Thursday, April 10, 2014

Journal Day #8

Would you consider yourself a religious person? Quite simply- what do you believe happens when you die? Have you always believed this? Do your current beliefs align with what you were taught as a child? And if not, what was the turning point? This week, talk about your religion or spiritual beliefs (or perhaps your lack of), and try to sum up, if you can, what you believe happens "next."

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I asked this question because I wanted to get all of us talking- and although I think it's great to be selective with what you share, every once and awhile it's wonderful to dig a little deeper. I've actually written about religion before, and after reading it to be sure I didn't repeat myself too much in a new post (I tend to do that), I ended up sitting here for 45 minutes trying to say something new about it and I realize that there isn't much to add.

So I hope it's not weird if I repost it here- I can't imagine I'll be reposting something old like this again for a future Journal Day, and please forgive me if you've already read it. The comments on the original post are really great and if you have some time to sift through them I highly suggest it- super insightful and beyond interesting. And I really, really can't wait to read what you have to say in your own posts, too.

Here's my response, originally posted here a little over two years ago. I also discussed religion in this post, after losing a close friend and my Grandma in the same week.

(I feel like I have to put a disclaimer on this because inevitably someone will take what I say personally, or the wrong way. Below I share some thoughts about religion (my lack of actually) and nothing I say is meant to question your beliefs or you as a person. These are just my thoughts and my own experiences, and it's important to me that you know that I respect ALL of you, all of your beliefs, and your right to practice, or to not practice any religion you so choose. The beauty of this world is that we are all so different, and I love that this is a safe place for me to share pieces of my life. Thank you.)


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There isn't much talk in blog-land about being a non-believer. There's a lot of religious talk, a lot of "I believe," and many beautiful sentiments about life and thoughts and talk of whatever god people want to put their faith into. But there isn't a lot about the lack of god or lack of belief from the other side. I am one of that other side, someone who doesn't follow a religion, and someone who isn't really sure if they believe in anything, really. I believe in Science, if that counts. But as far as a god, or an afterlife, or even a higher power of any kind, I'm not sure. And my "not sure" leans a lot more towards no.

It's kind of scary to put that out there, when I know that it's easy to judge, but it is what it is and that's me. I have plenty of close friends who are religious, and plenty who aren't. In my world it doesn't make a difference to me what you believe in, just that you are a good person with a kind heart.

I grew up Catholic, going to a big, beautiful church in our New Jersey town. I was baptized as a baby, received Communion in the 2nd grade, and was confirmed in the 7th. I can still recite the entire Catholic mass, beginning to end, and have vivid memories of the confessional, memorizing the Ten Commandments, and even scary Monsignor Donovan who would slap your cheek if you took Communion the wrong way. I loved Church growing up, but not for any reason other than I thought that all of the rituals were fun, and I enjoyed hearing the stories each Sunday in class. Most of our friends attended with us, and I even had my first kiss right outside of those big wooden doors in the 6th grade.

We moved to Arizona when I was 14 and we went to a new church a few times, but my Mom stopped making us go, so eventually we stopped going all together. My Dad was actually born and raised in South America, where he traveled with his Reverend father and missionary family translating the bible, but by the time he became a parent himself he had taken a few steps back. My Mom was raised Catholic and attended a very strict private Catholic school and at that point still attended church on special occasions, but without the pull of our friends and our holiday traditions, we all slowly stopped attending.

In college I met quite a few friends who considered themselves atheists. For awhile I thought I could identify with that group, but I soon figured out that labeling myself as that was the same as labeling myself a believer. I wasn't sure either way. And at the same time I wasn't really agnostic because I wasn't sure if I believed in anything at all.

Maybe it's weird but this has never been a big deal to me. I'm not searching to figure it out, and to be honest, religion (or my lack of), doesn't cross my mind most of the time. Recently it's only been a bit more in the forefront as the election looms closer and there's this huge debate regarding the separation church and state, but for the most part it's a non-issue. At times I feel like it would be a bit easier to have a religion, to have faith in something. But at this point in my life, and maybe for always, I know that's not for me. If I had to really talk about my beliefs, what I think really happens when we die, I look towards physics and science and astronomy. I look to people like Carl Sagan, who I find to be incredibly inspiring, and whose words almost always make me think. Science is my jam. And on the other side of the coin I gravitate towards some Buddhist principles too. Really, I am open to the possibility that one day I might say, "Oh, hi there God. So there you are." And I'm also open to the fact that it's highly possible that when I die, I just die.

In a way, I think this outlook has allowed me to be fully in the now. This is my one chance to live and to love this life with everything I've got. At the end of the day I can say to the universe, "THANK YOU," and maybe someone's listening, and maybe they aren't. But I have gratitude, I have a love in my heart for every single day I am given on this Earth, and for now, that's enough for me.

I'll leave you with one of Hank and my very favorite quotes from Ann Druyan, best known as the wife of the late Carl Sagan:

"When my husband died, because he was so famous and known for not being a believer, many people would come up to me — it still sometimes happens — and ask me if Carl changed at the end and converted to a belief in an afterlife. They also frequently ask me if I think I will see him again. Carl faced his death with unflagging courage and never sought refuge in illusions. The tragedy was that we knew we would never see each other again. I don’t ever expect to be reunited with Carl. But, the great thing is that when we were together, for nearly twenty years, we lived with a vivid appreciation of how brief and precious life is. We never trivialized the meaning of death by pretending it was anything other than a final parting. Every single moment that we were alive and we were together was miraculous — not miraculous in the sense of inexplicable or supernatural. We knew we were beneficiaries of chance… That pure chance could be so generous and so kind… That we could find each other, as Carl wrote so beautifully in Cosmos, you know, in the vastness of space and the immensity of time… That we could be together for twenty years. That is something which sustains me and it’s much more meaningful…

The way he treated me and the way I treated him, the way we took care of each other and our family, while he lived. That is so much more important than the idea I will see him someday. I don’t think I’ll ever see Carl again. But I saw him. We saw each other. We found each other in the cosmos, and that was wonderful."


So there's my response.  How about you? Leave a blurb and a link in the comments below!

Read more about my Journal Day project here.
Read previous Journal Days here.

52 comments:

  1. Wow, I so could have written this post. My bringing up was just like you and we have the same ideals.

    Great post.

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  2. I couldn't agree with this post more. Growing up my Mum was a Christian and sent us off to Sunday school every week. None of us were christened as my Dad is a non believer and wanted us to make our own decisions about it as we grew older, so this was the compromise between them. Like most things we grew out of it as we got older and stopped going. When I was a teenager I lost my Mum to cancer, which then made me have the same feelings as you when you lost your Grandma and friend.
    For me, I can't rationalise religion at all. My religious friends tell me it's part of Gods plan for us, which just angers me. Not because I don't respect their views, I do, but because I can't understand why some greater being who is meant to love everyone, would want to inflict so much pain on so many people.
    I'm all about science, I like the facts. That's just me and who I am. I don't want conflict, just for everyone to co-exist in a world where we're free to believe in whatever we wish - as long as it causes no harm to others.
    x

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  3. Danielle, you're awesome! I'm not gonna start writing my thoughts on religion here, otherwise I'll be stuck in this chair for at least two more hours. Really understand your point of view, though. Thank you so much for sharing a little bit of you with us in this blog. Lots of love!

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  4. Love reading your thoughts, Dani. I shared my story here:

    http://lifein2words.blogspot.com/2014/04/journal-day-8.html

    - sarah

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  5. I remember reading this a while back and loving it. I actually went back and read it when you posted the prompt :)

    "this is enough. this is everything. this life, this world, that's all. and it's amazing. it's perfect. i don't need to believe in something else because this world, what we have, is all i need. i have a beautiful daughter and an amazing son and a loving husband. i have health and comfort and happiness. i have everything i need right here and now. why waste my time hoping for anything else?" - http://www.mamages.com/blog/2014/04/journal-03.html

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  6. I love these thoughts. They feel very similar to my own:

    "I grew up in a family that wasn't outwardly religious. We never went to church, but there was a sense of faith within the family. I grew up with the understanding that things happen for a reason, if it's meant to be it will be, and certain choices determine your fate. You are also able to pursue anything you like as long as it doesn't somehow hurt yourself or others. I still really like that outlook on life. It's simple. It's not complicated with politics or confusing rules about when I can and can't eat certain things."

    http://www.microscopelife.com/2014/04/journal-day-8.html

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  7. Exactly the same here! My parents were forced to participate in their parents religious afflictions, but as they grew and became parents to my brother and I, it ended. We were never forced to participate but my parents always did a great job of answering any questions we might have. They even went along with my request to attend a bible camp one summer, because friends of mine were going and I thought it would be entertaining. I can vividly remember hearing a woman tell stories about a man named Jesus and it all seemed so very strange to me. Like a fairy tale. I asked my mom if I could stop going to the camp and she just smirked and very kindly said "yes, of course".

    My husband is not religious either. And so we have agreed (not really, like you said, it just doesn't come up much) or are on mutual terms to just 'live' rather than practice any religion. We believe in the now, these moments that come and go so very quickly and leave us feeling any certain way. I think not believing allows us, like you said, to cherish it all just a little more, knowing there isn't a path at the end. We know just how sweet our time is on this planet and are pushed to experience it all, especially now with our daughter in our life.

    I find myself during hard times almost wishing I could believe, in someone, or something. I think the act of trusting that someone else will take care of things, or show you the way can be very therapeutic, but I also on the other side, think that can be somewhat destructive. Facing challenges in life on your own, in my opinion, instills courage and bravery in yourself, something that a false sense of hope could easily dwindle. But I also find the rituals and practice to be somewhat intriguing. The idea that an entire family can have that one ideal in common seems to be rather calming. Knowing our family could never adopt such ideals, since we are also science believers, might be the ideal that strings us all together too. The truth is, there is no right or wrong, just what carries you through your daily. As long as what you believe allows you to be the best person you can be, you're doing the right thing.

    ((Also, thanks for the non-believer mention. There are a lot of us out here just like you!))

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  8. This is really exactly how I feel but like you, I was a little scared to talk about it because there are so many people that are openly very religious, and it's hard to talk about not being sure of how you feel. I also was afraid to talk about it because I have a feeling that my grandparents are my biggest readers (they see when I share things on facebook) and I don't want to dissapoint them. But I think you've inspired me to write about it anyways. Thank you for talking about it so eloquently. If anyone was offended then that's their problem!

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  9. I love that quote from Ann Druyan. I don't really know what I classify myself. I'm married to an atheist, but I was raised in a religious household and still find religion to be such a tricky thing to talk about and to be really open about. I appreciated this prompt, though, and the fact that part of me wanted to just skip it, but forced myself to (vaguely) talk a little bit about my own thoughts. I know my family reads my blog and I know that some of them are very religious and that my thoughts could cause a slight amount of bristling.

    http://andwontonmakesthree.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/weekly-prompt-beliefs/

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  10. My goodness, what a touching and beautiful quote. Thanks for sharing that. Here is my entry: http://thelittlekicks.com/blog/2014/04/10/journal-day-8-prompt-are-you-religious/

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  11. I really appreciate these prompts and this week I was really just tempted to skip it because of how uncomfortable it makes me to talk about religion. I'm married to an atheist, but not even my family knows that, or my coworkers because many of them are very devout and are rather ignorant when it comes to atheism and often just different religions in general.

    http://andwontonmakesthree.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/weekly-prompt-beliefs/

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  12. I really appreciate these prompts and this week I was really just tempted to skip it because of how uncomfortable it makes me to talk about religion. I'm married to an atheist, but not even my family knows that, or my coworkers because many of them are very devout and are rather ignorant when it comes to atheism and often just different religions in general.

    http://andwontonmakesthree.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/weekly-prompt-beliefs/

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  13. Oh, Danielle, this is so beautiful. Truly. Just like you, I hadn't really voiced my beliefs either -- I realize we are on different sides of the same coin -- but I know exactly how you feel to not really SAY exactly what you are believe in (or don't). I can't tell you how much I appreciate this prompt to spur me to speak my truth. I appreciate you and your words so much. And I love that we can have a mutual respect and understanding of each other. Thank you.

    "But then I realized that to be honest and real with you — about my mothering, about my marriage, about my relationships — I had to be an open book. I couldn’t hide certain parts of myself and expect you as a reader to feel like you could trust me or even KNOW me. You don’t know me if I hide certain facets of who I am. And not even certain facets -- that which I believe gives me life and everything in it."

    http://amamacollective.com/hiding-faith-blog-readers-1452/

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  14. And my first comment didn't work... and then posted a second, and now they're both there... Whoops!

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  15. I, too, remember reading this the first time you posted it. I loved it then and I love it now. The quote at the end is a favorite of mine as well. Also, can I just say how much I love these journal prompts. It's nice to have a topic to write about and it's also nice to see so many other view points.

    http://glassesandgrenades.blogspot.com/2014/04/journal-day-8-religion.html

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  16. I very rarely talk about religion, both on the blog and in real life. There's really no right or wrong answer to what you believe in, or what you don't believe in, for that matter. Here's my link:

    http://karaschatter.com/2014/04/10/journal-day-2/

    Great topic though - It really made me think a lot deep about my believes!

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  17. Wow... we have things in common about how we are raised in Catholic family. And I think it's a great point how Ann Druyan thinks that she appreciate the time they both had in 20 years, rather to think they will see each other in afterlife.

    This is a great topic because I never actually think about what I actually believe in. It made me realize that I'm still confused at myself. It made me think a lot. It also scares me what other people think when they read my post and realize how confused I am. Anyway, here's the link:

    http://maryvand.blogspot.com/2014/04/journal-religion.html

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  18. (Want to know something funny? I bought a Bible during this time and hid it in my room because I felt so weird about it and because I had been so agnostic for so long. Looking back now I realize how ridiculous that is but at 20 you’re worried about being judged, ya know?)

    Flash forward to now? Well, I know even less than I knew before. I guess I would label myself agnostic once again and I think I’m okay with that. I look around at my friends who are so sure of their faith and I get jealous – I would love to feel that.

    http://teacupofsass.com/2014/04/10/journal-day-8/

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  19. I wouldn't call myself religious, but I have very strong faith in God and in Jesus as my Savior.
    I believe everyone is on their own journey to God. My husband is not a believer, but is the most incredible man I know. I believe her will find God in his own time. My grandpa was Jewish and told me Jesus was a good magician.. I fully believe that God came to him in death and my grandpa had a choice to be with Him. I've had an incredible amount of loss in my family and I don't think any of us would have gotten through it without the belief that God takes care of all of us, whether we believe in Him or not.
    I get really angry when Christians are judgmental and throw doctrine if your face.. to me, that is not being a true Christian. A true Christian believes in God's love, grace, and forgiveness. It's not up to anyone to judge another or to crucify people for not being believers. God is for everyone and everyone was giving the free will to choose God in their own time.

    Thank you for getting this conversation going Dani!
    xo
    Ali
    when life gives you mellin's

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  20. "Chase what you believe to be right, no matter who or what fights you on it. If you doubt, pursue that doubt until you've reached a conclusion. Don't believe just because you think it's an entry ticket into the afterlife. Believe because the only answers you find to the beauty and hope in this world point straight back to Something so much bigger than you & I. That's why I believe."

    http://brendaabel.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-religious-stigma.html?showComment=1397151896378#c3238866041103902304

    XO
    Brenda

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  21. "Chase what you believe to be right, no matter who or what fights you on it. If you doubt, pursue that doubt until you've reached a conclusion. Don't believe just because you think it's an entry ticket into the afterlife. Believe because the only answers you find to the beauty and hope in this world point straight back to Something so much bigger than you & I. That's why I believe."

    http://brendaabel.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-religious-stigma.html?showComment=1397151896378#c3238866041103902304

    XO
    Brenda

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  22. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I'm so glad you've been doing these journal days. Does it ever scare you that you don't know exactly what will happen at death?
    http://becoming95.blogspot.com/2014/04/life-after-death.html

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  23. I feel like what you are feeling now is what I felt a few years ago! It's crazy how much the events in our lives change our beliefs in such a drastic way in a small amount of time. I wrote about my experiences here:

    http://everydayingrace.blogspot.ca/2014/04/journal-8-life-after-death.html

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  24. My brother and I were never raised within a religion. We were free to choose what we believe or don't believe. I can't thank my parents enough for this freedom. I now, and for many years, consider myself an atheist. My father, who also considers himself an atheist, has been fighting brain cancer for the past 4 years and has just been given 2 to 3 more months by his doctors. Even though I'm a firm believer in pure non existence after death, it's painfully hard to accept that I'll never see my father again after he goes. I want the comfort that religion brings, but

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  25. Very interesting thoughts. I love hearing from all different types of people, I have many friends that are Muslim, Jewish, Atheist and Protestant as well. I myself am a Catholic and while I would be highly pleased to see everyone I know and don't know come to the Church, I realize that it's not my job, it's their own to make their choices. I do believe that things like doctrine and dogma are essential to a good faith and culture though. If a person's faith is relative, I see it as generally false and useless. What's the point in believing in a half-true 'truth'? To be equally truthful, I see folks like Carl Sagan as philosophically dull and really lacking in a truly broad scope of the universe and life 'as we know it'. In trying to be broad, we can lose scope of everything. I studied philosophy in university though, and can tend to get very serious about bad philosophy, like relativism or scientism that Sagan purports. Judgement is something that we're not called to do as Christians, but I do believe that doctrine is important. I don't think being up front about a belief (such as the morality of birth control or IVF) is throwing it in anyone's face, it's just that if you asked me what I believe, I would tell you the truth, and I don't see doctrine as some empty set of rules made up by 'old men'. The Church's doctrine has a meaning and reason behind it, again for instance, the Church's perspective on birth control, you can read the encyclicals Humanae Vitae or Evangelium Vitae, Fides et Ratio and even the Catechism of the Catholic Church, all online for free, and have a better idea of why the Church has the doctrine it does. Essentially, it's not empty.

    My faith is definitely important to me, and I essentially believe that Jesus Christ was God come to earth as man, who in amazing love beyond all love died and humbled himself to show us His love, through this humility, and that above all Christians should be humble. I go to Mass as much as possible, and really hope that my son will turn out to be a priest. So we're very different, but essentially we're the same as well, we're all members of the human family and we're all made in the image of God, with integral dignity. :)

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  26. I was a little nervous writing this one, it's hard to put out your beliefs out there when they're so personal. But it's so nice to really think about it and write them out, and then read other people's too. I think the fact that we're all so different is so important, and so wonderful.

    Anna xx | The Girl In The Moon

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  27. As always, but especially this week, thank you for this prompt. You and I have a lot of the same views on non-belief. I think it's fantastic to read a shared perspective, but I also enjoy seeing what other people believe and understanding why they do. Here is a little bit from my entry:

    "I am an atheist. But I do not think that anyone should be defined by their religion, or lack thereof; there is so much more to each and every one of us than what we do or do not believe in. I am much more confident now than I was a few years ago. I still believe in being and doing good for the sake of humanity, to make our day-to-day a little bit nicer and a little more pleasant. ...I hope that one day, when I do pass, I can live on in a legacy of creativity, goodness, and love, and know that I gave it my all. And in the meantime, I hope to learn and grow and explore all of the fantastic and wonderful things that this world has to offer."

    http://alifefortuitous.blogspot.com/2014/04/journal-day-religion-and-faith.html

    Thanks again. :)
    -Jess

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  28. I also wanted to share this movie with you!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4bWX9zaFBI

    It's amazingly beautiful and really focuses on the human condition. It's 'sequel' as well here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypbpAscKdVs

    As a former Catholic I think you'll appreciate it and I really think anyone would appreciate these movies. :)

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  29. I was definitely nervous to respond to this, but your post inspired me to. Thanks.

    "Religion. Oh boy. I wasn't going to post a response when I first saw this prompt. I'm always a little bit hesitant to discuss religion with anyone. While I'm not generally shy about my opinions, this is something I try to think twice about before offering my thoughts. Danielle posted this morning though & her response inspired me to write something. I've posted a Journal Day response every week so far & I think it's silly to censor myself in regards to this. I know not everyone will agree with what I have to say. So as Danielle did, I will just preface this post with this disclaimer: I don't mean to question your beliefs or you as a person. Please do not take offense to what I have to say here - I don't want to judge you & I hope you won't pass judgement on me either."

    http://whoalansi.blogspot.ca/2014/04/journal-day-eight.html

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  30. This was a rough one, not really happy with my response but I don't think it's going to improve. Thanks for putting up with me!
    "I'm not going to lie, I read this prompt and thought "ugh." Religion is one of those things that I don't like to talk about. My opinion differs from my family, and religion is just one of those subjects where is is easy to offend. I wouldn't want to say something that made someone I care about feel bad, so I may be awkward and brief."
    http://cosmictumblers.blogspot.com/2014/04/journal-day-8.html

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  31. I am a humanist. I'm not atheist, but I am agnostic. I wasn't raised with any one religion, but I was taught many. I also lived at a Tibetan Buddhist center for almost 4 years in my 20s. Although I agree with many Buddhist ideals, more than anything, I believe in science. I don't know what happens when we die. I just try to be the best person I can be while I'm here. PS I love this post!

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  32. I have a post in my drafts about my faith, and what I believe, and how it has drastically changed over the last few years, and I have put it off for three months. Thank you for this, because I think it's a sign that I need to sit my butt down and finish it.

    I believe in Jesus. And I believe in love. And equality. And that grace is everything. And compassion is healing. And lately, I've realized that I can't really put a label on my beliefs, and that's okay. I don't need a label or a religious name to solidify what I believe in or what I have faith in, you know? That seems like such a simple thing, but it's something I've really grasped lately, and it's been one of the most freeing experiences, letting go of past expectations and rules, and just being. I have my truth, and I have faith, and it's always growing and evolving, and that's it.

    And the end of the day - it's all about love. Just love. <3

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  33. "I was confirmed and baptized into the United Methodist Church, and I can't even begin to tell you how sad I felt, up there by the altar. I knew my heart wasn't in it, and I hated that I had to pretend it was."

    http://chloefoxxy.tumblr.com/post/81995104421/journal-day

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  34. "I was confirmed and baptized into the United Methodist Church, and I can't even begin to tell you how sad I felt, up there by the altar. I knew my heart wasn't in it, and I hated that I had to pretend it was."

    http://chloefoxxy.tumblr.com/post/81995104421/journal-day

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  35. I almost didn't read your post. Not out of any personal or vindictive feelings, but just because I have a lot of work to be doing, and I was really reading my bloglovin' feed today out of pure procrastination. I almost skipped reading it simply because I am operating under the illusion that I'm doing work and I was close to deciding that I should turn that illusion into fact. I'm glad I haven't done that quite yet. Your post is beautiful.

    I am a practicing Catholic and always have been. I try to develop my religion and understanding and practice of faith, hope, and charity every day. And though so many of my friends are atheists, agnostics, or people of other faiths and beliefs, I honestly love hearing other opinions and contemplating these questions with them.

    That quote from Ann Druyan got me thinking. Death trivialized by a belief in the afterlife. What a thought. It's tragic, and beautiful, and beneficial. The idea of living every day to the fullest is a popular one, but to think of it beyond a belief in the afterlife is too terrifying to contemplate sometimes. It doesn't do any good to run from it though. We don't know. We never will. All we can do is have faith and give thanks for any life, all the life, that we have.

    So thank you! I guess I'd better go finish this paper and be grateful that I have the time and opportunity to write it. ;)

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  36. I loved this post. I grew up non-denominational but in a scary you are going to hell if you don't repent kinda way. I still have a lot of baggage from that and while I believe in a higher power I no longer identify with any one particular group choosing rather to go through the arduous task of defining by beliefs for myself.

    So thanks for an articulate post and a safe place to share thoughts. I also have a favor before Charlie was born you posted about some of your baby favorites and one was a monitor for breathing that clipped onto their diaper. I am pregnant with my second and would love to get one but am having trouble finding the post..... What is the name of that?

    Thanks again!

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  37. Thank you for your honesty + courage in sharing your beliefs Dani...I too grew up Catholic (in a big NJ church, ironically) and am now a non-believer as well. I absolutely agree with everything you said, and find it helps me to live a fuller life. When I first came to terms with not believing, it was tough...very isolating, and still is at times. Reading about others and sharing experiences is so helpful...I need to get up the guts to talk about it n my blog as well. Thank you. xoxo

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  38. Big topic! My spiritual beliefs have changed so much over the years that I was a little nervous about trying to distill it all here.

    Here's my contribution: "I am a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints... a Mormon."
    Read the rest here: http://paganwalk.blogspot.com/2014/04/journal-day-religion.html

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  39. I almost skipped this one; so hard to share this. Thanks for sharing though.
    "I’m thankful for the way I was raised. For the strong faith and depth of knowledge that was instilled in me. To not be afraid to ask questions, but to always know where to look for answers."
    http://allstyleroutes.com/journal-day-8-dont-talk-religion/

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  40. From another non-believer, it's nice to read your thoughts on this. Much of your story sounds like my own, Catholic upbringing in MA, questioning it in college, coming to terms and science with it all, and now embracing it. And raising children in it. So thanks. This made my night. And I love that Carl Sagan quote too.

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  41. *Ann Druyan quote. Ugh, it's late:)

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  42. I think it's amazing that you shared this! You're so right, it's really rare to anything besides the "I Believe" posts online. I also really like this journal format post and re-share since I'm a new reader. :)
    xoxo Aimee
    Bows&Beau-ties
    ps. Giveaway going on at my blog Right Now! http://www.bowsandbeau-ties.com/2014/04/fabuluxe-1st-birthday-party-giveaway.html

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  43. Really happy to see someone posting for those of us "on the other side". It doesn't happen often. Thank you.

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  44. I have a strong belief in God :) I respect your view though! Very interesting! I guess at the end of this life we will really see what happens.

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  45. Thank god there is a blogger I follow who isn't religious! ;) I kid. I kid. I really feel like the minority out here in the blogosphere. Thanks for sharing. Personally, I am maybe a fundamentalist atheist, I guess? Basically I believe so hard that there is nothing but this life right now and that all people EVERYWHERE are worthy of respect regardless of nothing. A humanist, if you will. To me saying that there is a "hell" is probably the least loving, most violent thing you could wish upon someone, so if that is in anyway a part of your moral code and belief system well, I can't get behind it. I could go on and on about the dangers of religion in our country and all over the world but I won't. I am just so happy to know that there are young mothers out there, not just in the super liberal pocket of the northeast where I live, who question the validity of deities.

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  46. Thank god there is a blogger I follow who isn't religious! ;) I kid. I kid. I really feel like the minority out here in the blogosphere. Thanks for sharing. Personally, I am maybe a fundamentalist atheist, I guess? Basically I believe so hard that there is nothing but this life right now and that all people EVERYWHERE are worthy of respect regardless of nothing. A humanist, if you will. To me saying that there is a "hell" is probably the least loving, most violent thing you could wish upon someone, so if that is in anyway a part of your moral code and belief system well, I can't get behind it. I could go on and on about the dangers of religion in our country and all over the world but I won't. I am just so happy to know that there are young mothers out there, not just in the super liberal pocket of the northeast where I live, who question the validity of deities.

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  47. What a great post! Really interesting.
    I'm a Catholic and have always been brought up as one. I think that's influenced me choosing this religion. We go to Church regularly probably once a month and we go to Church more when it's Easter or Christmas.I also take the bread and wine when i'm there.
    I believe that there is a heaven and a God, I really feel this because when I'm in Church I feel like he is there, you probably all think I'm bonkers when I'm saying this! I can't really describe this feeling..... Also when I pray I defiantly feel he is listening. I also believe in equality, kindness and looking after the one's in need.

    My Blog: http://jujuwonders.blogspot.co.uk/

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  48. I'm a little late reading this but I am so glad I did. I am an Australian living in the USA. Growing up in Aus there are three things people just do not speak about, Religion, money and politics. Since moving here all three subjects seems to be continuously thrust upon me almost daily. When I moved from Australia I lived in South Dakota a very religious, conservative town. I was blown away that strangers would ask me about what church I went to assuming I was religious, when I was in hospital preparing for surgery and the admin staff were taking information from me they asked what religion I was, to which my reply was "None" the look that I got was one of pure shock.

    I have since moved to Arizona, a bigger town with a little less emphasis on what religion I identify with and more about what kind of person I am. Like yourself I am not a believer but I am thankful for my wonderful life with my amazing atheist husband. I am thankful to the universe, I also identify with most of the beautiful Buddhist practices, I am a woman of science and honestly to tell you the honest truth it's refreshing to read a blog that isn't written by someone deeply religious, who speaks the honest truth and lives everyday in the moment. Thank you for sharing so much of life with us.

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  49. "I don't call myself religious, but I have faith and this is what I believe."

    theknottedhome.blogspot.ca

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  50. Wow, just finally read your response on this subject. I had almost the same exact post written out but I didn't hit publish. Mainly because everyone out there in blogland DOES seem to be a believer and I just wasn't sure if I wanted to "go there" with anyone. I feel like believers feel like nonbelievers need SOMETHING to believe in. Or that we're lost and need help finding our way "back". This was a great topic, hopefully I'll hit the publish button on mine soon :)

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  51. I found this quote today and I love it - "Man is the most insane species. He worships an invisible god and destroys visible nature. Unaware that the nature he is destroying is the god he is worshipping." -Hubert Reeves

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