Do you believe in God/dess?
Religion is a topic that I typically steer clear of unless I’m discussing it with someone that I know (without a doubt) is broadminded, accommodating and respectful of differing views. Because I’ve learned the hard way that even people who swear up and down that they are tolerant are often the first to get hot under the collar and become judgmental, aggressive, irrational and outright abusive when you challenge or disagree with their beliefs. Or non beliefs. Because atheists can be jerks, too.
So my initial reaction to this question was to answer that this is a subject that I don’t really want to touch upon. But after giving it considerable thought, I decided that without getting too deep into it, I can give a general idea of where I stand.
Let me start off by saying that I grew up in a very traditional Christian home with very conservative parents in a very conservative community. Religion was (and still is) extremely important to my mother and she was determined to instill her strong faith in her children and raise us to be godly. As such, my brothers and I were enrolled in Sunday school and taken to (a paternalistic) church regularly. And everything we were taught there was practiced at home.
I happily complied until I reached my teen years, at which point I began to question everything I’d been taught, even challenge it. So I set off on a journey of spiritual exploration that lasted for many years and it wasn’t until my early thirties that I finally formulated a belief system - or rather a philosophy - that resonates with me. And one that is continuously evolving.
Here is a condensed version:
- I am spiritual but not religious, which means that I do not subscribe to any organized religion. I prefer to be a free spirit.
- I do not consider myself a Buddhist but the philosophy of Buddhism speaks loudly to me.
- I believe in reincarnation, the evolution of the soul and old souls (guides, gods or whatever you want to call them).
- I have adopted bits and pieces from many different religions, beliefs and philosophies because each one offers something that appeals to me.
- I respect and admire all beliefs, religions or philosophies, and I’m always interested in discussing and learning more about them. With tolerant people.
- I believe that all differing views have something valuable to contribute to this world, and that we should keep an open mind and learn from them.
- I do not believe that any religion is right or wrong. It is all a matter of perspective. And perspective is an individual’s reality.
- I believe that we all have the right to determine what spiritual path we want to follow. Or not. And that no one should be persecuted because of that.
- I respect devotees, agnostics and atheists equally unless they are intolerant and abusive toward people with differing views. There is enough room for all of us on this planet.
Now, does this answer Francie’s straightforward question “Do you believe in God/dess?” Not really. But her question is not that simple. Since I am not an atheist nor a devotee, but rather a free spirit that walks to the beat of her own drum, it’s next to impossible for me to answer with a definite yes or no. There are so many grey areas and so many intricate details to my spirituality.
But if France had asked “Do you believe in a single, male, omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent God?” this post would have been much shorter. And after reading this, I'm sure you know the answer.
I hope I haven’t offended anyone. And if I have, then we simply aren’t compatible.
Have a lovely day, everyone.
For anyone interested, here are a few more posts I've written that relate to this topic:
Freedom Of (And Freedom From) Religion
Stop Dragging God Into Everything
Is There Anything After This Life?
Hometown Memories: Sunday School