Religious Label

I find the topic of religion to be such a confusing–and, unfortunately, dividing–one.  There are SO many labels to explain SO many varying beliefs.  And people on one side of the fence generally have VERY strong feelings about those on another side of the fence.

When I was growing up, my mother never forced me or my brother to attend church.  In fact, we’d often hear her discuss the hypocrisy of organized religion; something she learned first-hand when she was growing up and forced to attend the Baptist church her parents belonged to.  We were baptized in the Lutheran faith, but other than that–and a brief stint at a parochial school (more on that later)–religion wasn’t “alive and well” in our home.

As I got older, I learned about some of the different faiths, but none of them really seemed to fit who I was or what I believed.  I had learned enough about Christ-based faiths to know that I couldn’t agree with many of their conflicting concepts.  Things like “God is benevolent, unless you don’t accept his Son as your savior, then he’s pissed and damning you to hell,” or “All babies are born sinners,” left me feeling confused and angry by things that just didn’t seem to add up.  Over time, I began to feel like I didn’t believe in God, or at least doubted His existence.  I didn’t know if that meant I was Agnostic or Athiest, but I wasn’t moved to find out the difference back then.

Over time, I found that many of my beliefs seemed on par with those found in Taoism and Buddhism, and I was even a member of a Wiccan Coven for a year and a day (I fainted at my initiation ceremony), and enjoyed the camaraderie I found with people who weren’t as judgemental as those who believed in Christ and God.  However, even those religions speak of “God” (and Goddess), and for some reason, that single word has bugged me for a long time.  So I began distancing myself from Wicca even, not wanting to use a word that seems to be such a sticking block in my head.

So again, I wondered Am I Agnostic, or am I an Athiest?  I recently decided to look up those definitions and discovered a lot more labels to describe the varying degrees of belief:

Agnosticism is the view that the existence or non-existence of any deity is unknown and possibly unknowable.

Well yes, I believe it’s hard for we human beings to “know” of the existence (or not) of a deity.  We’re not deities, so how can we possibly think we know that?  But . . .

Atheism is the position that there are no deities.

I, personally, don’t believe in a deity, but again, I’m not all-knowing, so I can’t really climb on board that particular wagon, either.

But it gets even more confusing:

Theism is the belief that at least one deity exists.

Since I don’t believe in a deity, that one definitely doesn’t apply to me.

Apatheism, is acting with apathy, disregard, or lack of interest towards belief or disbelief in a deity. In other words, an apatheist is someone who is not interested in accepting or denying any claims that gods exist or do not exist.

This one is kind of how I feel about it.  I mean, since it’s not something we humans can “know,” why worry about it, right?

Ignosticism or igtheism is the theological position that every other theological position assumes too much about the concept of God and many other theological concepts.

I can definitely see the validity in that claim, but again, that means there’s still a concept of God, which I just don’t believe in.

Polytheism is the worship or belief in multiple deities usually assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, along with their own religions and rituals.

Here’s where Wicca was at, but I kept hitting that mental block over using the “G” word.

Pantheism is the belief that everything composes an all-encompassing, immanent God, or that the universe (or nature) is identical with divinity. Pantheists thus do not believe in a personal or anthropomorphic god.

This is probably the definition that most closely fits with my beliefs.  I DEFINITELY feel everything is connected, and that everything happens for a reason.  I just don’t believe that there’s one (or a group of) sentient beings controlling everything and everyone like puppets.  And, where most Christians talk about God and how He makes decisions and such, I will often talk about the Universe (even capitalizing the word), or the Energies.

And the list of isms went on and on.  There was also Panentheism, Monotheism, Henotheism, Transtheism, but as I read those definitions, the words just kept scrambling in my head.

Then I finally remembered the word “Spiritual.”  When I looked it up in Wikipedia, I found the modern view of that word and see that it fits me very well:

“Spirituality”

The use of the term “spirituality” has changed throughout the ages. In modern times spirituality is often separated from religion, and connotes a blend of humanistic psychology with mystical and esoteric traditions and eastern religions aimed at personal well-being and personal development.

This one REALLY fits me, even though it’s terribly vague.  I believe in ESP, Telekinesis, and other things that seem to be mystical in nature.  I believe in reincarnation, karma, and other things I’ve learned from Taoism or Buddhism.  I also believe in the Wiccan creed: “An it harm none, do what thou wilt.”  On top of all that I believe that things are destined to happen the way they do, but that it’s a good idea to delve into the human psyche and find the reasons for why we do things we do and make the choices we make.

So I guess the best way to describe my “religion” is to simply say that I’m Spiritual.  One of my favorite quotes even mentions it:

We-are-not-human

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dana Fredsti
    Jun 28, 2013 @ 09:45:55

    Very nicely parsed out, Alyx!

    Reply

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