I was baptised catholic, and from the age of five or so raised Lutheran. We had a fairly relaxed church, which was good to emphasize the most important teaching of the bible. 1. To love God above all things 2. Love your fellow man as thyself. If you wouldn't want it done to you, don't do it to someone else.
I believe the minor points over which the various denominations argue are just that...minor points and debatable. The most important thing is that God loves us, that Jesus died for our sins, and has a place held for us in heaven with Him, if we simply choose to take it.
So, people often ask, "If God exists, why does he allow such bad things to happen, especially to good people?" My answer. "I don't know." It's not my place to second guess or psychoanalyze God's reasons. That's where faith comes in. My best thought on the subject, is that God in many cases allows the world to follow it's own course. If God intervened too often, where would Faith come into play? God the Father, for His own reasons, deemed it necessary for His own Son to suffer on earth and eventually die on the cross. If, in His wisdom, He deemed it necessary for Jesus to die does it not reason that He may deem it necessary for some other of us, infinitely less deserving of intervention, to suffer. Just because God doesn't directly intercede doesn't mean that he doesn't love us or feel for our problems.
Our time here upon this Earth is a testing time, and the greater sum of our existence, if we let Him into our hearts, is to be spent with Him, free of all care and pain. To God, a day is as a thousand years, and we should do our best to be the best we can be. God knows we are never perfect, but we should try to disappoint him as little as possible. This simply out of love for Him.
Yes, I play fantasy games. And enjoy fantasy writing. But they are simply that. Fantasy. Games and fiction. A Catharsis for the wilder side of the mind. But Reality is God, and nonfiction is the bible. I recommend what Martin Luther did. Read the bible for yourself, and take it into your heart. You will come to your own conclusions, and but I would hope you will be inspired by the overriding theme of the bible, God's love. You may argue and disagree over the minor points and interpretations, but the fact is that God loves you, wishes to offer you salvation, and that Jesus is the way to God the Father.
My personal conclusions :
1. Treat everyone as good as you possibly can, try never to hate anyone ... you can hate a person's actions but should always try not to hate them. Who does it really hurt?
2. Try not to be judgemental, leave judgement for God. Don't tell people "YOU ARE WRONG!" Tell them what you believe and why and let them decide for themselves. If God wanted to strong arm people into worshipping him, I think He has the power to do so. He wishes people to come of their own accord and because of Faith. God above all others believes in people's right to choose their own beliefs. So we, as mere men, should not push our beliefs on others. I believe that as long as a church is Christian and believes the basic principles common to Christianity, it should be respected as a Church of God. I have gone to Catholic churches, Lutheran, Evangelical, and Baptist. They all love God and Christ.
3. I believe that there may well be spirits, and other forces on this earth. God has created at least one other race, Angels. Why not others? One must be careful though, for many of these spirits may well be fallen angels wishing to mislead mankind. They may not all be ill intended, but how would one ever know what one was dealing with?
Answer me this : Why would an evil spirit or even the devil himself tell you what he or it really was? It wouldn't. In fact, it would in great likelihood, pretend to be helpful. This simply to the purpose of drawing attention from God or for it's own gratification of ego. Or even some other purpose beyond our reasoning. So one should probably stay away entirely from magic, spiritualism, etc. just to be safe. I don't condemn it, but as Forest Gump says "Ya never know what yer gonna get...."
4. Try never to Lie. And never swear. Let yes mean yes, and no mean no. I try hard never to lie, especially on anything important. And never ever ever to anyone I care about. (Besides, when you don't lie, you don't have to remember what you lied about. You never have to keep your story straight etc.) I try to be very honest about how I feel about things, but will keep my mouth shut if I think it will hurt someone. This also goes back to treating another as you would treat yourself .... Do you want to be lied to???
My biggest failing is that I am bad about going to church. Even though the bible says how good it is to pray in your own closet (in privacy), it is also good to give glory to God in church...and I am sadly doing poorly in this regard. Few of my friends go to church, and I don't really like going alone...though I sometimes do.
I also swear sometimes, and have impure thoughts about women. I am VERY far from perfect. Only Christ is perfect.
In my life, I have had ups and downs. I have been sick on occassion and had pretty rough things happen. But other people have way worse things happen and one should thank God for the good things rather than get depressed about the bad. And pray to God, for if not alleviation of the problem (and always if it be His will...), at least for the strength to endure it. God is a source of strength for all of us.
Personal things in my life which I feel God blessed me with, I have been close to dying quite a few times including being hit by a Semi truck. And I am doing pretty good. And my son was very ill when he was born and I devoutly thank god for how well he is doing, and what a great thing in my life he is.
Well, thanks for listening. Take care, and treat each other well. God bless.