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My OnFaith 5: Oh, You Thought This Would Be EASY? :D

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1. Is religion or spirituality important to you in your daily life? If so, how? VITAL. It is the central focus of my life, from the time I was a an ardent atheist cultural Jew whose intellectual father raised me to be a skeptic, to now, more than ever, as I get older (frighteningly fast) and grow increasingly horrified at how far I am from what I had wanted to be. My focus has shifted from external accolades and material success to finding happiness in the face of all circumstances. That is the true enlightenment/religion to me. 2. How has your understanding of “God” evolved throughout your life? I've always sought God. But it Bible seemed so irrelevant to me. I remember feeling so comfortable as an atheist - the world was so sure. Not having a God and knowing one doesn't exist, that our bodies go into the earth where we lived when we died was reassuring, stable, and provable. Science was so real and logical. God talked to me even when I was an atheist. I heard him! :) When I was a generic New Age-r, the Universe was very very good to me. Now that I'm a born-again (rather recently), I have a somewhat tense and tempestuous relationship with God. I see him as punishing, petty, judgmental, and unfair. This is probably because I just escaped from a cult-like church who was abusive and hostile and whose members continue to harass me with hate mail. (Real church-y, huh?) I refuse to let this perversion by man taint God's name. They are not one in the same. And evil exists everywhere - within churches, too. I still strive for intimacy with God, but now I know that, just like in marriage, you must protect your most important relationship by not allowing outsiders within it. Closed-loop God-ing, you could say. 3. What do you think about religions other than your own? I love 'em. I've explored many and I see congruences more than differences. Intellectually I of course understand the disparities, but there is a universality to man's search for meaning through God, and through our deep, innate yearning for spirituality. I'm so glad we have a panoply of beliefs because there is so much to learn. 4. Can you share a time when your faith helped you understand a significant event in your life? This is a long-game. I can only see God's timing in hindsight, not during the turmoil. I used to live in abject regret over every choice in my life that didn't turn out the way I'd hoped - lambasting myself unfairly and for much too long. But now when I look back, I see that God was running a Long Game that took years of twists and pratfalls (with the joke at my expense) before the payoff and the reason was revealed. Not to compare God to a conman, but hey He'd be the best one ;) 5. What is your faith in one word or phrase "You can hurt us but you haven't killed us yet!"