God in America
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Langston

Faithbook Langston

I do not worship God in the traditional way of bowing on my knees and praising God. I worship whenever I see a tree, a sunset, a bird, or an act of kindness, for these, I believe, are all representations of God.

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 see God as a divine force that is the beginning and the end. God flows through the universe, and is like the ocean, while the creation is the waves on top. We are connected directly to God, and we are all part of God. We need God to exist, but God needs us to experience mortality and His/Her full potential.

My Beliefs

I believe ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator In the beginning there was nothing. However, there could not ever truly be nothing because when there is nothing there is the potential for everything. Due to this potential the Divine Consciousness came to be and started to form the universe, this moment, I believe, was the cause of the big bang. God was the universe, but more than that as well, for the universe is God's body, but there is a higher part to God which is God's metaphorical brain. With God came the laws of physics, and all the forces that the universe knows. Over time God used these laws to build the universe as it is now, and with this came life. Life, I believe, is the ultimate goal of God, for God was infinite in every way except for one, God was not finite. This meant that God could not be completely full for God could not experience death nor suffering nor the joys one can have on a temporal plain. Thus life was created so that God could fulfill His/Her identity and live through the experiences of the mortals such as the ocean experiences the waves. The pinnacle was humans, and possibly other intelligent extraterrestrial life, not because we are any better in essence than the plants or animals, but because we have the most diverse experience, and the freedom to make so many choices, thus we are able to share much with God. I do not believe God intervenes, it is luck and our decisions that make the world. I think that evil is here because it needs to be because since God does not intervene, and God must experience everything there is to experience through the creation the negative force was needed. God will continue to flow through the universe until everything has expired. But by then I believe God will be complete, fully infinite, and everything will reach a singularity. The waves which are the creation will collapse onto the ocean and become still, and everyone and everything will share in this completion of the divine.
My most powerful moment of belief was ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Everyday my faith grows stronger, I do not doubt anymore, but incorporate new knowledge into my beliefs if I learn something new.
My greatest moment of doubt was ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Back when I was a Christian. I could not reconcile the beliefs in Hell given the problem of theodicy. I thought it was very cruel of God to make everyone come to earth and suffer and then throw so many of them into eternal suffering just because they did not believe a certain thing. Once I started learning about other belief systems and started to put together my current beliefs I realized that this was not an issue.
My spiritual life means... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Every being whether they know it or not is spiritual. We all walk with God, we all exist in God. I meditate, but really I do not have a separate spiritual life. I live my spirituality along with all other aspects of my character for they are not separate aspects of myself, but all make me who I am.
The biggest misconception about my faith/belief system is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I don't really know anyone else who believes exactly as I do, but it seems that the Christians I've shared with think that I am limiting God by saying that He/She needs the creation to fulfill His/Her full potential. In reality I am saying the very opposite, that God is much bigger and much more personal than commonly believed, but sometimes in different ways.
My spiritual role model is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator The two men that I obtained the most from were Jesus, who I believe to be the avatar of God, and the Buddha, who I believe was enlightened. I do take the truth from many religions, but I do not know of the original author or speaker. Thus these two are very influential, and I think very sound. I also really respect the Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Han.
The tenet/practice/teaching I appreciate most about my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator We are all one, and we are all love.

My Faith History

As a child I believed ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I was raised Christian, and I understood the stories and teachings from a very early age. Back then I had no doubts that Jesus was the son of an omniscient, omnipotent, all loving God, and I thought it was common knowledge. This all changed somewhat as I aged.
My spiritual journey has been ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I was originally Christian. As a teenager I realized that many parts of the Bible and the Christian faith did not seem to be right. Some were contradicting, others taught against what science said, and others seemed to indicate God was not all benevolent. Being a person of logic I started researching the Bible as well as other faiths and started to put together the pieces. When I went to college I became deeply immersed in Buddhism and realized that many of its teachings made full sense to me. Through the years I kept growing in faith, not by taking bits and pieces that I liked, but what I could prove, and what was most likely to be true.
I was raised as ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator a very fundamentalist protestant Christian.
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 Yes. My parents are both good people, but neither of their beliefs made full sense to me when I started to grow towards adulthood. I developed a new faith that is my own, and they stayed Christian. I am fine with this as I accept members of all religions, but my beliefs did go a different way. It was nothing they did, I just found my beliefs to be more logical.

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 I have no church to go to nor any religious leaders to speak to, as my faith is my own. I instead practice everyday by meditating and praising the representations of God I see in the creation. I also like to share my beliefs with others, not to try to convert them, but in hopes that what I say helps them in some way.
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 Technically. Everyone in my family has different views, but everyone except for me and one aunt is pretty much if not fully a Christian. There is much debate of course, but in the end we are all family, and that is more important than belief.
How easy or difficult is it to live your faith? Why? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Living my faith is living my life. It is the easiest thing to do in the world.
In my house, the thing that most represents my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator The tree in the backyard as it represents life and the whole of creation in my eyes.

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 Religion should not be in politics. I am morally a humanist, I make morals based on what I see as rational and what does the most good and least harm. I believe that if everyone did this instead of listening to what some person or book says the world would be a much better place. There are people of all different faiths that would make excellent leaders and we should give them a chance. I am not against religion but I do think it should have a minimal if any role in politics. Look at the medieval Catholic Church, it mingled the two directly but it was very corrupt because of it.
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 I think that there should be elective courses that teach educational facts about religions such as the basic beliefs, where it came from, stuff like that. However, it should not be taught spiritually or in the place of science. That should be the parents job. If we allow the schools to teach our children to believe something then we do not know what they will believe or how they are being taught it. Schools should teach facts and when they teach points of view should acknowledge it is a point of view.
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 Once again I think they should be allowed to be taught in elective courses, but once again on a purely intellectual basis.
Is interfaith dialogue important? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Yes, very much. The world and my faith made more sense to me when I started to learn about other faiths. We all have so much to teach each other, and we should stop fighting over what is "true" and instead work together to make a better world.
Do you feel comfortable discussing your faith with others? Why/why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Yes if anyone wants to speak about my faith or theirs I am more than willing. I don't care if anyone else believes me, but there is good in all beliefs, and I want to help people in anyway I can even if that way is just to let them see things in a new way.
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 I believe I need to do what I can to help. I believe that everyone is equal and I should treat everyone as I would like to be treated, and always try to walk in love even if I disagree with someones beliefs or actions. So I try to always be kind and respectful.

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Published October 11, 2010

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