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Saturday, September 1st, 2012
If you’re friends with me on Facebook, then you know that A) I talk about my son a lot and B) I love discussing politics.
This election is epic! Here we are, deciding which man we believe best represents our own code of morality and decision-making.
For me, the most interesting part is regarding the discussions I’m hearing about the religious beliefs of the candidates, particularly from conservative Protestant Republicans.
Up until 3 years ago, before becoming your neighborhood friendly Ron Paul supporter, I was a Republican and I voted that way every four years.
Like many other conservative Protestants I knew, I voted for the Republican candidate, if for no other reason, because he was pro-life.
While I am still very pro-life, my focus is no longer on choosing the “better Christian,” or in other words, the most conservative Christian candidate.
Here’s the irony: Many Protestants don’t consider Mormons to be Christians; some of the biggest reasons being because Christians believe that Jesus is equal to God and that Jesus was physically raised from the dead. (My understanding is that Mormons don’t believe those things.)
In other words, certain Republican Protestants are voting for the “better Christian,” though, by their own definition of what it means to be a Christian, the man they will be voting for is not actually a Christian.
Instead, they’re voting for the man who best represents their particular Christian values.
This is the first election in a long time where Republicans don’t have a Protestant Presidential candidate to stand behind.
(The only Catholic President in American history was JFK, who he was a Democrat.)
What if Mitt Romney was a conservative, pro-life agnostic instead of a Mormon?
How “non-Christian” can a Republican Presidential candidate be and still be backed by the conservative Protestants as the “better Christian” candidate?
Of course, I keep having to put “better Christian” in quotation marks just to be clear that I personally I am not publicly judging their allegiance to Christ; I think if I did, it wouldn’t be very Christian of me.
Similarly, I think it’s unfair to demonize a President just because he’s with the “wrong” political party.
President Obama is not evil. Nor was George W. Bush. They just happened to be the first two Presidents we’ve had since the Internet has been relevant to mainstream America and since blogs have been subconsciously influential to the masses; so these recent Presidents have been much more rapidly criticized.
It can be so natural to call their actions evil when you’re part of the opposing political party. In the process, the whole other political party in that case becomes evil too.
In other words, either half of America is evil; it just depends on which side of the fence you’re not.
Like I said in the beginning, we as a nation, as parents of children whom we are trying to instill our own morals into, are trying to vote for the man we believe best represents our own code of morality and decision-making.
Sure, our own personal religious beliefs should play into that. But at least for conservative Protestant Republicans, it’s not as simple this time around as choosing the “better Christian.”
So, will America choose a Christian or a Mormon for President in 2012?
Top images: US Republican and Democrat, via Shutterstock.
Bottom image: Two voodoo dolls, via Shutterstock.
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2012 Presidential Election, agnostic, Christian, family, Mitt Romney, Mormon, President Obama | Categories:
Deep Thoughts, Must Read, People, Spirituality, The Dadabase
Wednesday, August 8th, 2012
Year after year, polls like this recent one by Gallup show that “churchgoers” not only experience more positive emotions but also less negative emotions than people who do not regularly attend church, synagogue, or mosque.
So maybe you’re not like me; having been intrigued since Kindergarten on how we all got here and what happens to us after we die.
This is for the agnostics who are curious about taking their kids to church, as well as, for those who haven’t had much exposure to church but are curious enough to consider checking it out.
Therefore, I am attempting to explain why going to church is a good idea for you and your kids, not from a religious perspective, but from more of a scientific one.
1. Friends. For you as well as your kids. Most of my friends and my wife’s friends are somehow traced back to our church. In fact, we met each other through a mutual friend that I met through a group of friends I knew through my church.
2. Community. Similarly, you find yourself among other people who are bound to have things in common with you and your children; even if it’s just the fact you are parents with kids around the same age at the same place.
3. Activities and events. There is always something happening on the church calendar and much of it involves free food. Not to mention, most of the activities themselves don’t cost anything to participate. Basically, it’s free entertainment with families you have stuff in common with.
4. Child care. Free child care. While you are in the main worship service, as well as Sunday School, your kids are being supervised and taught in their own age appropriate Sunday School and worship service where they make you crafts out of construction paper and popsicle sticks.
5. Family values. Church is a great place to get moral reinforcement. It’s no secret that pop culture, everyday life, and even just our own negativity can be a drag on our ideal personal standards.
6. Motivation. Imagine the hope that comes out of the belief that the creator of this universe not only loves you but has a plan for your life. When you go to and belong to a church, you are exposed to a way of thinking that ultimately affects how you see the world, yourself, and others.
7. Opportunities to help others. You’d be amazed at some of the unique ways you can help others and your community through your church. It is likely you will find a venue to serve others in a way that is framed around your talents and abilities.
8. Routine. When you expose yourself and your kids to all this positivity every week, after a while you’re bound to see a noticeable difference in the way your family interacts.
Even if you have trouble believing in all the religious aspects of going to church, there is evidently something to the fact that people who go are generally more positive and less negative.
The way I look at it; even if at the end of my life I was wrong about God this entire time and when we die, we just die and that’s it, I still wouldn’t regret having believed.
Because if nothing else, I had a sense of hope amidst all of life’s uncertainties. Not to mention, as the polls show, I lived a happier life than had I not believed.
But I do believe. And I invite you to check it out. Even if it’s just for your kid.
Feel free to email me (look at the top right side of this page) if you’d like for me to personally help you find some good churches in your area. I’ll try to make sure you don’t end up going to some kooky place where they drink poisoned Kool-Aid or attempt to catch a ride in a UFO that follows a magical comet.
(Or read the follow-up post I wrote a couple of days after I published this one, A Non-Churchgoer’s Guide For Finding A Church For Your Family.)
Top photo: Chapel Sign via Shutterstock.
Bottom photo: Childcare Concept via Shutterstock.
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Sunday, September 18th, 2011
If I wasn’t a devout Christian, what would I believe in instead; especially after becoming a dad? I try to imagine…
I don’t have enough faith to believe in nothing at all, so I would probably think that my life as I know it is just a figment of some big computer program in which I play a small role; unaware of how insignificant I really am; basically, I’m getting the idea from the movie The Matrix. Or maybe I would believe my life is simply a dream inside of a dream inside of a dream, like in the movie Inception.
Either way, it’s clear to see that if I didn’t take the words of Jesus Christ literally, along with all 66 books of The Bible, that I still would be led to believe that I am part of someone else’s plan; that there is some all-powerful force behind it all and for some reason I was chosen to play a part in it.
Something I hear other parents say a lot, or at least grandparents, is that when they look at a young baby, they see an innocent angelic being. I’m not knocking that concept, because I totally get it. But for me, what I see more of when I think deeply about my son Jack, is a human currently incapable of understanding right from wrong, but who nonetheless needs no instruction on how to make the most destructive decision possible.
Jack naturally would choose to crawl down the stairs if I wasn’t there to stop him. He would stick my car keys into the electrical outlets if I wasn’t already 23 steps ahead of him. He would never sleep, never get his diaper changed, and never leave the presence of his parents- using his crying power to try to sway his parents’ interception.
So the fact that Jack needs no help in being prone to make the wrong decision would definitely say something to me if I had no religious beliefs. It would clearly show me that despite man wanting to be good, on his own, he is prone to do the opposite.
That would cause me to realize that as a human, I am in need of some kind of intervention or path to lead me to be reconciled of my flawed nature- which is wired with good intentions but ultimately bugged with morality viruses.
But I wouldn’t be okay with the belief that there is simply some “higher power” who would usher me into a heavenly afterlife just because I was a “good enough” person. Because what exactly would be the standard of “good?”
What would make the most sense to me at this point is that there must be a God who not only created this whole universe but who also Himself would be willing to intervene in my morally imperfect state, helping restore flawed mankind to the state of Paradise that this world once was.
That way of thinking would ultimately cause me to be curious enough to pick up a free Bible in a hotel room somewhere and start reading The Old Testament, taking notice of the reoccurring theme of a perfect man who would eventually show up to willingly take on imperfection and sacrifice his life for all of mankind.
Then as I would move on to The New Testament, I would read about how God Himself came to Earth in the form of man; bringing to life the ancient predictions of The Old Testament.
I would ultimately become fascinated by this Jesus fellow, eventually believing that He was the answer to my state of moral depravity. I would recognize that no matter how hard I tried to be good enough on my own, I would ultimately fail and never be “good enough.”
Humbled of my pride and eager to embrace this mysterious yet somehow practical savior, I would become a solid believer in this man from Galilee.
Even if He wasn’t God, who He claimed to be, I would still be so enamored by a man who has managed to lead so many millions of people astray by his false teachings within the past 2000 years, and who could cause people who didn’t believe in Him to still at least say he was a good teacher, despite Him being dead wrong or even lying to people that He was God.
And that’s how ultimately, I would have become a follower of Christ, simply by observing the nature of my son. That is the gospel according to Jack.
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5 gallon, agnostic, atheist, baby blog, Bible, Christianity, daddy blog, Deep Thoughts, faith, fatherhood, Galilee, God, higher power, Inception, Jesus, New Testament, Old Testament, Paradise, Paradise Lost, religion, The Matrix | Categories:
Deep Thoughts, Must Read, Spirituality, The Dadabase