God in America
Support provided by:
5d45ffa1-63b8-4e2e-8278-d22748

Faithbook 5d45ffa1-63b8-4e2e-8278-d22748

If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things. ~ Rene Descarte

How Do You Imagine God?
God in America and USA WEEKEND Magazine are partnering to explore Americans' images of God.

How do you imagine God? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I was raised Catholic in the Southern Baptist Bible Belt and went to a Baptist College the first two years. After learning my religious history, I began to question it. I majored in Art and Photography and began to see God as a creator and us as mini-creators. I still question religion because no one can agree on any one thing. I am only certain of two thing. Death and Mysteries.

My Beliefs

I believe ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I do believe, but only in the mystery. I am always seeking to increase my faith, but it's hard in our super divided religious communities. I tend to fall back on my Catholic roots though.
My most powerful moment of belief was ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator during two deaths. I believed in God strongly when I lost a baby boy at birth, and when my father died a grumpy old man in his children's arms.
My greatest moment of doubt was ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator When I was studying history and anthropology, and after reading Bishop Shelby Spong's book, Jesus for the Non-Religious. It was a very enlightening book.
My spiritual life means... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator that I acknowledge a power greater than myself, that I am honest with the God of my understanding, that I'm grateful for answered prayers and blessings, but also trusting that he understands my doubts and fears.
The biggest misconception about my faith/belief system is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Is that it's not religious. Religion can turn people off. Real love of everyone and every thing created is my belief system. Mother Teresa was Catholic but she encouraged Hindus to be better Hindus, Muslims to be better Muslims and Christians to be better Christians. Rick Hodes, a volunteer Jewish Doctor in Ethiopia works along side of Mother Teresa's missions. They love, that's all and it speaks louder than proselytizing.
My spiritual role model is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Jesus,Mother Teresa, Dali Lama, and Thich Nhat Hanh, and finally a Pope that thinks like me---Pope Francis.
The tenet/practice/teaching I appreciate most about my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator That God is merciful, and that he uses his creation, even humans to teach us a little about "himself". For the most part, my Catholic faith community has been more supportive of my doubting than my protestant faith community.

My Faith History

As a child I believed ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Everything the Catholic Church taught me, even in the face of ridicule.
My spiritual journey has been ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Not so unique. Many have questioned!
I was raised as ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator a Catholic in the Baptist Bible Belt. I learned to appreciate Christian scripture at a Baptist College. My mother and her family were Catholic and my father considered himself Agnostic.
Are your beliefs or practices different from your parents? If so, how and why? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Very! My father died a non-believer, and my mother is still a very devout Catholic.
If you have children, did becoming a parent change your relationship to faith? If so, how? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Oh yes. I married a Baptist and we became Lutheran. We loved the Lutherans and the message of Grace.

How I Practice My Faith

Where and when do you practice your faith? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Everyday when I arise and I sometimes attend mass. I have also been a member at several different protestant Churches throughout my life.
Does your family practice more than one religion or faith? If so, how do you blend the traditions? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator My family is a mixture of tolerant and sometimes not so tolerant of different denominations---Catholic, Baptist and Pentecostal.
How easy or difficult is it to live your faith? Why? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I live in Atlanta, Georgia. My community is a "melting-pot." I try to love my neighbor as myself, just as my faith taught me. I have the utmost respect for other faiths. It's extremely easy to feel welcome at any Christian church, especially here in the south.
In my house, the thing that most represents my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator My bookshelf.

Religion & the Public Square

What should be the role of religion in politics? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator That's a tough question. Respect---President Obama reminds us that we are a nation of many faiths and non-believers. I think Christian values have already been established here. We should uphold those values and always err on the side of love.
Should courses about religion be taught in public schools? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Yes. We are very illiterate when it comes to religion. I am stunned that many Christians do not know where their faith originated and a lot of people seem confused when explained that Jesus was Jewish.
Should the Bible, Torah, Quran or other religious texts be taught as works of literature in public schools? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Yes, because we are a melting-pot. The Bible teaches God, the Torah teaches God, the Quran teaches God, and it's also Historical. We teach the religious beliefs of the indigenous people of America. I think all faiths can become unbalanced. Virtue is in the middle. I firmly believe that the more educated we are, the more we are able to love our neighbor. Ignorance creates fear, which begets hate.
Is interfaith dialogue important? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Yes. We can close our minds and hearts to others because they are different and ultimately it leads to disdain.
Do you feel comfortable discussing your faith with others? Why/why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator For the most part. However, I get some negative feedback from my mother, who is devout Catholic,and I get some negative feedback from my protestant friends.
Do you feel that you have a duty, because of your faith, to put your beliefs into action? What are some of those actions? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Yes. Faith isn't idle, even if it's weak. I volunteer, and I try to be the example I want others to be. I volunteer at a Literacy organization and one of my adult students wants to learn to read the Bible. I would help him even if he wanted to learn to read the Quran. I believe in an Evil force, but I feel that I use good judgement when discerning what is evil. I always try to err on the side of love.
Are religious beliefs compromised by engaging in politics? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator There is a fine line. Every society needs rules and order. We could break most of the ten commandants from the Torah/Old Testament down into secular,ethical rules for getting along in the world. Altruism is secular but aligned with most religious beliefs.
Has 9/11 had any impact on your thoughts about religion? Are you more/less interested in learning about other religions? Do you feel more/less comfortable expressing your religious beliefs? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator No! I know that there are "good" Muslims, good "Christians" good people all over the world! I am always interested in learning about other's faiths.

Get Involved

Interested in touring your community's sacred spaces? Want to host a God in America viewing party? Visit our Outreach page for details.
Major funding for God in America provided by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the John E. Fetzer Institute, Inc.  Additional funding provided by the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations. God in America is produced for PBS by WGBH Boston.
The Pew Charitable TrustsFetzer InstituteThe Arthur Vining Davis FoundationsWGBH
Exclusive corporate funding for American Experience provided by Liberty Mutual.  Major funding provided by The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  Major funding for FRONTLINE provided by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.  Additional funding provided by the Park Foundation.  God in America, FRONTLINE and American Experience are made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Public Television viewers.
Liberty MutualAlfred P. Sloan FoundationMacArthur FoundationPark FoundationThe Corporation for Public BroadcastingPBS

Published October 11, 2010

FRONTLINE and AMERICAN EXPERIENCE are registered trademarks of WGBH Educational Foundation
Privacy Policy   PBS Privacy Policy   PBS Terms of Use
Web Site Copyright ©1995-2011 WGBH Educational Foundation