Happy Thor’s Day.
I have little respect or use for religion anymore. That said some things in my spirituality are parts of religions as parts of religious ceremonies and rituals. I suppose you could say that my meditation and my other parts of my morning routine could be considered ‘religious practice’ but that I am not rigged about it. I suppose the definition in paganism between religion and spirituality is a little fuzzy and I kind of like that.
In my readings on paganism in some aspects it is important that it is a religion as in some countries that allows it to be recognized as such and allowed to be practiced. In America, with religious freedom, we sometimes forget that some religion is banned or heavily regulated in other countries so having Asatru be recognized as a religion that can be practiced is important for a lot of reasons.
That said for me personally, I don’t like religion in general and the Abrahamic religions in particular. Weel, to be fair, I dislike it when anyone for any reason tries to force their religion or ideology down my throat and certain religions are notorious for that. Believe what you want, just don’t make me follow your beliefs by force, or force me to live by your moral code.
Time to Look Through the Eye:
“To see the truth, change one eye for another”
From a faith standpoint, paganism doesn’t seem like a religion. That is no one in paganism is trying to proselytize me into it. In fact, when I explain my differences to some of them, they nod and say that it is great. I have had a lot of good discussion about it, but no arguments. There is a commonality about faith in the universe and the world around us to give spiritual life and direction but no dogma or creed. We all have the faith that each one of us can shape our own spirituality.
There are however pagans who engage in various religious forms of paganism. Asatru, for instance, has its rituals and festivals. You might even say that across the board the celebration of holidays and festivals and events are religious and so in some resepcts, I can see the religious tone to it all. That said you will never hear a pagan speaker tell you that if you don’t do the rituals or attend things then you are a lousy person or going to hell. There is respect for individual choices.
Theological systems are also hard to find and often to be blunt all over the place in paganism. There some unified viewpoint about the universe but overarching belief runs the gambit. You know what else, everyone is OK with that. No arguments that end friendships over obscure theological points. There just isn’t that kind of definition of what is true and no authoritative ‘holy book’ to define these things.
Which is why I lean on the side of it not being a religion but more of a form of spirituality. At the same time, the more religious pagans are OK by me. We don’t have too much to fight about. I enjoy the spiritual side of the parts I practice and the principles of paganism, but the religious aspects I can take or leave at my discretion. so I love it for that reason alone.
In the Pagan Pulpit, I will be developing this idea more and more as I go through the book I have on Asatru. The issue is how much religion do I want in my spirituality? I guess time will tell how much of a religious pagan I become, if at all.
The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.