Happy Thor’s Day
“So when it comes to faith, religion, theology or spirituality Mr. Grey Wayfarer, what exactly do you believe?”
“I am a Deist and a Humanist with Pagan Tendencies.”
I don’t actually answer this question very often, and I think it is because people who care read this blog and know where I stand. The pagan side of it is more about how in interact spiritually with the world. I no longer believe in following after other people’s spiritual experience, including the collective experience known as religion. I follow after my own and find the spiritual in sometimes the most mundane of places. I believe if there is a spiritual side to the universe; the only real way to interact with it, is to engage it myself.
This doesn’t mean I don’t interact spiritually with other people, it is just I now recognize the truth that spirituality is based in self, no matter what people say, that is the truth of it. Even when people follow so-called religions of faith, the origin of faith is internal and that is the simple truth of it. You choose to believe what you want and engage the spiritual in the way your engage it. This is your creation, even if you use other people’s thoughts and experiences to do it. Or if you uses a religion to form your frameworks, you chose that too.
Time to Look Through the Eye:
For me I have faith in myself, my family, my friends and the creator (if he or she or they exist). I have faith in my relationships that have shown themselves to be faithful and true. Fidelity and Faith are closely related to me. I also have faith in humanity as a humanist, although often joke I do not. I truly believe that things over time are getting better for humans, even though sometimes I wonder. I also believe that there are a number of humans who use a number of reasons to tell us otherwise. They try to get us to believe things are getting worse and that humanity is inherently bad. Unfortunately, the most common means of this conveying this philosophy to us is religion.
I have no real problem with people who have a religion. That said I do recognize that one of the driving forces behind every religion I can thinking of, with the exception of paganism, is that were are not good enough, evil or sinners and we need to follow X to overcome that problem. Regardless of the form, religion follows the pattern of:
- You are no good, evil, bad or a sinner. Take your pick.
- You need to follow our religion so you stop being no good, evil, bad or a sinner.
- We will tell you from now on what to believe, think, and feel so you don’t go back to being no good, evil, bad or a sinner.
- Please make sure you attend regularly to our meetings so we can keep telling you what to believe, think and feel so you don’t go back to being no good, evil, bad or a sinner.
- Make sure you leave an offering to support us.
I still marvel at how effective religion is at getting people to pay them to let them do something they could do for themselves for free. No wonder con artists are drawn to religion like a magnet. There is a fertile ground of suckers.
Even worse is when people get to the point of believing something so strongly that you force it on others. They use political and cultural power to shame, imprison, make illegal and even kill in the name of their religion. At that point we probably need to realize that religion has led people to psychosis.
I don’t have that anymore or time/money for it. None of it.
- I don’t think people are no good. They are people who can grow and develop but I don’t assume they are sinners or evil or whatever.
- I don’t think people need to join a group to be spiritual or have faith. You can do that if you wish, but it is not required for either of those things.
- People can practice their faith and spirituality any which way they choose. There is no right or wrong here.
- Spend your money and time as you wish.
If the divine exists, I am fairly sure that all religions and thought on the divine, including my own, are fairly wrong about something. I am left to a deistic theology that basically takes me back to Marcus Aurelius idea of the divine is benevolent, the best they could judge me on would be the virtues I tried to live by because they would understand my ignorance. If the divine is malevolent, better to be destroyed by them and not serve them. If there is no divine then virtue still has its own rewards in this life. The best way then to do theology is to simply live in virtue. Live a good life.
But the other theology that has changed is my theology of humanity. I just don’t see humanity like religion does – in a hole and needing the divine’s assistance to get out. Rather I see humanity as just human. I would say we all start our just that, and it is up to us at a certain point to make ourselves who we want to be through our choices and actions. We can grow and find out our true potential or ruin ourselves. It really is left to us.
I also believe, though it is not a hill I will die on, that we humans have spiritual side. There is more to love than biochemical hormonal exchange. There is something more to loving our children than just race survival. Call whatever that is ‘spiritual’, if you like. For me this has led to me seeing the spiritual side of life in many things: hugs, kisses, making love, enjoying a walk, viewing a sunset, spending time with friends, working, etc. Just living is a spiritual experience and one that I embrace – this is what my pagan side is embracing. All of my life has a truly spiritual element to it now that it never had before. That and it allows me to pretty much have some very cool holidays, and I celebrate other holidays from other faiths along side of them without guilt. A pagan is of all things truly tolerant in this regard. There is simply no one way to be spiritual to a pagan.
Being a pagan in this sense has actually brought a lot of peace to my life. I know members of my former faith would argue I am deluding myself, but they only drive home the point that religion makes one arrogant and intolerant of humans other than those who share your faith. I also point to the fact that my Four Major Objections to Christianity remain for the most part unchallenged and unanswered.
Truth is, I am at peace with myself far more than I ever was as a Christian. I have no sin to be saved from, I only need to walk in virtue and grow into what potential I have as a human being. I love being a Deist and Humanist with Pagan tendencies. It’s the pagan tendencies that make life joyful.
Continuing to Walk the Path,
The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.