As arrogant as it sounds, I have always been proud of my ability to think about things on a deep level. I’m not sure if it’s factual or not, but I’d like to think it is true. But, I can remember so many different times in my life when people have commented on the things I prefer to discuss – religion, politics, philosophy, history, science, and so on. I wouldn’t claim to be able to discuss this matters from a formally educated point of view, but I have always felt that I look at various topics from the desire to know more, understand more and grasp an intimate knowledge of different topics.
(Side note: I feel like I’m bragging even discussion this, but I think many of you know I have a difficult time seeing myself from a positive set of eyes, so this is a little awkward for me to discuss…continuing.)
Well, I have had good upbringing growing up with my parents. They were never the type to try and shut mine or my siblings’ inquisitive minds. Even at times when we wanted to challenge our religious beliefs, for example, my parents were never discouraging in free thought – even if they disagreed. My parents encouraged reading – in fact, I remember one Halloween where other kids were out trick-or-treating and my parents took us to a book store and let us pick a book as a “replacement” to going to get candy (Sometimes, I think activities like these were done because of my type 1 diabetes). So, there was always a spirit of trying to understand the world in my household.
This kind of thing always made me a very inquisitive person. I always wanted to know “Why” something was the way it was. That suited me well in academics when it came to science and math. But I applied that same principle to trying to understand other things, as well – like history, or politics and especially religion.
You see, religion & faith (and for that matter, politics – and you’re fooling yourself if you don’t think all of these topics have something to do with politics) is something that seems to give me the most troubles. Something that I can’t always wrap my mind around. Of course, my parents instilled religious values in me, but not in an abusive way. I always felt like my parents wanted the best for me and my siblings, so I had a fairly good understanding of my Catholic upbringing.
But I used to question, for sure, but never from a disrespectful point of view. I always questioned with the desire to gain a better understanding. And so, when I questioned different authorities (i.e. experts) – such as teachers, my parents, religious people, whomever I saw as an expert – I had the tendency to accept any explanation given to me, because I knew that many of these people just wanted what was best for me.
Of course, as I began to live life and began to experience different aspects of life, my views of the world began to change. I lost touch with so many different aspects of my upbringing that sometimes I feel like I came to a point I rejected some things. And, now, over the last couple of years as I struggled with my sobriety, I can feel my mind getting clear and I am starting to realize some of the values, principles and views on life that I had long sense forgotten. In some ways, I feel guilty for letting go of myself, I feel remorse as if I killed-off parts of myself.
I’m also encouraged, however, because I have always had a sense of wanting to know more and understand more. But this has a bit of a mental sickness to it, as well, because I become obsessive to know things. It reminds me of all the various ways I sought answers to try and find the “true faith” or a need to explore various religious experiences to grasp some deeper spirituality, but I have always been somewhat hidden about things – learning things privately. I took a world religion class in college, that I found incredibly interesting, but it was introductory and did not have the scope to answer all of my questions. But it made me more interested in religions other than Catholicism. I began to have a precursory exploration of Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. I remember the first time I saw a Q’uran – reading so little to even give it a chance to understand. I’ve read the Book of Mormon. I’ve perused the Torah. But I have never given anything a true inspection. I always fell back on my own catholic upbringing – and mostly, because it was what I was familiar.
But, as I involve myself in more Alcoholics Anonymous reading, meetings and work with my sponsor, I find myself pondering religion and faith again much more. Of course, the simple principle of AA is to find a Higher Power of my understanding – regardless of my imperfect understanding. AA simply wants a recovering alcoholic to be open and willing to establish a relationship with God – to merely seek Him. And I think about some of the advice I have received on my various posts, with respect to God. A lot of it has to do with my sexuality, because of the hang-up I have with some of the treatments of people from religious communities. I understand a lot of the concern – it is like there will be an attack on my mental health when it comes to this. Maybe there would be an attack from myself on my own understanding of my relationship with God. But maybe there is something much deeper I want to know, maybe it’s not whether or not God exists or not, maybe it’s not anything to do with what God wants from people or how God wants people to be. Maybe it’s none of that. Maybe what really needs to be done is a simple pondering on the purpose of God, the purpose of Him within our lives.
But it leaves me to ask,