Hello, my dear friends. I am Bradley Wilson, as you might already know. I am about to rant about my religious beliefs and my views on the origin of life and the world as we know it, for I often find myself in discussion s over this topic and I find it very hard to clarify my full beliefs in these contexts. In a discussion, it's hard to put forward all my ideas and faiths without being interrupted or criticized because, as you can probably see, there's an awful lot to be covered.
I am most definitely not the kind of person to walk around with a giant stick lodged up his ass. I am very lax about most things. I am friendly, and I will try to get to know everyone if it means there's a possibility of having a new acquaintance. Despite my calm nature, I would like you to read through this with the serious intent of learning something new about a friend of yours. I am fine with polite joking, but I do not want you to comment with a paragraph saying "OH YEAH, WELL YOU'RE WRONG BECAUSE BLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAH!" This is not a forum for debate, and I wish you respect that.
To give a brief overview, I'm going to clarify right now what I view myself as. I see myself as a practinging Catholic (or at least Christian). I go to Catholic church every Sunday, and in fact, just got back from my weekly mass. I don't believe in everything that is presented by the roman Catholic church, and many of my beliefs are radically different (see the "God" sub-heading of this rant) but I still believe that they are the closest organized religion to match my beliefs. You may feel free to disagree based off of later reveals, but this is what I am classified as by myself.
I am going to go through my individual, unique beliefs by dedicating some time to my opinions on each facet of all traditional branches of Christianity. These six pillars are God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, Heaven/Hell, Services/Eucharist/Celebrations, and last but most definitely not least, Morality.
God: One could say that I do not believe in a "God" in a traditional sense. This is the big gaping difference between my beliefs and the beliefs of any other Christian. However, I still do believe in a God-like force that created all that we know today. If you ask someone what created the world, one answer you would get is the scientific response of "the Big Bang." "But what caused the Big Bang?" you may ask, to which they may respond with something along the lines of "A single, expanding state of matter that led to the diluted nature of modern cosmology." Don't get me wrong; I believe that this theory is, by all accounts, true, but it doesn't explain everything. What created this single, expanding matter? What created that? We could go back forever asking "What created x?" until we eventually would reach a self-creating, self-sustaining force. This self-creating force, by it's own existence, defies all modern conventions of science, and yet simple logic dictates that there must be something along these lines. I refer to such a force as my "God," and it may not be omniscient or sentient, but it still exists. It's not here to judge us,nor change the world for the better, nor is it asking to be worshipped. It's just there, and it created us.
Christ: I can vision you now, sitting at your home and asking "But Bradley, if you don't believe in an omniscient, worship-worthy God, then how can you classify yourself as a Christian man?" The answer to this question is simple; I believe in the other teachings of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. At the most basic, Jesus was a Jewish man born in the Middle East who believed that he better understood world origins than the other common religions. He spread his word of a one true God, and along with that, preached respect for one another and the importance of love for your neighbors. He wasn't aiming to gain power; he simply had a strong belief for something, and put that belief forward. This commitment for his belifs and preaching of the ideals of brotherly love is what I believe in Christianity.
The Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit prached by Christianity is, like "God," something that I believe in but by a slightly different definition. Each human, each person is different. We have different beliefs, appearances, ideals, loves, and many other aspects of personality. This personality that varies from person to person is commonly referred to as a "soul." It's something shared by each and every one of us, and it's one thing that keeps reality nuanced. There are no "evil" people, nor "soulless" people. There are people we disagree with, people who don't share our views, and people who are, to put it bluntly, are complete dicks. This doesn't mean they don't share this soul. It doesn't make them any less of a person. This is my definition of the Holy Spirit placed forth by Christianity.
Heaven/Hell: I'm not going to beat around the bush here; I do not believe in a "Heaven" or "Hell" in the context of afterlife. I believe that as creatures with metaphysical souls, we are not going to disappear completely after death. Our soul will still sense, or at least be existant in some way (like a weird metaphysical version of the law of conservation of matter). However, I do not believe that there is an eternal paradise (or otherwise) after this death. If anything, there is simply darkness. We can pray to Vague God-Like Force that there is a Heaven, because that would be ideal, but idealism and reality are two different things. Just live to your best while on Earth; be able to leave this world with something that can be remembered. After your death, I'm sorry, but I don't believe you're getting another chance.
Servicces/Eucharist/Celebration: I do believe that it is very important to go to services, such as the weekly Catholic mass or the partaking of the Eucharist (bread and blood). While my definition of God is not able to present any preference to those who celebrate its existence over those who do not, it still acts as a reminder of your faith and morality. It reminds you of everything else that you believe as a religious person. It reminds you of the importance of seeing everyone as a human-being with a spirit, of the equality we share (see the Morality section). This is why, while I do not believe in everything presented by the Catholic church, I still accept it as my religion and the Catholic church as a place of importance, if not true "worship."
Morality: "If you don't believe in a true God, then why go through the trouble of going to Church? Why worship Jesus for spreading the word on something you don't believe to be true?" As you already read in brief in the previous sections of this rant, I believe in Christianity not for the spreading of a single omniscient God, but because of Christ's other teachings. I believe in the undertones of the Bible; the "love thy neighbors," "do unto others as you would have done unto you," social and moral truths that juustify all action. Regardless of whether or not you believe in God's divine punishment and judgment (which I have admitted I do not), I still believe that it is important to keep a moral conscience. Be kind to others. Treat everyone as your equal. I will not judge you for disagreeing with me (Hell, I never expected you to agree with me). I have friends who are die-hard Christians, Witnesses, atheists, practitioners of Judaism. I have friends of all races and walks of life, and I try my best to respect them. I may joke around, but I don't judge anyone just as a demographic. I see them as a person, with a soul that cannot be killed, and I believe that everyone else should do the same. You can argue that "Religion causes war! People are killing eachother just because of this hatred for those of other beliefs!" Well, I agree that religion has led to conflict, but I don't blame religion for that. I blame the people who are too blinded by literality to realize the hypocrisy in taking the teachings of a man who preached love for everyone else and respect for all, and turning that into a rally cry for the killing or hatred of another group. I'm a bisexual man; does that mean I cannot be Catholic? Hell to the no. I believe that morality is the strongest part of any religion, and if certain people can't get that right, then I still see no reason to blame religion as a whole.
So call me what you will. Call me an atheist for not believing in your exact definition of what a God truly is. Call me some new take on Christianity. Call me right. Call me wrong. Call me stupid. Call me whatever you damn well wish. I just hope that you read this with enough thought and understanding to see me at school on Monday and call me "Bradley."