God in America
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only at twilight/my trophies' shadows fill/the empty spaces ~ R.A. Davis

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 am an agnostic when it comes to the God question. I do not think it is possible to know if God exists, but if it does exist, then it is impersonal, amorphic, and would be unknowable and entirely misinterpreted by man.

My Beliefs

I believe ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator in humanity, science, and justice.
My most powerful moment of belief was ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator in tenth grade when my "Morality and Sexuality" class teach, Sister Isabel, told the class that we should be angry with God at times and question God's existence. I never heard anyone say I could do that before and now it came from a nun who taught religion for 20+ years. That rocked the very foundation of my belief.
My greatest moment of doubt was ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator my last eight years as a Roman Catholic.
My spiritual life means... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator for every answered question to bring about new questions and to always keep learning.
The biggest misconception about my faith/belief system is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator spirituality and ethics come from a religion. I strongly believe one can be spiritual and ethical without being a part of a religious group, though I do agree that a community (not necessarily one where everyone shares the same ideology) is essential in fostering ones spirituality and ethics.
The tenet/practice/teaching I appreciate most about my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator deed over creed and that my beliefs can mature with me.

My Faith History

As a child I believed ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator in the Trinity, Jesus was perfect and all-loving, and that Satan wanted me dead.
My spiritual journey has been ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator rewarding thus far and hopefully will remain so.
I was raised as ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Roman Catholic. I have attended Catholic school from kindergarten to high school graduation (I even attended a Lutheran pre-school). Throughout that time I have won numerous awards and honors from my diocese and church community for my service and faith, including a medal called the Christian Courtesy Medal awarded to one who "exemplifies Christian values". I participated and held leadership positions in my school and church. I had also volunteered as an aid to a convent.
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 My parents are both still (liberal) Roman Catholics while I officially defected from the Catholic Church in 2012. For the better half of the 2000s I had become upset with how the Church conducted itself, it's social ideology, and especially with Pope Benedict, but my love of the Catholic community and the Catholics I met made me content. But when I realized last year that I no longer believed in Jesus as God and stopped attending Sunday mass, I knew I was done with Catholicism. I still love the community, but my lack of belief in Catholicism's dogma and policy outweighed my continued membership. So I defected. I now address myself as a Humanist.

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 My faith is practiced in every thought and action I take that involves or effects a person(s).
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 The majority of my family is Catholic with varying degrees of practice depending on the individual. Some of my extended family members are Baptist and devout ones at that. I am fortunate that my family has never had any conflicts or grudges over one's religion or choice to express it. Even I, who formally defected from Catholicism, have not been met with any hostility or disappointment by my immediate family.
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 very challenging being responsible for your own ideology. One of the many things religion offers is comfort, security, and answers. By leaving the Church, I have forfeited all of that. Also, I feel that we live in a nation rapidly becoming more Christian and ignoring its secular foundation. I am a religious minority by being irreligious and I feel American society is not always as tolerant and respectful of that as I feel it should be.
In my house, the thing that most represents my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator my framed poster of the Plato quote "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."
The song/book/film that most represents my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator song: "Rainbow Connection" by Kermit the Frog and "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong; book: the poetry of Lucille Clifton, Khalil Gibran, and Edna St. Vincent Millay; film: "Stranger Than Fiction" and Michel Ocelot's "Azur and Asmar: The Princes' Quest".

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 I have and always will support the seperation of Church and State. Religion is a personal choice and all groups, religious and irreligious, must be equally respected and protected by the government.
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 believe comparative religion should be taught in a secular manner. Religious literacy is essential in order to understand and participate in Western society. Throughout the world, religion has and still does influence historical events, the arts, politics, and people. To be an active and effective global citizen, every person should learn about religion and its influence from a non-bias viewpoint.
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 Absolutely. Irregardless of one's belief whether a certain scripture is the word of their deity or deities, all religious texts are historical treasures that speak of a time, people, their shared (or at least accepted) values, and society at that time. Many religious texts also contain influential and poetic verses that can be considered art. As long as none of these texts are taught as moral truth for all, I think it is important for as many religious texts as possible to be taught in schools.
Is interfaith dialogue important? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Not important, essential. I believe beauty comes from differences. Religious differences need to be explained and preserved because they enrich society as a whole and provide morality, community, comfort, and hope to billions.
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, I have no problem talking about my religious journey so long as my beliefs are respected and I can learn of others as well. I have been raised in an environment where I have no shame or fear in expressing my beliefs.

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Published October 11, 2010

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