Addendum August 16 2011, Since this article has been written, I no longer wear the cross for many of the reasons mentioned in this past article below:
I've been getting lots of questions regarding my 'label' based on my beliefs and the fact that I happen to be very opinionated, outspoken and vocal on top of being a self admitted 'idealist'. The following is in response to an message I received, not directly asking me about my labels and beliefs as much as from a man who is going through some deep introspecting and self discoveries. He at one point in his message, refers to his religion and asks me to be patient with him as he says "and I understand we have differences here, so please bear with me" and I know it is because of my eclectic beliefs.
I am also of the opinion that most religious people are brainwashed into believing religion works for them when it clearly doesn't... religion generally segregates rather than unify (if you disagree with that, ask any denomination if they would let their son or daughter date, let alone marry another denomination) it takes away accountability, it takes away questioning and it defies logic.
Think about it for second, your beliefs aren't really yours. If your parents were killed at birth and you were adopted at birth by a differing denomination than your current parents and raised all your life in that 'other' religion, your beliefs would be entirely different than they presently are today. Period. You are born into religion without choice, even though one may think they do have a chocie once they are an adult, they have 18 to 21 years of programming into a faith tainting that choice.... like you said, and I quote:
"To be honest, I was a bit nervous purchasing the book due it being in the "metaphysical" section of the bookstore. This may seem funny to some, but being raised a certain religion (I am not the religion I was raised), certain things are hard to let go of."
And why do you think they are so hard to let go of? Because they've been drilled into you since birth, not because you researched, questioned and figured out your own path like you seem to be doing now...
Religion also personifies God... made 'him' judge, jury and executioner. God in my most humble opinion, is not a human being, not a man and not a person. God is an energy... Einstien kinda proved it with his E=MC2. And yes, we are all part of that same energy... one energy... love... period. No judgments, those are man made to maintain control and order... no heaven and hell... these are fabrications to maintain control and order... God is the higher-self in all of us and the devil is our ego...
This spiritual rather than religious belief is unifying rather than segregating. Why? Because religion has varying sects, even within its own sects they have varying sects and branches condemning one another for being 'wrong' or 'inaccurate'... spirituality (for lack of a better word since the label spiritual comes with it own stigmas) sees every human being regardless of color, creed, country, background, language as family, as one and the same as a brother and a sister... as the very same energy (god) that sustains a jew, a muslim, a christian, a budhist, atheist etc.
Ask any Egyptian boy in the streets of Cairo under the age of 6 what they think of Israelis and 9 out of 10 will make a gun symbol with their hand firing the trigger... this is religion... a Muslim woman falls in love with a Jewish man, the families never allow the union, threaten disownment etc. This is religion.... I know countless couples of differing religions who fell in love and their union was disallowed... this is religion... when I was married the first time, my wife was Coptic orthodox and I was raised Greek Catholic.... her priest refused to marry us, this is religion. If these people were spiritual instead of religious, they would have seen each others as equals... as brothers and sisters which we are... not as a us and/vs them.... religion doesn't want unification because religion is a great excuse for war... just listen to some of Bushes speeches...
I am not an atheist, I very much believe in that energy which sustains us all... some call it God, but with that semantic comes a mess of luggage... some call it the universe, energy or love... science even sustains this... even non living matter is sustained by that very same energy... all things... E=MC2... FACT: we don't fundamentally exist the way we perceive ourselves.
With that said, welcome to accountability brother... real accountability... it makes a world of difference when one becomes accountable for themselves, their lives and their predicaments. Once you realize that YOU are indeed in charge and in control of YOURSELF of YOUR emotions, thoughts, feelings, actions, predicaments, great times, bad times etc. that there is no 'exterior' force controlling your life... that the common denominator in every single situation you ever faced was always YOU... you begin to stop relinquishing your life to others, to religion, to blame, to 'God', to the world... you begin to take control of your own life and you realize, there's no one to blame... there's no need for guilt and shame, life just is and I/we are nothing more than a part of it... I am not the center of it, I am nothing more than a vehicle, a piece of an enormous universal puzzle called life sustainable by love...
And the secret to life? Well... how easy is that? Humanity has been hunting for the meaning of life since the dawn of man... it's right in front of our face... it's the energy that sustains us all... love... Love is the meaning and driving force of life.
Imagine if every human being on earth without exception loved unconditionally for 1 full day. Would that day not indeed be the proverbial religious 'Heaven'? (minus the virgins of course) ;`)