven... I don't think that you have to say that if you don't believe it. You could say something like"grandpa became part of the earth." which would be true if you have interred any of his ashes in the ground (or a body of water). I think there is something spiritually significant and positive behind the idea of our bodies rejoining the rest of creation after we die.
I like this “quiz” on BeliefNet. It’s more of a self evaluation to determine which religion you most identify with. The questions are very indepth and allow you place a priority range on your response. It covers all known religions including Paganism, Hindu and different sects of Christianity, etc…
The results give % of how much you match all of them. Very fascinating!
Wow, I just took this quiz and Unitarian Universalism came up as 100%! I used to be a member, but now belong to a "mainline to liberal Christian Protestant" church at 76%. And Buddhism was high, too. I would say the quiz was scarily accurate and has given me lots to think about.
I am very much in your situation, OP, except that I have explored both Unitarian Universalism and my current Christian church to the point of becoming a member of each. My dh is also firmly atheist (although still worries God will strike him dead when he says this) and was when I met him. So was I. I now refer to myself as a supplicant as the closest word to describe my religious journey. I pray and beseech to God. I seek faith and answers. I worship. I am often not sure who I am praying to or worshipping. I've decided that's okay. I was so fortunate to find a very liberal Christian church with a minister, who happens to be female, who challenges and inspires me. This church is very works-based, in that everyone is expected to carry their faith forward into the world. That is a very good fit for me. In fact, I am giving the Minute for Mission tomorrow on Palestinian fair trade olive oil, a project the United Church officially supports.
I don't think I will ever believe Jesus is the only son of God or the only way to salvation. I'm not sure I even believe in salvation. I don't really call myself Christian. I can say I hae faith, but not that I believe. I don't know what the distinction is, but it's important to me.
As for dh, the problem there is that I do want to share my journey with him. He is not interested. He is okay with me taking dd, but I only do so sometimes. I'm not sure what I want to teach her, other than knowing I want her to respect all religions as valuable. It's hard to carve out time to go to church every Sunday and attend other church events when it's not a family thing. I have made friends there, but I want them to know I have a family! That's probably the hardest part. However, I have found other women in this situation with their partners and exploring this dilemma with them helps. In fact, one friend has become a family friend and our husbands roll their eyes at us while we celebrate the Sabbath and our kids play together. It's nuts, but I'm finding a path.
I love religion. My dh does not. I have accepted that I will probably never choose one religion or God definitively; but I NEED to worship, pray and be part of a congregation. It has enriched my life so much.
I keep seeing places to explore religion. The community education program through our community college is doing a class this spring that will explore several major world religions, and I saw a sign up outside a church today about an "exploration" class they were starting.
I think that a lot of people are seeking right now, which means that a lot of avenues for exploring are opening.
but everything has pros and cons
I related to your post and thought you might enjoy this book. It has really opened up some new ideas for me in regards to spirituality and was just what I was looking for when I was feeling like you are now. It was recommended to me by a friend and reiki practitioner. I was able to find it at my local library so good to check there before buying a copy. The book is titled Anatomy Of The Spirit by Caroline Myss.
I understand you so much..I have the same experience. I was agnostic but it didnt satisfy me because I couldnt find answers to my questions. I tried not to ask but I couldn stop myself. I started to explore these avenues( Linda on the move mentioned above)
It takes me 2 years to find religion best for me By the way this religion was the last option to explore for me as it was always scaring me... I choose Islam..
I belong here too. I have identified as an atheist for most of my life, until I realized that I do believe there is more. I briefly explored Christianity, but that did not feel right for me, for many reasons. I took the belief o matic quizz someone linked (thanks), and it came up with 100 percent reform judaism... interesting. How do you begin to explore a religion you feel attracted to? How do you know what is right for you?