God in America
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Don't think about all those things you fear; just be glad to be here.

My Beliefs

I believe ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I would classify myself as a 'deist' because I have never found a single religion to reflect my own experience with God perfectly, and even Deism isn't quite right. I pray and believe that prayor, giving thanks and repentance are essential to keeping a close relationship with God, attaining mercy and being a better person overall. I believe that God created the universe with set rules (physics, etc), and then just let things play out. I don't think he created us especially in mind. I believe all creatures on Earth are loved equally by God and we aren't really anything special. We are definitely the furthest from nature because we've put ourselves in that position, so we are suffering the consequences. I also believe that Taoism is the most accurate proposal of the structure of the universe and how it works in all cases, whether they be physical, emotional or mental. I don't see why people can't comprehend that God would create the universe with rules, and that we are just a species that evolved from the Earth like every other living thing. I do believe there is other life out there although I don't think the human species will ever get to meet it. I also believe that we are incapable of proving whether or not God exists (we would have done it already) and that 'believing' in God has only to do with faith and not proof through science.
My most powerful moment of belief was ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Updating this: I read the Quran last year, and it has completely sustained my belief in God. Ayas 10-15 in Surah 15, Al-Hijr have shaken me to the very core and made me realize how fickle our faith in what we see is. The ayas read as such: "..Already We have sent Messengers before you among many of the ancient peoples. But they mocked at each of the Messengers who came to them....Even if We had opened a gate for them in heaven, and they had begun to ascend through it higher during day time, they would say, "We are hallucinating! Rather, we have been bewitched!"
My spiritual life means... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I just want God to guide me. It's SO difficult to discern what is right and wrong in this world, and I've become so overwhelmed at times, trying to understand what is true, or who is right or which path to take. It's impossible sometimes on our own, so I just hope for God's guidance no matter what path I choose.
The biggest misconception about my faith/belief system is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I can't really classify myself into a large faith group (Christianity or Islam, etc) so sometimes people think that I'm 'lost' or something. I'm not lost.. I'm closer to God than I ever have been when I was trying to fit myself into a denomination or category of faith.
The tenet/practice/teaching I appreciate most about my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Since my beliefs flow so well with Taoism, I'm really glad that I had that influence while I was younger and even when I was having doubts about God in the past. Now I see that not only does 'the Tao' perfectly make sense with everything, but that it probably the only way to describe the works of God in the world and throughout the universe, on a large and small scale.

My Faith History

As a child I believed ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Like probably most people in America, I was raised Christian until I was old enough to start asking questions and experiencing things that tested my faith.
My spiritual journey has been ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Rough and patchy and there have been many times in the past where I considered myself athiest, agnostic and many other things. I think I've found the happy medium at this point but there's still times when I wish there were people I could relate with more closely. I'm sure there will be many other times in my life where I will have doubts, but I'm praying that God will continue to guide me to what's right.
I was raised as ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Christian, like most kids were.
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 Mom raised us Christian but I think even her views have changed over the years. Not sure about my dad. Either way I don't care.. I have the faith that's right for me and it really wouldn't matter at this point what my parents were.

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 pray every day and try my best to keep God in all my thoughts and decisions so I can be guided in the right (not the easiest or least controversial) way. (Another update: I learned after studying Islam that there is a word for this practice; it's called Dhikr, and it's one of the core practices of Islam. It's intriguing it came to be so naturally, which also makes me inclined to Islam)
How easy or difficult is it to live your faith? Why? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator It's quite nice because, like I said, I've found my own faith in God (or he has guided me in my own way) that makes perfect sense for my knowledge (about other cultures, science, morals), life experiences (both good and bad) and having an open mind and heart to life around the world. But I also wish there were more people who would stop trying to fit into the box of Christianity (because they don't even really believe in it or follow it.. of course there are plenty of people who follow Christianity strictly and purely) so I could reflect with them, if that's even possible.
The song/book/film that most represents my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator The Tao Te Ching. The Quran is also lovely and really describes God in such a pure way that makes me feel that I can relate my faith to Muslims more than almost any other religious group. I love Islam's view of God as being the most merciful and compassionate, and nobody can comprehend God. We just have to pray and do good deeds with Him in our hearts. I also love that the Quran stresses that even if we do bad things or "scheme against God", we could never do any harm to God and all we do is create harm for ourselves. Which is true also in light of the Tao.

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 This is touchy but I don't think there should be anything more than the basics. And I think Taoism would fit that role perfectly.
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 don't see why not. Religion has played probably the hugest role in human development, progress and history, both good and bad. But I don't think it's ok to stress that any one in particular is better than the rest, and I think the person teaching these sorts of classes should do it in a way that is completely unbiased (which would be nearly impossible to do). Also I think a class like this would kind of influence kids to turn to one of the main religious groups, and I just think that every person should find their own faith rather than adopt somebody else's.
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'm not sure and this is something I pray about. If God wants to use me in a way to do good deeds for the benefit of the world, then I want that made clear to me so I can do it.
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 It definitely made me more interested in Islam, and I have learned so much more about the faith since then and it has really opened my eyes to the beauty of the religion. It doesn't seem foreign or far away anymore. I totally understand what it means to be a religious extremist, and I see that ANY religion can have extremists, and I see them more and more in America every day. The extremists causing havoc in the Middle East are not Muslims.. they're insane people. As the Quran would say, they have strayed far away from God.

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Published October 11, 2010

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