What Do I Believe?


“If you go with the Calvinistic or traditional Christian notion, after Adam’s fall, everybody is totally depraved, and often virtues are just masked vices, and even a good deed done is grace. A personal relationship with God is the right thing… As far as people are concerned, yes, there are a few people who will stand by you, come what may, and they’re worth finding and keeping.”
-Nitin, Fighting the Dying Light

There are frequent times I am faced with a question I’d rather not answer. These queries all seem to fall beneath the subject of categorization.

How old are you?

Where do you live?

What are your political leanings?

What is your writing experience?

What do you believe?

For one so inclined to choose brutal honesty in conversation over tact, my hesitancy to answer these questions might seem odd. I also participate in an online community that may very well be read across the street -or, across the world. Why hold back on some issues?

I might choose to remain in obscurity. Who would care, really? However, many of the writers I follow have recently come out in declarations of belief. If I admire their honesty, surely others will not desert me based on what I admit.

So, what do I believe?

The truth is that I grew up in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. A few years ago, however, I read the very entertaining The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins. If one ever needs his faith dissolved in a few peals of educated laughter, he is welcome to read it.

This is not to say that Dawkins is fully credited with my disillusionment and departure. His voice merely allowed for more enlightened means by which I might attain answers to forever-niggling doubts and concerns. I have since realized the human mind passes through many ‘ages;’ many changes of perspective. I believe that doubt and a removal from the faith of our upbringing happens to most, if not all.

As a child, I was very much susceptible to the explanations and teachings I was given by my parents and religious instructors. These ranged from paranormal to superstitious to wonderful. I trusted that the doubts I had would, as I was told, be resolved with time and faith.

My pre-teen years were spent in rigid conformity of a self-imposed nature. I was, in colloquial terms, a Molly Mormon. I was a Christian Girl, controlling my thoughts and feelings and emotions to the extreme. I exulted in my perfectionism and delighted in my absolute obedience.

That all changed around the teenage years of hormonal outbreak. This may all be tied into mental issues, but the pendulum of perfectionism swung a bit to the opposite side…

As I said, I’m a very honest person. At times I have thought to not attend church because of my personal feelings. I have prayed, consulted scriptures, and argued with a God who sometimes answers.

Most of the time, I withdraw.

I believe my decision to consider atheism may not have been the best, because it seems driven by a desire to self-protect. Others may read about God and conclude that He loves them and holds their life in His hands. I, instead, wonder at the birds He not only allowed to fall but also burned to death in the breath of His voice or the wrath of His hand.

I truly do wonder why bad things happen to good people, or to any people.

I have come back to faith, but from a wary distance. When I think of trusting The Almighty I often feel sick inside. He might take away those I love, remove my health, smite me blind, or cause any number of calamities. And I am expected to say, “Ah. It was God’s will.”

Where I stand on the faith spectrum is somewhere in-between.

Yes, I know that is the lukewarm place where adherents will be spewed out. Yet I also know it is where I am. A toe here or there causes me to shrink back protectively. The middle is the safest place.

Which may also answer a query regarding political leanings.

If one is to set my person on a judgment stand, to vote whether he may or may not listen to my thoughts and opinions, hear this: we are all of us human. It is human to doubt, to question, to make mistakes, and to act based on feelings. It is human to change; to hopefully grow.

My religious life may have its ups and downs, but I’ve come to some revelatory conclusions because of that path. And, as much as I tried to deny it, those conclusions could not have been solely my own.

People like to sidestep a bold embrace of the idea of God by saying, “God,” “A Spirit,” “Your happy feeling,” “Nature,” or, “Whatever you believe.” Fine. None actually knows for certain what is out there. I mean, for certain certain. One can only know based on his personal feelings affirmed by a core spiritual feeling of closure -and that same feeling can be experienced in another person about a completely opposite issue.

And so, like a child, I wait. I trust. I fully expect The Answer of our eternal end will involve a breaking of our consciousness into reusable matter of a collective-mind sort -but, of course, I do not know for certain.

Now that I’ve borne my religious soul, what about all of you? Do you still talk to God? What have you concluded?

68 thoughts on “What Do I Believe?

  1. howikilledbetty October 18, 2018 / 1:56 am

    Ooooh this is beautifully written … As for me, I’m afraid I sit on the fence. Yes I pray when I want something which surely isn’t good, but also I do thank God when something good does happen. I do believe however in science and although I know that it is kindly meant when someone says they will pray for someone who is very poorly, but personally I’d rather they said that AND told them to get to the doctor. Cover all bases I suppose. That’s just me, sitting on that fence. Excellent post my friend! Katie x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bladud Fleas October 18, 2018 / 2:33 am

    I’ve never had it, Chelsea, though I find it interesting. I remember having to fill in a form, probably early school, and coming to the space which said “Religion”, I had to ask Mum. “Oh, put ‘C of E’” she said, and that’s what I did. Church for us was limited to “Hatch, Match and Dispatch” events and putting C of E was basically a cop out for agnostic or N/A. Nowadays they don’t ask or it’s acceptable to put ‘none’.
    I don’t go in for certainties – which includes atheism. I think Dawkins identifies as agnostic; I haven’t read him but have heard him talk on the radio in discussion with the Archbishop of Canterbury (who, oddly, also identified as agnostic in that talk).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chelsea Owens October 18, 2018 / 7:34 am

      Thanks for the honesty. 🙂

      Yes, I often reflect on how much upbringing affects all of this. I still participate in church and, of necessity therefore, cannot say, “I think This Principle is probably bullocks…” 😀

      I mean, one attempting to define my position (and Dawkins’ and the Archbishop’s, apparently) might say agnostic as a close-enough summation. It’s a more-familiar, more complicated deific definition, though.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. stevestillstanding October 18, 2018 / 3:15 am

    Excellent post, Chelsea. I’m a Christian, but I also believe people have the right to believe what they believe. God came to me and no doubt will come to them. Anyway, I’m not going to go into it lol. Good on you for ‘coming out’ 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chelsea Owens October 18, 2018 / 7:37 am

      😀 Thanks.

      Yeah -I pretty much leave others alone as I feel religion is a very personal thing. I have ideas and conclusions that make sense to me and am happy to share when applied to.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. John S October 18, 2018 / 4:34 am

    I enjoyed reading this and though I don’t share your perspective, I understand completely. My Christian journey also has its peaks and valleys, though my concern has less to do with God than with the entities of organized religion. Churches are filled with imperfect people, some of whom prey on the earnest seekers of faith. My personal faith is acknowledgement of a God/Creator, and an understanding of the ‘whys’ of that relationship, but the ‘Hows’ of the universe are better left to the scientific method. Yes, I am a scientist. And I don’t know if lukewarm is a description I can give it. Faith is inherently personal and I can’t tag it one way or another if the methodology works well. And if you still have questions, then you still have an open dialogue with God. Sorry for the long response. Enjoyed your post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chelsea Owens October 18, 2018 / 7:41 am

      Thank you, Jon. I think we agree, though I am wont to be vague in public forums.

      I do not separate religion and science, following one at the deprivation of the other (again, on the fence). Or, one could look at my views as the bonding-pairing necessary to make the double-helix of life. 😉


  5. babbitman October 18, 2018 / 6:30 am

    Full-on atheist here. I was brought up, like many in the UK, to be vaguely Christian (we tend to be understated in everything, including belief) but even at junior school aged about 7 I was becoming sceptical. The song “Morning has broken” was probably the first bit of bollocks I questioned. As a keen reader of books about dinosaurs I was aware of the basic science behind a young hot, stormy planet (I certainly wouldn’t want to be around for the first morning) and I doubted that ‘blackbird had spoken’ like an Archaeopteryx.
    When I was about 12 I took my younger brother to Sunday school (really not sure why but my mum seemed to think he needed it). Rather than cycle home again and come back for him later I hung around in the church to listen to the service, hoping for some enlightening spiritual stuff. Instead I got loads of spiel about how much we should praise god. And that made me realise that either god was a paranoid egotist with self-worth issues, or was just an invention by people who were ruled by that kind of person (not only were they pretty common back in the bronze age, we still have them today).
    And once you step outside of the whole belief system and the established dogma you look at religion very differently, as you’ve discovered yourself.
    I quite like the idea of Buddhism – there’s no vainglorious god and the fundamental tenets are to be nice to other people. Generally, every religion has the ‘be nice to people’ bit and I have no problem with that. Most have some kind of afterlife story, which is OK but I can’t say I believe in it. There may well be weird spiritual stuff going on that we haven’t properly tapped in to, but I doubt it.
    But do I believe in god? Absolutely not. I get why some people need religion but they ought to be brought up without one and then, once they’re about 18 they are given a series of pamphlets and then they can pick a religion they like the best. Or make one up like Joseph Smith did (although that origin story wouldn’t pass editorial standards in a superhero comic, sorry). And I never pray, obviously.
    And I am a happy, well-adjusted bloke with a functioning moral compass. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chelsea Owens October 18, 2018 / 7:49 am

      I’m happy to hear all that, because I worry about religion specifically in terms of raising our children.

      I’ll probably post on the topic eventually, but I believe in raising them with religion as I was raised, so they might have guidance for questions and might have a religious base once grown. That, and they’re likely to get married, keep jobs, and raise a family themselves with that upbringing.

      They can and will opt for serious choices at 18, but I feel they can do so with a similar process to mine. We never aim to brainwash; in fact, our answers to their queries are always an application to faith-based logic.

      Liked by 1 person

      • babbitman October 18, 2018 / 8:16 am

        I raised my two to be sceptical of religion from a fairly early age. They went to a Church of England school so there was a fair amount of pro-Christian bias but to be fair they did have a couple of visits to mosques and Sikh temples.
        I think we’d all be better off if we had more of a coming together as a community to celebrate shared values and interests (like religions do) but to completely cut out all of the faith stuff. I believe in the fact that people are, for the most part, good and kind. It would be great if we could focus on that.


        • Chelsea Owens November 23, 2018 / 2:28 pm

          I’m inclined to agree with you, but see that people embracing the non-religion lifestyle also remove themselves from community and choose to not have families. I know that’s not the case across the board, but am seeing a mass destruction of pro-future behaviors in society. :/

          Since my views are what they are, I see the benefit of eschewing a completely religious attitude (them peoples sound crazy) as well.

          I’d love to find a balance.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Benjamin Woolridge October 18, 2018 / 7:22 am

    I believe there is a God but religion is the hard sell.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chelsea Owens October 18, 2018 / 7:51 am

      Being part of a group that works toward good community standards is a good idea, but I agree that following all that specific religious sects promote can feel wrong.


  7. Lesleykluchin October 18, 2018 / 7:38 am

    What an inspiring post to wake up to. I’ll answer your last questions first.
    Yes, I talk to G-d. I do so probably daily. I always have. And I also thank Him/Her all the time. I have learned over the years to be extremely grateful for what I have and for being alive. But I see G-d in a spiritual sense and perhaps not always in the traditional or biblical sense.
    I grew up in the mid 1950’s in a religious Jewish home. My neighborhood was filled with WWII veterans of all faiths and it was a lovely time in which to grow up. Because of the diversity I grew up in, I was unaware of the prejudice that lurked in corners in other areas of the country. My father had been a Lt. in the United States army, as were most of the fathers in the neighborhood, and so they respected one another after fighting Nazis and nobody cared what faith anyone was. They were all happy to have beat fascism and to have returned home from the war alive and well and able to raise a family. A street away from me were several familes with blue numbers on their arms. They were survivors of the holocaust. I didn’t fully understand the severity of their traumas, but I knew it had been great. I would come home from elementary school and hear women sobbing as they sat and had coffee with my mother in the kitchen. I would go to Sunday school every week and learn about the Old Testament finding the stories fascinating, but I wise enough, even in kindergarten, to understand that people wrote the words in the bible, not G-d. I believed in the power of a supreme being, but somehow didn’t quite understand the burning bush concept, or why the beautiful lady down the street with the blue numbers on her arm would never be a mother. I saw how she fawned over me and told my mother how she wished she could have a daughter like Lesley. I learned years later that she had been the subject of brutal experiments at the hands of the Nazis, rendering her unable to bear children. And I did not understand hatred. Why people of my faith were disliked by some groups and why Hitler tried to exterminate us. I grew up among kindness and loving people. So I couldn’t comprehend how some people could say they believed in G-d but then would treat others cruelly. To this day that makes no sense to me.

    Every Sunday my parents would give my brother and I coins for Tzedakah. A word that means righteousness but is commonly known as charity. I would bring money every week to Sunday School to be given to the poor or to the help the sick. So I was raised from the earliest of my memories that it was a mitzvah (a good deed) to always give to help those less fortunate. A concept I grew up with and have taught my children and grandchildren to do. To give back to your community and help those in need. And that, that was what He wanted us to do.

    I didn’t learn until I moved to Florida that some people didn’t like Jewish people. The south in America was not like the midwest in 1960. Racism and bigotry abounded. I’ve never understood why that is. The Jewish people I grew up with were the most caring, considerate and giving people I have ever known. The television stereotypes were nothing like the midwestern Jews in Ohio. I believed strongly in G-d. The rabbi told me that all women in Judaism were strong, intelligent, free thinking people and had an important role in society. So, I never felt that girls were less than boys. My family weren’t orthodox but they were faithful. I raised two sons, had two husbands One Jewish and one Christian and I taught my children to embrace and respect all faiths and all people.

    After watching both parents and a husband pass, I make sure to be thankful for what I have. I don’t see G-d in the way “He” is written in the old testament. I view Jesus as a Rabbi, which means teacher, who lived and died as a faithful Jewish man who was a prophet. So I am not a Christian. But, in doing my DNA and discovering my ancestry. I come from a long a line of rabbis. From the 12 tribes of Israel I am a Levite, from the Levy tribe. They were the tribe of High Priests. The religious tribe, the only group G-d (If you believe in the Bible teachings ) did not give land to. Because they were to spread the word of G-d and of monotheism. And from ancient times, my lineage can be traces back back to to Moses who was a Levite, to Jacob and all the way back to Abraham. Even through DNA which says I am 99 percent European Jewish with ancestors migrating from Israel, I have a rich heritage which is deeply connected to who I am. I have vivid dreams about who my ancestors were and it is apparent that there is a spiritual connection that has been passed down.
    So yes,I believe in G-d, or the Force, or whatever you want to call it. I don’t know what it really is, just that it is. I believe in humanity. In creativity and goodness in people. And I fight injustice through my words and my actions. That’s a long answer to a short question….

    Liked by 2 people

    • Chelsea Owens October 18, 2018 / 8:02 am

      As always, Lesley, a beautiful, thoughtful, thorough reply.

      I cannot even imagine the hell your neighbors went through; how impactful to you as a child and how important to your worldview.

      Yes, you are right about a spiritual connection and the importance of doing good. Those are two big teachings in the LDS faith -a bit much sometimes, actually. We do so much service!

      I think one’s feelings and connections to G-d are very personal. We are each unique and process the world differently, so need to meet spirituality accordingly.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lesleykluchin October 18, 2018 / 8:11 am

        Yes. I think we need to drop the man made restrictions on faith and think about spirituality and kindness instead. We can’t say we are devout and love a supreme being if we separate ourselves from others and think one group is better or less than another. It always struck me as a kid watching The Godfather and how the mob would kill people and then go to church. No! That’s not how faith works. That’s one reason I fight the current administration. You don’t take children away from their parents or take away healthcare from the elderly to make the rich richer and then say you are faithful. Just the opposite.
        I do my own version of faith in a spiritual sense. I believe in the soul. I believe in goodness and treating others with dignity. And I believe in fairness and equality. I think if women were head of the religious systems it would be a much kinder world.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. masercot October 18, 2018 / 8:36 am

    My only spiritual goal is to do the right thing without thinking twice about it, before; and, without thinking about it at all afterwards.

    I am nowhere close to that…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Fractured Faith Blog October 18, 2018 / 9:28 am

    Well….my struggles with faith you should know all about. Doubt is positive. Blind, unquestioning faith always worries me. As for Mr. Dawkins? Well if you read anything by Lee Strobel he pretty much knocks every opinion of the aforementioned out of the ball park. Like way, way out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chelsea Owens October 18, 2018 / 10:23 am

      Lee Strobel, eh? *clicks a quick search* Cool! I’ll check him out.

      My problem with most Christian adherents is their need to start saying crazy things. I’m motivated by logic and fairness, not blind faith (as you said).

      And, it’s about time you got over here. 🙂


  10. D. Wallace Peach October 18, 2018 / 2:33 pm

    A brave post, Chelsea, and often difficult to put into words because so much about faith is feeling, and nebulous, shifting thought. When I studied pastoral counseling, one of my professors talked about spirituality in terms of Maslow’s hierarchy – that our understanding starts with a basic need for survival and safety, moves into community and belonging, and eventually grows deeper and broader, more inclusive and compassionate, more filled with wonder and open to possibility, less fearful. Your description of your journey reminded me of that. I think asking questions and challenging our beliefs is good for us because as you say, no one is certain-certain. We have to be at peace with not knowing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chelsea Owens October 18, 2018 / 2:46 pm

      Ah, see -this is why I need commenters. Please simply write my post for me next time. 😀

      I’m glad to hear my process is perfectly normal.

      My husband brings up the hierarchy of needs whenever I gripe about life purpose as well…

      Liked by 1 person

  11. robstroud October 18, 2018 / 10:16 pm

    An honest and vulnerable post, which has generated some equally open dialogue with your readers. Good job.

    The struggles you describe are quite common to people coming from the religion in which you were raised. The drive for perfectionism never leads to peace (shalom) in life.

    I “second” the recommendation that you read some of Strobel’s work. He investigated Christianity. When he began, he was agnostic… Even though he was not seeking faith, God met him during that research. In that sense, he was similar to C.S. Lewis who was a 100% fully persuaded Agnostic… until God intervened, and he became “the most reluctant convert” in Britain.

    I, personally, am a fully convinced Christian, although all walk by faith and (until Christ returns) we can’t “prove” the reason for the “hope that is within us.” One major reason I no longer doubt the reality of God as he has revealed himself to us in the Scriptures, is because the biblical worldview makes consistent sense of things as they actually are (including supernatural occurrences that make a muddle of most religious philosophies).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chelsea Owens October 19, 2018 / 10:07 pm

      I agree with you about the spirituality in the world, but receive different answers to heavenly queries now that my mindview has changed.

      To me, this seems to follow the idea that God may just be how we each see Him and not so much that He is what religion teaches…. though saying so feels wrong to me.

      There is even so much more to what I know at my core and what I feel and think than I can adequately put into words. This was a very truncated attempt. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Nitin October 19, 2018 / 10:03 am

    Faith is something that has caused havoc in my life. As you know, I recently deleted my stuff and to be honest I was in the midst of a spiritual crisis. A book that’ll tear a person’s unbelief apart is The Sickness Unto Death by Kierkegaard. He and many other thinkers attribute all depression and misery to sin. The more a person drowns in sin, the more misery he is in. He even goes on to talk about the degrees of despair and the degrees of sin. At the end of the book, I just sat and stared at nothing for a long time! But science has proven that mental illness exists and hopefully God considers that when he judges. I like you cannot fathom eternal hell or why God chooses few or why he afflicts. One man’s sin caused trillions to suffer. Couldn’t God have created all this differently. But then again there is a theory by Leibniz that says this is the best of all possible worlds God could have created. I partially believe it. I think God allowed Lucifer and Adam to fall to use this world to bring in the next where I’ll burn eternally! Okay enough rambling! I’ll get back to writing or reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chelsea Owens October 19, 2018 / 10:14 pm

      One of the many reasons I divorced God was because of the idea that God does everything for us -including giving people mental illness. I know people who strongly believe they can simply pray for the aid they need for their issues.

      It doesn’t work.

      You are not struggling with a mental illness (or two, or three, or more) because of your sins. I know plenty of people who should be falling apart with leprosy in a pot of acid if that were the case.

      I do not read theories as you do. I operate by feel.

      In the religion I know, we are taught that God is the Father of everyone and that Lucifer and Jesus were two who presented two opposite plans. …It gets a bit complicated but one thing I have always liked about the LDS faith is their encouragement to learn more and pray about what you learn.

      In conclusion; if there is a God and He loves us, He really wants us to be happy. Wouldn’t you want that for your kids?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nitin October 20, 2018 / 2:01 pm

        There are so many thoughts running through my head right now and if I were to pen them all down, I’ll end up writing an essay! Just praying and getting things from God isn’t the gospel. Haha. The leprosy joke is darkly humorous. I don’t know why I have mental illness and yes, it’s often extremely difficult, but I’ve realized that suffering is part of the human condition. Adam’s sin caused it and death, but because of Christ living the life we never led and dying in our place, we have eternal life through the grace of God. My biggest problem is why religious conversation doesn’t last in many people (me included). Three years ago I woke up with fear and ran from church to church. Eventually, God took that fear away and replaced it with repentance and then I knew such joy and love. I loved God, but soon persecution started from someone extremely close to me and that coupled with wrong advise from pastors led to me falling away. I briefly reconnected with my faith last year but some terrible inner battle coupled with an actual terrifying vision (or hallucination) made me fall again. The church didn’t help and I’m miserable now; chain smoking and just wasting away. I guess mental illness also played it’s part, which is why, I just resort to God understands. The more I think about God, the more I realize that he doesn’t want me to be happy in a material sense. He wants me to be fully satisfied in him no matter what. This is basically Christian hedonism or John Piper’s teaching. Forgive me if I sound preachy and forgive me for posting the video. I felt the need too. It’s about the Biblical notion of what love is. So many people forget the emotional aspect of love and reduce it to doing things for another person. This message once really moved me.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Chelsea Owens October 20, 2018 / 11:26 pm

          I do not think God wants us to be fully satisfied in Him …unless you meant that as we need to be satisfied trusting Him.

          I listened to the lecture and it’s good. 🙂

          I think you need to find God on your own in order to satisfy your own perspective and wants, etc. You can’t find it based on what another says -you can certainly feel badly that someone else disparaged your beliefs.

          I think of God as being less-involved in our lives than my church teaches, mostly out of necessity and out of overwhelming evidence (i.e., the suffering of so many). I think much of what will bring His love to Earth is by our hands.

          Whoever is a possible creator, He certainly does not want you to be miserable and chain-smoking away to nothing.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Nitin October 21, 2018 / 12:20 am

            I think being fully satisfied in God means both fully trusting him and delighting in him. And I mean a literal delight. Affections like you have for your children. You feel it in your heart every time you look at them don’t you? What I’m saying is similar. As far as finding God is concerned, I don’t think we’re equipped to find him since our very will is in opposition from his right from birth. He finds us. And if God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, then he’s sovereign over all things, including sin and suffering. Just don’t as me why he works the way he does! Ultimately God is a mystery and I suffer from acute spiritual depression as much as mental illness. I long for something more than anything this world offers. Even the most beautiful people in my life are flawed and cannot give me a perfect love. If I were to experience God’s love tomorrow and not just for a day but till the day I die, and if all my emotion were bound to his glory, I wouldn’t be chain-smoking. Hell, I wouldn’t even be writing because a lot of my writing goes against everything God stands for. Some of it is even blasphemous and that brings me guilt.and fear. In that sense, I’m an honest hypocrite. I pour out my feelings, but deep within I long for something else. Someone actually. Greater than anything this world offers.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Chelsea Owens October 21, 2018 / 1:13 am

              This is a post I intend to write at some point, but God is not so perfect a being as you have pedestalled Him out to be.

              And, I disagree about Him finding us. He is there, waiting, and we need to find Him.

              God is supposed to be the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. In that logic, He must be an ever-changing being. Perfection is a state of constant change, not a solid-state status of unachievable heights.

              My encouragements that you stop beating yourself up will not affect you, because I do the same to myself despite others’ advice. I do know that choosing to do so will keep you where you’re at.

              We are all of us flawed, but I do not believe it was ‘because of Adam’ necessarily. We are flawed because we are learning. An expectation otherwise, even of deific levels, will leave one constantly disappointed.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Nitin October 21, 2018 / 3:04 am

                I think that we defer in our views because I believe God is eternal and infinite. He exists outside of time and space. He just is. Absolutely, infinitely perfect. About him finding us, that’s a huge discussion and I’ll need to write a thesis! Theologians have argued about it for centuries! I also believe in total depravity. I guess Calvinism never left me. Having said all this, you’re right about the beating myself up part. But then again, mental illness is hard and extremely difficult to deal with. About learning, yes, I’ll have to admit that there’s much to be learned and put to practice but it’s also very, very difficult. I’ll end with a boring, overused cliche: Life is difficult!

                Liked by 1 person

                • Chelsea Owens October 21, 2018 / 8:25 am

                  I also believe He is eternal and infinite. My bit about perfectionism deals with His nature specific to where He came from; what He is.

                  And it may be cliché, but it’s definitely true!! My life isn’t even as difficult as yours and I find it so, simply because of depression.

                  Liked by 1 person

  13. TanGental October 19, 2018 / 11:30 am

    Interesting Chelsea. I’m pig ignorant so hesitate to say what might or might not be true. Probably everybody has their own truth. Sort of like politicians really.
    My logical mind finds the idea of a supreme creator rather fanciful because he (using the masculine here to mean any version of gender or non gender the reader might deem expedient) has done a pretty crap job in his creation. The human of the species is especially devoid of any logic if created rather than randomly evolved. He certainly cannot be benign so that makes most organised religions, for me, a whole load of bunkum. But who really knows. I don’t.
    As for Dawkins and Strobel… well, Dawkins is more believable in the sense his arguments are to me more coherent – Strobel frankly makes far too many leaps of faith (ha! sorry) or logic any way to be credible – but Dawkins really is an arsehole because he’s so bloody smug and confident in the rightness of his opinions. His TAP idea (temporary agnostic in practice) is a blind for his concrete atheism so he doesn’t get my vote either.
    So, hmm, funnily enough the Late Great Douglas Adams is my mentor here – while he does call himself an atheist, he’s a more plausible one than Dawkins – and some of his essays in The Salmon Of Doubt are crystal clear arguments that I do find quite compelling until I’m asked to explain why. A bit like quantum mechanics really: if some explains the atom and neutrinos and all that I think ‘yay, got it’ but moments later that confidence has drained out of my brain like the oil used to leech from my old Triumph motorcycle.
    So what am I? A happy little camper living day to day and not really worried about all that goddish stuff. Who needs it, really? Be nice, try and help others, don’t be too greedy and smile as much as you can. We’re all going to go sometime, no one knows where but most likely just back to compost so stop fretting and try everything once (except incest and Morris dancing).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chelsea Owens October 19, 2018 / 10:19 pm

      I’m glad to hear you draw some lines, Geoff.

      I can’t say I’m a Dawkins adherent, either. I’m with you in that I appreciate his explanations and logic. As you know, the same goes for Adams, for me. There’s just something that makes sense about ‘perfectly normal paranoia.’

      Your bit about returning to compost is my main, niggling point of hangup. Surely our sentience means something: something more than apelike evolution, something beyond compost.


      • TanGental October 20, 2018 / 2:12 am

        Nope don’t see if. Lots of creatures are sentient at some level capable Of understanding affection memory etc. So are we special? Why? The ‘is that it?’ Complex doesn’t get me anywhere. But each to their own. Onwards and upwards old fruit!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Chelsea Owens October 20, 2018 / 7:53 am

          🙂 Suit your pruney self.

          I’m talking ‘self-aware,’ mostly. I am frustrated and saddened at the idea that this life might be it: a flare of, “I think, therefore I am” and then absolutely nothing.


  14. Eric November 2, 2018 / 7:38 am

    I appreciate your candor. All I can say personally about the matter is something similar to what a certain blind man said after coming in contact with a certain first century rabbi: “One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see” (John 9:25). I’m different because of his touch, and I would wish his hands of grace on every last man, woman, and child. He assures us that if we come, he will not cast us out (John 6:37). That’s a promise I depend on every day. All the best to you on your journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chelsea Owens November 2, 2018 / 11:33 am

      Thank you, Eric.

      Perhaps my feelings of uncertainty and doubt come from times of being cast aside or completely ignored, and of witnessing that worldwide.
      Then, at other times, I feel Him again.

      So, limbo.


  15. lensdailydiary November 13, 2018 / 10:52 am

    Wow Chelsea, blog a simple question and you get the world. As for me. I was brought up in the catholic religion attending convent school etc. I believe in institutional religion as the keeper of a store of values handed down through the ages i.e. the ten commandments. It doesn’t hurt for children to be raised in and understand these values. They are always free to examine them and try them out in their life experiences as they get older. I don’t know what to make of the word we call GOD. Up to the age of 60 I prayed to that WORD a lot. We each have an idea of the meaning of that WORD. Some through repeating the dogmas of their religious institution, some through self realization and meditation, some through a beautiful sunset and nature in general, others through the artistic expression of people. Prayer to me is a way of understanding ourselves and others rather than GOD. I’ll leave it there. I love your blogs Chelsea. I also laughed at the expression “Molly Mormon” never heard that one before.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chelsea Owens November 13, 2018 / 11:47 am

      Sounds like we’re close to the same idea, Len, though I admit I retain the idea that there is a Creator somehow, somewhere. I do not see Him as a person (nor even us) since physical forms waste away and are clearly limited.


      • lensdailydiary November 13, 2018 / 2:06 pm

        I also believe in a creator outside of space and time. So it’s definitely not a he,she thing.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Lesleykluchin November 23, 2018 / 5:20 pm

    Bravo! Perfectly stated. All the professed faith in the world means nothing if people lose their humanity. Kindness and compassion mean more than thoughts and prayers when children are murdered by AR-15’s, or babies are torn away from there parents, or people of faith are mowed down in prayer because they are Jewish. This is 2018 not 1818 when we lived in the Wild West.

    I’ve always been spiritual. But I still love the traditions of my faith.
    I too agree that a woman would make better choices for this country. Female leaders use their integrity, their intellect, strength and their reasoning when making decisions. And they put women and children as a priority. America blew it big time in 2016 sending us back a century or more in time with the current Resident in the WH. Let’s hope we can move forward and regain our faith and humanity and move past the corruption of this nightmare in Washington. And get back to the America where we felt safe enoughto be kind and accept ones another. Thanks for this blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chelsea Owens November 29, 2018 / 9:57 am

      Thank YOU, Lesley. 🙂

      And, this was a comment of yours in my Spam for some reason. I’ll try to stay on top of its odd filtering. 😦


  17. D. Avery @shiftnshake November 28, 2018 / 5:48 pm

    Whoa. You are a bold blogger and yet why should I say so? We all just keep on keeping on. The problem with religions and god belief is in the words and naming even though it’s all about the Word, which can be read in so many ways by so many people. Lately I read about a writer’s changing identity (Anne Goodwin at Carrot Ranch ) and ventured that readers’ identities change over time too. And that’s it. I’m not even sure who’s who, but god/person is reader/writer or writer/ reader and the relationship changes and grows over time (historical time and anyone’s lifetime). It’s an exchange in progress. Read, Write, Repeat. That’s it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Chelsea Owens November 28, 2018 / 6:19 pm

      Thanks, D. A more universal view like you’ve outlined helps satisfy a few answers of mine (why the diversity of religions, mainly) and is necessary for cooperation, acceptance, and understanding.

      I also liked how you tied in writing and creation. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Michael B. Fishman December 3, 2018 / 7:41 am

    Now that I’m old, what I’ve concluded is that there is nothing to conclude. That sounds silly I suppose but for me, I believe that we humans have (how we received them can be open to discussion) every quality we need to make the world better and to ease suffering. We know what needs to be done, and we know what’s “right”, and we have the brains and the strength to do it all, so to pray to God for heavenly intervention or miracles isn’t as important to me as praying for strength and compassion and for the courage needed to do what needs doing. I suppose that’s a long way of saying that I don’t believe God lives in our thoughts or desires, but in our actions.

    “I truly do wonder why bad things happen to good people, or to any people.”

    So do I. Have you ever read Rabbi Harold Kushner’s book, “When Bad Things Happen To Good People”? It helped fit some puzzle pieces together for me and it’s been a long time so I might not be exactly right here, but after his son died and finding himself faced with a God who is all powerful on the one hand and who is all loving on the other hand, he chose a God who is all loving; a God who wouldn’t allow horrible things to happen to innocents. Of course that meant that God wasn’t all powerful which wasn’t a popular belief among a lot of other Jews. Anyway, I suppose the best place to look for answers to questions about suffering would be Buddhism.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chelsea Owens December 3, 2018 / 10:01 am

      Thank you, Michael. I DID recently read Rabbi Kushner’s book. I appreciated his observations and feel he and I are on similar pages. I suppose I get much deeper into philosophy and cosmic ideas than others. 🙂

      And I agree with your perspective as well. Most of my hangup on prayer and divine intervention comes about from experiences (mine and other’s) where a divine hand really intervened.


  19. pkadams March 7, 2019 / 6:52 pm

    I’m afraid I’m not very fond of the Mormon church, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like you. Some runner friends of mine have recently left the Mormon faith after reading some papers in which they discovered how many, many parts of the doctrines had been significantly altered over the years and was some of the original doctrine also historically impossible in that if it was truly written when it was supposed to be, it couldn’t have included certain information. I’m sorry I don’t have that information handy, but I can get it if you want the names of the papers. They were heartbroken but felt they could not continue. As for me, you know by my blog that I am a Bible believing Christian, in other words, I believe it to be written by God through men and to still be applicable to our world. I find it comforting to know that many very important missionaries struggled with depression. I think it’s really hard to be very happy all the time in this fallen world , especially knowing that so many are lost.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chelsea Owens March 7, 2019 / 7:19 pm

      🙂 I try to be myself. The LDS faith has certainly shaped my upbringing and current lifestyle, and I still practice as a member.
      I’m not ignorant of ‘new truths’ and such, but appreciate the offer. 🙂
      I appreciate reading about your faith as well. I try to be honest and authentic in my whole life like you do.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. H.R.R. Gorman September 11, 2019 / 7:31 pm

    Ah, this speaks to me. You and I are kindred spirits, I believe – but you with Mormonism, me with Baptist-ness.

    Though not entirely answering any of your questions, I thought you may find it a touch funny that my Sunday School teacher doesn’t vote because he’s an extreme Christian Anarchist, which I didn’t know was a thing until I met him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chelsea Owens September 11, 2019 / 7:45 pm

      I DO find that funny. I’m trying to picture what he’d be like.

      I think intelligent people can’t really be satisfied with simple explanations, and often choose atheism at some point.


  21. S. Chersis September 15, 2019 / 3:29 pm

    Self analysis when it comes to religion is always an interesting thing to me, and I especially admire that this post was made and put out into the open.

    Well, for me…I’m a Reformed Jew. There were some interesting “bumps” in my religious upbringing, but when it comes down to it, I just follow what my rabbi said: Be kind to people; feed the hungry when you can; remember you are a member of a community many don’t like or understand, so be on your best behavior.

    (That’s just a snippet; I have maaaany feelings about these topics but don’t want to take over the comment box!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chelsea Owens September 15, 2019 / 4:32 pm

      Thank you. Even in writing the post, I feel I cannot encapsulate what I think and feel about religion.

      I do believe many of the fundamental points the LDS church teaches, yet follow (in practice) the core points of kindness and tolerance you outlined.

      Liked by 1 person

      • S. Chersis September 15, 2019 / 5:04 pm

        It’s a very big concept.

        And that’s what I’ve noticed a lot of people seem to do whether or not they’re devout or in a religion–try to be kind.

        Liked by 1 person

  22. Peregrine Arc April 10, 2020 / 4:59 pm

    I remember when that book came out. My philosophy professor at the time (Ph.D., pastor, etc. Very intelligent and humble guy) said that no serious theologian/philosopher of academics took it as serious work. It was full of strawman arguments (if I remember right) and wasn’t very well written from their perspective. Hope that helps or is something to chew on. The Problem of Evil can be a stumbling block even when you begin to understand things in the Christian perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chelsea Owens April 10, 2020 / 7:10 pm

      It was a very entertaining read. Dawkins obviously wrote it with more mass appeal than his other works I’ve read.
      The book helped give voice to ideas and doubts I’d already had, and I’ve been able to reflect on many facets of life and religion since. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s