Faith and belief

In my previous post, I wrote on my lost of religion. I no longer believe in the institutional church and I believe its time has come and gone, so the question that follows is: What do I believe in?

I had my doubts. This happens to believers who constantly question tenet beliefs. This is natural. It’s how one grows in faith (Although, to be fair, questioning one’s faith has been known to lead to lost of faith as well).

I mentioned, previously, that I lost my faith; however, I still continued to pray and to believe. It became apparent that part of me still believed in God. I just didn’t believe in the God I grew up with.

For a number of years, I believed that there was a God. I still held the tenet of the Trilogy of the Godhead. I just questioned everything else. The role of the church, the role of priests, and the stance on its teachings: confession and forgiveness, the woman’s role within the church, the teaching on pro-life (abortion, euthanasia, and suicide), its stance on divorce (Although, this has changed recently), its stance on homosexuality, and the stance of celibacy. The reports of sexual abuse by priests in the late 1980s and all through the 1990s and a bit later, in Canada, the report on residential schools (by all denominations) turned me away from attending church. I believe the church lost its moral standing to teach or lead others in the faith.

I find myself church-less.

I still believe in the Trinity of the Godhead. I believe in the power of prayer (I just don’t pray for myself other than for guidance and for “Thy will be done;” since, everything else would seem self-serving and “Wish listing.” I don’t believe in praying for money, or things (God doesn’t care if you are living well here on Earth (Being a good Christian doesn’t mean you get rewarded with things. On the contrary, Jesus preached against putting things (money) ahead of one’s faith) “Then Jesus told His disciples, ‘If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.'”
Matt 16: 24 (NIV)

I try to live a good life. I attempt to treat others as I would like to be treated. I don’t always succeed, but I try my best. I haven’t intentionally set out to hurt anyone, but no one is perfect. I am only human. I haven’t always lived a holy life. I am tempted as much as anyone else, but I do my best.

Truth

I no longer do the confession thing (I follow the reformation tenant of seeking forgiven from God directly). I have stopped studying the bible, but I believe I will be returning to this practice; however, I am a firm believer that one does not find the meaning of life through studying religion itself. I believe the Truth will be found in faith, but that science and philosophy play a part in this discovery. I used to think of the search for truth as a coin, with Religion on one side and Science on the other side, and somewhere between these two schools of studies led one to the truth. Now I see, that philosophy also plays a role. By Truth, I mean the answers to all our questions, why are we here and what is our role (how do we fit in the big picture of things)?

So, this is where I stand. I will continue to search.
—Robert Confiant 25 August 2018

Footnotes:
Bible verses, https://biblehub.com/matthew/16-24.htm

I no longer do religion

I grew up strict Roman Catholic. I was pretty “goody, goody” as a kid growing up. The first time I swore was when I was in Grade 7, and I did so on a dare. I remember it clearly. There were only a handful of boys in the classroom with me and they kept promoting me to swear, which I did. I said, “Fuck off,” but it was merely stated. There was no emotion behind it.

In my late teens and early twenties, I thought of entering the seminary. I attended church numerous times a week. After I hit thirty and then completed university, this desire to attend the seminary only intensified. I started to attend church daily and sought to complete the two philosophy courses I required in order to apply for the seminary. I even started researching and corresponding with religious orders and the diocese of Toronto. Around this time my brother had died, my dad was dying, another family member was fighting cancer. My father passed away and then my mother got sick; this was the first of my doubts in God. Also, I began to question my religious education and teachings. I began to disagree with the church on its stance on homosexuality, women’s issues – their role within the church (priesthood opt), abortion teachings, and its stance on married priest and celibacy (I believe they should make this optional). I guess the final straw that broke, which caused me to question my faith, were the horrendous reports of sexual abuse by priests coming out of Ireland, some states in the US, and Newfoundland. I ceased going to church.

Losing my religion

Funny thing though, I never stopped believing in God, Christ, or the Holy Spirit. I continued to pray.

At the age of 40, I came out, and with the churches stance on gays, church was history. I attempted to go back. First, I attended the United Church, and then Presbyterian Church. I am not sure why I ceased attending church altogether, nor have I really quested why. Perhaps this was because I had my faith. I realized I did not need to attend church.

I was watching online some of the victims of child molestation by priest from the latest report coming from Pennsylvania when a Bible verse came to mind:

“No longer will they teach neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,”
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.”
Heb 8:11 (NIV)

Actually, the recall was from the previous verse:

“… I will put my laws in their minds
and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.”
Heb 8:10 (NIV)

I believe the abuse and the residential school issues are indications that the institution of the church is dead. The church is done (The residential school issue, in case you are not familiar, was a series of boarding schools for indigenous peoples founded by the Canadian government and ran by churches for assimilating indigenous children into Canadian culture. Many children attending these schools were physically, emotionally and spiritually abused). It’s leaders no longer have the moral authority to guide or teach people. Does this mean that the spiritual body, which is the true church, is likewise decease? Of course not, I believe we the church, it’s people, have arrived at the moment where the church, as an institution, has concluded and we are the cusp where Christ will be found from within in our contemplation and from within our hearts.

I for one believe and I don’t require attending a building to prove it.
—Robert Confiant 25 August 2018

Footnotes:
1) Canadian Indian residential school system, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Indian_residential_school_system
2) Catholic Church sexual abuse cases, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_sexual_abuse_cases
3) Bible verses, https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+8-10&version=NIV