So I was given a survey on faith and theology to fill out for someone's research. I think you'll enjoy some of the answers I've given.
How would you describe your faith tradition (or lack thereof) to someone who had little or no understanding of it? If you are religious, what is the highest good as described by your faith community? What do you find most appealing about your tradition (or lack of it)?
Me: Biblical mysticism. Highest good: Mercy is the central law of God. Recieve mercy for yourself and likewise extend it to others. What you sow, you reap. I like its Simplicity and it's liberating.
How did you come to embrace your current beliefs? Was there anything (or anyone) that particularly shaped or changed how you see the world? If you belong to a religious community, are you in line with official teachings or do you hold some personal beliefs that differ from the group?
Me: A very long journey out of an abusive and controlling sect of Evangelical Christianity shaped by the school of hard knocks and soul searching over many decades, and an awakening to the human condition. I live outside of the camp in the proverbial wilderness.
Is there more to reality than the physical world that we can see? If so, what is it? If you believe there is a God, how would you describe God?
Me: More than likely. I tend to ascribe to quantum theory, multiverse theory and multiple dimensions. God is ever present in all things. God is that which animates all of life, as it were. God is Life itself. Without God there is no life. The duty of man is to choose between life and death.
What do you think makes us human? How do we differ from other living creatures? What is it that makes some people seem so inhuman (ie those who lack basic empathy for others or who commit terrible crimes)?
Me: The difference with humans is the high-brain, making complex logical and moral decisions that transcend basic instinct. Seeming inhuman is a product of being human. The paradox of the inherently flawed man desiring perfection. Flaw, of course, is what is percieved being the ideal rather than accepting reality as is. So if a human seems inhuman it could be in the eye of the beholder who has an unrealistic ideology of what IS human. Or it could be someone else trying so hard to measure up to that standard, and in doing so he sacrifices his own humanity. Some idealogues become mad in their obsession with perfection and their actions are most cruel. The story of Adam and Eve in the garden illustrates this. The lust for the perfect knowledge of good and evil warps our perception of reality. We punish ourselves and each other with the word “should” beating each other to a bloody pulp, instead of accepting the reality of our own condition; the perfection of imperfection. The chief end of humanity, then is accepting that he is morally flawed in the eyes of God and man, and therefore must humbly accept his own need for mercy. Once he accepts that reality he can easily extend mercy to others. This, I believe is true humility,and false pride and arrogance stem from rejecting that reality.
When making a moral or ethical decision, what sources do you look to as a guide and how do you go about determining the right thing to do? Do you believe that there is a conscience or moral compass common to all people?
Me: One universal law: Sowing and reaping. What you sow, you reap, be it desirable or undesirable. If I want apples, I won't sow orange seeds. If I am on an Island with nothing but raw material, it's absurd for me to demand an apple from the ground if I have at first not sown and done all things necessary to grow a tree. All of the evils of mankind grow from the rejection of this basic law. Man wants to reap but doesn't want to sow. Or man sows in pleasure but refuses the hard labor of nurturing and growing what he has sown. Or man sows but hates what he reaps and foists it onto others to suffer with. One command: Mercy. Recieve mercy for yourself and extend it to others. Consequentially, the reverse is a reality of hell, a state one finds themselves in if they scorn and reject mercy, for hell is that state where no refuge of mercy exists. “Moral compass” is shaped by cultural standards and social mores programmed into people, they are only as good or bad as the culture and society of the person's origin.
Recognizing that there is some uncertainty about the question, what do you think happens to a person after they die? If you believe in an afterlife, how do you understand the relationship between life on earth and life after death?
Me: We shed our bodies as though they were worn garments. We move on to whatever is next, be it by choice or divine assignment. I tend to believe that this world, or plane of existence is a purgatory of sorts. Once we worked out our portion of the evils of mankind, we move on to greater…or we may have to come back depending on our work. So then it is balanced by God's command to mankind. Mercy.
7: What personal commitments do you hold as a result of your views? In other words, in what concrete ways are your personal choices shaped by the way you believe? Do you ever have doubts? Have you had any experiences where you felt absolutely certain of your beliefs?
Me: I lived an entire life struggling with the faith that was given, which I most certainly doubted. Once I saw all of the core laws I described above, I simply accept them as reality to work from giving no second thought to it. My personal decisions are based on the knowledge of consequences, sowing and reaping, action reaction, cause and effect, and which of the ends I find undesirable or desirable.
Read more: reddit.com