Saturday, October 28, 2006

Originally posted in Oct 04:

I just took a quiz on that is supposed to tell you what religion you are. (aha! I should have known the answer was right here on the Internet all along!). So the results are that I'm a 100% match with neo-paganism, about a 94% match with unitarian universalism (don't know what that is), and a 92% match with Liberal Quakers. The next highest one was "Reform Judaism" but it was down in the low-80's.

Fascinating, as Spock would say.

I spent a couple of years investigating neo-paganism awhile back, it isn't too surprising to me that I match up so closely there because I did like it quite a bit. I liked the cyclical rhythm of keeping track of the phases of the moon and the solstices and all that-- it felt much more "grounded" to me than most religious ideas, if you'll pardon the pun. But the reason I didn't pursue it more was because I discovered over time that the people who follow that belief system aren't any different than any others, and at that point in my search, I reasoned that if you found the "right" belief system, it should make you into a better person.

Now that I've grown into my cynicism a little more, this strikes me as interesting. Human beings are just human beings everywhere. It doesn't matter what belief system you choose. (my inner cynic says, anyway) If everyone in every belief system is petty, mean-spirited, and grasping (at times), then doesn't that say something about religion? Is it worth anything at all, if it doesn't make you into a generous, kind, loving person?

You see the underlying assumption here, which is that people can become "better" by finding the right belief system, and that finding those "better" people would then mean that I had found The Real, True Religion. And a further assumption: if you found the right belief system, it would be possible to change yourself to match its better ideas.

I don't think I believe that anymore. In all times and places, every stripe and color of religious belief, there are people who strive to be loving and kind, and there are people who are using their beliefs for some other agenda, be it power or ..., well, power is the only one I can think of, though it takes on many different outward appearances. It seems relevant here to loosely quote St. Paul (I'm not looking this up, so it may be very loose) who says in one of the epistles "This is true religion: to give to the poor and visit the widows and orphans in their distress." which says nothing at all about dogma. or politics. or Jesus. Your basic atheist could have that kind of religion, yet how few of us do, no matter which faith we profess.

(editor's note, Oct 2006: believe it or not, this went on for another four paragraphs that I have now deleted. geeze, what the heck was I thinking???)

bah. time for bed.
love and kisses,
Aunt BeaN

No comments:

Post a Comment