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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Let's Talk Religion...

I don't classify myself as anything, religiously. To be honest, I have a very hard time sharing spirituality with anyone, even The Hub, because to me it's such a personal, private thing. I don't like hearing about other people's spirituality, and I don't like sharing mine.

But you know, the question comes up, inevitably. Or someone makes a comment or tells a story, assuming you're of the same faith.

I used to be a Christian. Didn't work out, because try as I might, I could not believe the things I was being taught. I struggled with being a horrible Christian for pretty much my whole life, and then, sometime in 2008, I said, eff this. I am not a Christian. I never felt more like me than when I quit pretending and started exploring alternate viewpoints. One reason I was not comfortable with being a Christian was the belief that non-believers wouldn't be saved. What the hell kind of "savior" only saves conditionally? An asshole kind, that's who. He's also the kind of savior whose followers don't want you to abort a fetus but think it's okay to wage war, and who want to get rid of social welfare programs. Nice.

For awhile there, I called myself pagan. True, I feel a very strong, powerful connection to nature. I sort of believe in plant spirits. I actually believe everything has a spirit, and that all living things - and those made from living things - have energies all their own. Even non living things, such as crystals and other elements, have palpable spirits. I can feel the energy of these things.

But I don't worship them, and I'm totally not into trying any kind of spells, or having ceremonies to celebrate gods or goddesses. I'm just as bad a pagan as I am a Christian.

I read a book by the Dalai Lama, and then another called Teach Yourself Buddhism. I feel a very strong pull to Buddhism, but it's pretty damn confusing. There is so much to know, and there are all these wacky foreign names for all the different sections and parts of Buddhism. Did you know Buddhists don't think of Buddha as a god? I didn't. I was taught (by Christians) that Buddhists were going to hell for worshipping a fat guy. Nope. Not so.

I took the religion quiz, and it said I'm into New Age, neo-Paganism, or Unitarian Universalism. Way to narrow it down there, folks.

Here is a list of what I believe, and what I don't believe.

I believe that Jesus was a real person. I don't believe that he was anything more than a historical figure.

I do not believe in a creator, or in an almighty god. I do not believe in an omniscient, all-knowing god.

I believe the Earth and it's inhabitants were created by a big bang and some evolution.

I don't believe in an afterlife, per se. I believe that when our physical bodies die, our energy is dispersed back into the world. I don't know what happens after that. Are we reincarnated? Do we just become some other form of energy? Do we wander aimlessly as ghosts? I don't think we retain much of ourselves when our energy is dissipated in this way. I think it breaks in a zillion pieces.

I don't believe in killing people, or harming people, physically or emotionally. I don't believe fetuses become people until the moment of birth. I believe the soul energy enters the child at the moment of birth.

I don't think it's okay to recklessly harm or kill plants. I think that when we use plant products - paper, wood, etc. - we should thank the plant for giving it's life.

I don't think it's okay to harm or kill animals for any reason. Even mosquitoes. But I still do. I eat meat too. I think if you have to kill an animal, for food or otherwise, you should thank the creature for giving it's life for you.

I believe we should love all human beings, regardless of (or perhaps because of) our spiritual and religious differences.

I believe we should love our enemies as much as or maybe even more than those we get along with.

I don't believe in a devil. I don't believe there's some asshole down below doing his damndest to tempt us. It just seems silly to me. I don't believe in demons or even angels for that matter. I do believe in positive and negative energy.

I guess that's it. I guess I don't belong anywhere, religiously speaking. That's okay with me. I like to be a loner anyway.


Lisa said...

So funny, my beliefs are pretty much exactly the same. I don't eat meat though. We sort of attend a UU church, sometimes, when we feel like it. I too would be a Buddhist if I had the time and energy to devote to understanding it. Just keep on being a good person and don't stress about it too much. That's my plan.

Anonymous said...

Actually, you pretty much just described the perfect Unitarian. Somebody who has more questions than answers, someone who is still seeking their path.

We go to Unitarian church during the regular session, (fall/winter/spring). My old man's Agnostic, I am on a Buddhist path and the kids are unaffliated as of yet, so UU works well for us.