Maddie and Gracie,
When I ponder religion and the meaning of The Almighty, I often think of the episode of Futurama in which Bender meets God.
I bet a lot of people pray to you, huh?
Yes, but there are so many asking so much. After a while you
just sorta tune it out.
Y'know, I was God once.
Yes, I saw. You were doing well until everyone died.
It was awful. I tried helping them. I tried not helping them
but in the end, I couldn't do them any good. Do you think what I did was wrong?
Right and wrong are just words. What matters is what you do.
Yeah I know, that's why I asked if what I did - forget it.
Bender, being God isn't easy, if you do too much, people get
dependent. And if you do nothing, they lose hope. You have to use a light touch,
like a safecracker or a pickpocket.
Or a guy who burns down the bar for the insurance money.
Yes, if you make it look like an electrical thing.
do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.
Though the dialogue from the episode above is meant as humorous satire, the story has valuable insight. People look to God, or their own concept of a Higher Power, to seek understanding, hope, and direction in their lives. Faith can bring comfort and healing. Seeing God as a parent figure is good at times however, I struggle with the idea of someone just "leaving it up to God" or "It's God's will" and especially, "Jesus take the wheel." As a parent, it's my job to teach you how to stand on your own two feet so you are self sufficient. I always want you to feel comfortable coming to me or your Mom for advice when needed but, like the example above, I do not want to make your decisions or run your life for you. If I have to do that, we have both failed in our responsibilities.
As for organized religion, I like to think of religions in the analogy of being a wagon wheel, where God exists at the center and all of the religions of the world represent the spokes on the wheel. The people are the outer rim and the word of God is funneled out to the people in ways they can understand. Somehow that gives me comfort in the thought that maybe we're all in this together or are the same connected to a higher power. I do not subscribe to any one religion, though I was raised as a Catholic, and I do not believe any one religion has nailed it yet. I guess I am more of an agnostic in that I believe some power exists in the Universe, I just don't know what or who it is for sure.
So, my advice to you on religion is to take from it what makes you feel good about yourself, take what lessons that bring value into your life, and leave the rest. Do not be brow beaten by someone else's beliefs and do not try to restrain another person's way of thinking or change their beliefs to suit your own.
Whatever happens after this life is a mystery but, what is not a mystery is how much you are both loved and respected by your mother and I. We will always be here for you, whether it be in heart, mind, body, and or spirit.
Love you both always,