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the heavy religion post

April 18, 2011

Day 4 of the 30 day challenge is all about my views on religion. I am Jewish. My father is Jewish but my mother is not. She grew up a Methodist. However when they got married they agreed to raise me and my brother in the Jewish faith. I had a Bat Mitzvah when I was 13 (my Torah portion was actually the Ten Commandments) and my brother had one as well. I taught Sunday school up until I left for college in the fall of 1999. Keith is also Jewish and so it works out well for us when it comes to raising children and having similar beliefs.

I grew up in a very Christian (and mostly Southern Baptist) part of Texas. There were actually no other Jewish kids in my school and sometimes it was not easy being the odd woman out. I had my share of bad experiences from people who didn’t understand my religion. Parents wouldn’t let their kids be friends with me and I had a number of people tell me they were praying for me. My saddest memory from my childhood was when I was a little kid. I used to say my prayers every night and ask God, that should the world end tomorrow, would he please make an exception in Heaven and let me and my family in because we were good people too. I was young…maybe eight…and was listening to other kids tell me that I was going to Hell because I was Jewish. That was hard. BUT it taught me a lot and those experiences shaped me and the beliefs I have today. Beliefs that I believe are still in line with my Jewish roots and upbringing.

I personally believe that the idea of religion was (and is) a man-made entity to worship a God. I don’t find anything wrong with it. I think religion is a good moral backbone for kids and teaches a lot of really good principles about right and wrong and about God. I do believe that there is one God and all the religions of the world have different names for and different ways to worship that one God. I will never ever say that my way is the right and only way because I just don’t believe that. I can’t judge someone and say that just because you don’t believe in my religion that you are doomed. I just don’t believe that AT ALL. I think religion is a very personal and spiritual relationship that people have with God and at the end of one’s life no one knows what happens except God. I will not ever say that a Hindu, or a Muslim, or a Christian or any other religion out there is wrong. I think all religions are beautiful and meaningful to the people who practice those faiths. Some people find God in nature, some people find God in the bible, some people find God in the Torah and some in their own hearts. But no matter what someone believes it is not for me to ever judge or find fault.

This is simply my opinion on a deeply personal matter for many many people. I know some of you may completely disagree with me and that is okay. I welcome your thoughts, should you feel comfortable, but I just ask that we all be respectful of one another’s comments.

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27 Comments leave one →
  1. Paula permalink
    April 18, 2011 7:34 am

    I have never “had” a religion and I have been raced up to believe how I want. I personally believe you find all the answers in your heart. If I had a religion I wish I was Jewish because they have so many beautiful traditions.

  2. April 18, 2011 7:35 am

    I loved reading this and loved reading about your background.

    I think it’s so sad how ignorant people can be regarding religion (regarding when you were growing up..parents not wanting their kids to hang out with you, etc).

    I agree—spirituality and religion are such personal topics. People may find God in a million different ways and there’s no right or wrong way in my opinoin.

  3. April 18, 2011 7:44 am

    I think I’m similar to you in your beliefs. I was raised (and still am) Catholic. But my personal belief is that seperate religions are all just stemmed from the same beliefs that God is good and loves us all.
    I don’t really care if someone is a different religion than me- I just feel it’s important that they believe in “something” that makes you feel part of something bigger.

  4. April 18, 2011 8:30 am

    I think all religions are different variations of the same principles: that you must respect life (yours, others’, and earth’s) and and that there is something beyond this life.
    Ceremonies, icons, and religious figures may be different but the teachings are the same.

    Any ‘religion’ that accepts hatred and disrespect for life is no religion at all.

  5. April 18, 2011 9:16 am

    I’m honestly still trying to figure out what I believe. I grew up Lutheran (my dad was a minister for many years) and although I believe almost everything I was taught back then, there are many areas in which I just don’t know what to believe. It is definitely something I’m trying to explore more.

  6. April 18, 2011 10:00 am

    I grew up Catholic, and I would not call myself religious at all. This may make me sound like an atheist (I’m not), but I think that most religions are peoples’ ways of trying to make sense of the world and their place in it. If that helps you, I say go for it, but my big problem with religion is that it creates these huge social and moral problems and gaps that people see as black and white, right and wrong, and that creates tension and brews hatred. I avoid hatred and tension like the plague, thus religion too.

    On a lighter note, I love your header photo!

  7. April 18, 2011 10:17 am

    Wow, I can’t believe that happedn to you. I grew-up in NYC and had the absolutely opposite experience. Happy Passover! If you’re looking for some recipes, come over to my side.

    • April 18, 2011 10:23 am

      I think it is just a regional difference. I didn’t grow up in a Jewish area. It was very Southern Baptist. Happy Passover to you too!!

  8. April 18, 2011 10:48 am

    I love that you’re doing this 30 thing! I may steal it for my own bloggity blog since my mind has been a ghost town as of late.

  9. April 18, 2011 10:55 am

    Im always amazed that people can be so mean when it comes to religion. I mean, does it really matter if someone has different beliefs? They all come back to the same general idea, being a good person and treating other people with respect. Its such a contradiction.

  10. April 18, 2011 1:36 pm

    That makes me so sad that kids would say that to you. I had no Jewish friends growing up, so I was super envious of Christmas and wanted to fit in. I told my parents I wanted to convert. But I was fortunate enough to never have people be mean to me for being Jewish (at least I don’t remember that happening)

  11. April 18, 2011 3:42 pm

    I couldn’t agree with you more!
    That is so sad that kids would say such mean things to you 😦 Shame on them! Hopefully they have become more open minded.
    And, I think it’s a great things to raise kids in as well- like you said- a great moral background.

  12. April 18, 2011 3:45 pm

    Well said! I clicked on your link via twitter because you said you had a new blog design (which I like very much) and lo and behold your post is a gem! I agree 100% – “I think all religions are beautiful and meaningful to the people who practice those faiths.” Let us not judge. Hugs to you, ~Shauna

    • April 18, 2011 4:02 pm

      Thanks Shauna! I appreciate such a wonderful comment! 🙂

  13. April 18, 2011 4:16 pm

    I just found your new blog Kelly!! So glad I found you. 🙂

    I very much agree with you on the religion front – I think religious its an extremely personal and intimate relationship and that no one has the right to judge anyone else. I was raised Christian and sort of let religion take the back burner in my life for a long time, and then recently found a church that really spoke to me and started attending again about 6 months ago. I look forward to it every Sunday, and I love how progressive it is and how it doesn’t push views on anyone. The fact that there’s a six piece band doesn’t hurt, either! =)

  14. April 18, 2011 5:51 pm

    I love this. (Let’s be real, I love all your posts and seriously want to be real life best friends.)

    I grew up Catholic. Our closest family friends growing up are Jewish and for suuuch a long time my brother and I wanted to be “shewish” (that’s how one of their boys said it) too because they got presents before we did at Chanukah/Christmas. I love them dearly and couldn’t imagine my childhood without them. I was sooo interested in the Holocaust when I was younger because I just couldn’t understand why someone would want to kill people who were just like me. I also grew up with a mormon family, a muslim family, and other families of different Christian denominations. I think my parents did a pretty awesome job raising me to respect other peoples beliefs even if they aren’t my own.

    I actually agree with a lot of your “overall” views on religion but don’t know if I could share that with some of my close friends, which is kind of sad I think. You’ll read more about that in a few days 🙂

    Sorry for the longest comment in the history of the blogger world.

    • April 18, 2011 10:20 pm

      Me too!!! We definitely HAVE to meet one day!! You’re definitely my blog BF! I know we would get along fabulously! 🙂

      And it sounds like your parents really did a great job of exposing you to a lot of different ways of thinking. That makes me happy! 🙂

  15. April 18, 2011 5:51 pm

    P.S. I love the new blog layout!

  16. April 18, 2011 7:13 pm

    Two things. #1: LOVE your new blog design. 🙂

    #2: this -> “I think all religions are beautiful and meaningful to the people who practice those faiths. Some people find God in nature, some people find God in the bible, some people find God in the Torah and some in their own hearts. But no matter what someone believes it is not for me to ever judge or find fault.”

    I could not have put it better myself, Kelly. I feel the exact same way.

  17. April 18, 2011 8:24 pm

    Kelly I love your honesty!! I’m so sorry that people were so harsh with you! I can boldly and yet humbly say that my Lord is Jesus. I’d like to share with you~that He doesn’t want us to just follow rules and break ourselves in shame or guilt when we fail, but rather, He desires an intimate relationship with Him where He changes our hearts from the inside out. 🙂 I know that’s probably cliche but I just wanted to let you know that I truly believe He loves you sooooo much! And whatever the case, He wouldn’t want us to condemn others as it is not our job to do that b/c we’re alllll imperfect, and I get sad when Christians do go out “condemning” others–rather than show His everlasting love. Then again, that goes to show that we can’t expect to be perfect ever–and that’s why I certainly need JC. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything! I know that this is your blog and I was perhaps too downright honest here! But I posted this b/c I felt compelled to share this and you actually welcome responses and comments of all sorts. I hope this doesn’t come off as attacking! On the contrary, I’m just being a “messenger” i guess you could say. 😀 Have a beautiful night sweet girl~And thanks for sharing your heart with us.

    • April 18, 2011 10:22 pm

      Thanks for sharing Ellie. I always welcome comments that are written as beautifully as yours. I take no offense. I just see things differently but I am completely okay with that.

  18. April 18, 2011 8:55 pm

    I was also raised Jewish but by age 11 or so, I decided that I didn’t really want any part of religion at all so I never had a Bat Mitzvah. I still like the traditions and stuff but I don’t go to temple or anything like that. I lived in an area with a large Jewish population but even so, most of my friends were not Jewish and I did feel a little left out at times. I can’t imagine how you must of felt though.

    • April 18, 2011 10:21 pm

      I was wondering if you were celebrating Passover tonight. We just got home..I am tired but it was a fun night! 🙂

  19. April 19, 2011 7:46 pm

    I’m so happy you took control of your life and got out of that bad situation. You are a strong woman and don’t ever forget that.

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