Sunday, October 31, 2010


To celebrate Reformation Day, Kristi and I took the Belief-o-Matic at BeliefNet:

Questions and answers and a little bit of responses:
Q1. What is the number and nature of the deity (G-d, gods, higher power)?
I chose: “Only one God--an incorporeal (no body) spirit, supreme, personal G-d Almighty, the Creator.”

Q2. Are there human incarnation(s) of G-d (or of gods/goddesses)?
I chose: “One incarnation.”
For me, this is Jesus, obviously – but Kristi and I had a good talk about choice #4: “No particular incarnations because God is all and all are God (or God is in all).”

Q3. What are the origins of the physical universe and life on earth?
I chose: “God is creating and controlling the phenomena uncovered by scientists. Or there are other spiritual explanations, but not in conflict with scientific discovery.”
This is a tough one – I'm on the side of “spiritual explanations that are not in conflict with scientific discovery.”

Q4. What happens to humans after death?
I chose: “The soul's spiritual development continues after death so that all may eventually experience the indescribable joy of closeness to God. Hell is not a place but the tormented state of remoteness from God.”
Kristi chose: “There is definitely an afterlife, but the specifics cannot be known or are unimportant--most important is one's conduct in life.”

Q5. Why is there terrible wrongdoing in the world?
I chose: “Egoism (self-importance) leads to desire, craving, and attachments, which can lead to unwholesome thoughts and behavior, i.e., greed, hate, and violence.”
This is a reasonably Buddhist view, but I think it is also a faithful picture of the Judeo-Christian tradition – that our self-importance causes us to neglect G-d and our neighbor.

Q6. Satan's presence results in much suffering.
I chose: “Disagree.”
Kristi chose: “Not applicable.”
And we agreed that our answers stemmed from the same belief: that humanity is perfectly capable of creating much suffering on our own, without the assistance of Satan.

Q7. Why is there so much suffering in the world?
I chose: “None of the above; human suffering has nothing to do with the supernatural or karma.”
Another answer, “Unwholesome thoughts and/or deeds (greed, hatred, and violence) in this or prior lives return as suffering (karma),” was close – but Kristi and I agreed that the use of the word karma made it hard to choose that answer. Since we don't believe in reincarnation (but, Kristi adds, “I don't not believe in reincarnation”), we couldn't attribute suffering to karma. But there's no question that our human sins, a.ka. bad deeds, are revisited to us or others in this life as suffering.
Q8. Worship:
I chose: “The Supreme Power, G-d, or Gods.”
I am not sure, at this moment in my life, that I believe in the Trinity, either as “three persons of one essence” or “each a distinct essence,” but I know that I believe in G-d, so I chose what I could surely commit to.

Q9. Baptism (or initiation) ceremonies:
I chose: “Not required.”
But I believe that they are meaningful, and I will gladly encourage and perform them when the time comes.

Q10. Regularly confess or repent:
I chose: “All sins/wrongs, but not necessarily to a cleric.”
Yeah, priesthood of all believers!

Q11. Doing good works (deeds) and acting compassionately is:
I chose: “Necessary.”
Because I don't believe you can be saved and be a sh*t. I mean, obviously we are, because we are justus et peccator, but I don't believe in cheap grace.

Q12. Choose ALL statements below that represent your beliefs.
I chose:
“All, even the wicked, are rewarded after life (e.g., go to heaven, merge with God) as God(s) is infinitely good and forgiving.”
“Live very simply; renounce worldly goals and possessions.”
I trust in what was revealed to Julian: “All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”

Q13. Elective abortion should be accepted (not proclaimed or treated as immoral).
I chose: “Disagree.”

Q14. Homosexual behavior should be regarded as immoral or out of harmony.
I chose “Disagree” and gave it a high priority. Like I do.

Q15. Roles for women and men should be prescribed.
I chose: “Disagree.”

Q16. Divorce and/or remarriage should be restricted or punished or condemned.
I chose “Disagree”; I do think “restricted” might get at what I believe, but I'm not sure it was the right word.

Q17. Social betterment programs (e.g., equality, anti-poverty, education) should be fundamental.
I chose “Agree” and gave it High priority.

Q18. Nonviolence (e.g., pacifism, conscientious objector) should be fundamental.
I chose “Agree.”

Q19. Prayer, meditation, or spiritual healing practices should be favored to the exclusion of conventional health treatment (for all serious conditions or certain types of serious conditions).
I chose “Disagree.”

Q20. Revering nature or the environment should be fundamental.
I chose “Agree.”

My results – top five, plus some interesting ones:
1. Liberal Quakers (100%)
Probably because of the social justice and pacifism questions.
2. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (89%)
3. Reform Judaism (88%)
This surprised me, and then it occurred to me that my commitment to the one G-d rather than the Trinity might be the reason.
4. Unitarian Universalism (86%)
Don't they agree with everyone?
5. Neo-Pagan (83%)
I have no idea how I got this one.

20. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (48%)

22. Eastern Orthodox (44%)
23. Roman Catholic (44%)
I wonder if it's the same 44%.
25. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (32%)
26. Nontheist (31%)
27. Jehovah's Witness (20%)

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