My Religious Beliefs

I guess I need to identify my own religious beliefs.

Let me state that I came close to giving this post a different title because of my hangup with the word "belief". I almost think that describing some of what I "know" to be true as a belief actually does not do it justice. In the end, I decided my "hangup" with the use of the word probably is not true of most people; that by using the word nearly everyone would know what I meant.

How can I simply and briefly describe my religious beliefs? Well, I "know" God exists. Any attempt to describe my beliefs beyond that would not be either simple or brief. If you want the simple description stop here, because I am going to get into the complications if you read any further.

I have sometimes attempted to come up with a simple label to describe my own religious beliefs. Best I have yet to come up with is: "Born-again Protestant Jew".

Why "born-again"? Because I feel I might be "born-again" in the manner which I think Jesus meant when he used the term. I do not claim kinship with most "born-again" Christians, who will, I am sure, scoff at my even thinking of using the term. However to anyone who has such thoughts I will only state "I think that I am born-again and I think that most of you who claim to be are not." Now notice I used the word "think" because that is the best word to use in such a statement. I am not certain that it is true, I only suspect it.

I am going to skip to the last word of the label. So why Jew? Because I look to Jesus for spiritual guidance and enrichment. I love Jesus. I am uncertain that Jesus was/is God, however that lingering doubt does nothing to lessen my love, respect and admiration for the man. In fact, if Jesus was not God, then perhaps what some Orthodox Jews say about Jesus and the claimed virgin birth by his mother are true. They claim that Jesus was a bastard and that Mary was a whore (and yes I am a personal witness to such claims). Well if this were true, then considering the times and society within which Jesus trod while on this earth, my admiration for what "the bastard" was able to accomplish is not diminished at all. In my relationship with Jesus I call him "Rabbi". Some who describe themselves as Christians get all bent out of shape when I mention that; however I will state that if you read the Gospels you will note that many people who actually met Jesus while he was breathing air like the rest of us addressed him as Rabbi. Jesus did not seem to have a problem with that. If it was OK with Jesus then it is OK with me. Many Jews will perhaps also scoff at me using the term but to them I will state: "Many times I have witnessed to when those who already call themselves Jews have reminded me that Jesus was Jewish. Since I call him Rabbi (a Jewish term) and my Rabbi was a Jew, I do not see any harm with describing myself in such a manner."

Why Protestant? Because there is a large segment of existing Jews that already describe themselves as Reform. My "beliefs" do not coincide with theirs (for example there is no such thing as a kosher pig, and I am not giving up my pork) so I must come up with a different adjective to help me to describe my Jewishness. At one time I did consider attempting to become a Reform Jew, but I decided against it. It would probably take years of study and call for a willingness to change some of my behaviours in manners that I would be unwilling to do. You see, as I read the words of my Rabbi Jesus, I continuously realize that I come up short when it comes to the practice of love, kindness and compassion. I feel that as I worship my God, better practice of these attributes would be most pleasing to Him. When I have better perfected my practice of these attributes then perhaps I will be ready to take on a new challenge. However it is my opinion that I am going to struggle with perfecting these areas for the rest of my life and will never reach perfection. You see, my Rabbi not only pointed to "Love thy neighbor as thyself" as one of the most important commandments, he spoke of "Love one another as I have loved you." It is hard enough to find enough love to reach the former, perhaps that would be possible for me. But even if I manage to reach the plateau of loving my neighbor as myself, Jesus then points to what for me I fear will be an impossible pinnacle to reach.


Post a Comment

<< Home