My religious beliefs are way off the beaten track. My mom was an evangelical Christian but mostly just for the social life and free food. At least she was cool enough to think the Church of Christ was stupid for banning music and dancing. I hated Church from the first time I was carried into one. I've never stopped finding them creepy. I'm one of those "who needs churches when there are forests" types.
I've been lucky enough to have met some pretty amazing spiritual adventurers in my time. From Taos Pueblo shamans to old rogue philosophers, a few authentic Christians (a rare and delightful breed), I've even met some brain rattlingly good psychics and astrologers who proved to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that information doesn't only travel by known and acceptable means.
I don't favor one religion over another. To me they are all valuable. To me religions and conceptions of deity are like drawings by babies kept for sentimental value. They are hopelessly inadaquate to convey the reality of something our brains aren't wired to understand. Peculiarities of time and place lend flavors that get mistaken for "the only truth." Well, I like all the flavors.
I even like that blue eyed skinny blond Jesus us whiteys love so much, even though if he really looked like that he would have fried in the desert sun (I can tell you from personal experience having that coloring and living in Los Angeles). No, Jesus was probably a muscular swarthy mofo, skin dark from the sun, big strong legs from all that walking.
How I relate to deity is personal, evolved through out my life by experience, and colored by things I find most precious in life: honesty, justice, mercy, ecstacy, wisdom, beauty, love. But I always remember that the way I choose to visualize what I relate to, adore, and serve is just a convenient symbol of a reality beyond human comprehension , a way to play my own emotions and remind my mind of something it can never really grasp.
Science and religion co-exist for me they aren't adversaries. For materialistic science there can be no proof of the soul since we cannot process knowledge without our brains. For fundamentalist religion, science is an unneccessary and disrespectful prying under God's skirts. But in my world the soul does survive the body. And science is the constant unveiling of wisdom, beauty and mercy.
Imagine alien scientists observing a car with smoked windows driving cross country. Their sensors pick up some strange fleshy mist of electricity water and carbon in the car that seems to be its vital control mechanism, the way breath and consciousness differentiate a dead human body from a live one. But since the alien instruments can't really pin down this fleshy fog it's considered some kind of an exhaust or field generated by the car, only the car is real.
To me scientists who say there is no consciousness without a brain are making the same mistake. Sure the vehicle has a control for every single possible action it can take but those controls are used by a mystery that so far has escaped science.
My own religion has the advantage of allowing for both creationism and evolution. I have no problem believing something was created (while remembering that's just a symbol for something deeper I don't understand) and I have no problem believing life evolves.
If I may slip into my own vernacular: She didn't create it and leave it. She is creating it now and always. So evolution is creation and creation is evolution.
A freaky little Sunday sermon for you,