Digressing from money stuff today….. Our family is not a member of a church *gasp*. Often times when we share this fact (after being prompted by the obligatory ‘what church do you go to?’) there is a look of sympathy and judgement from the asker. The way I might look at someone physically or emotionally abusing their child; they must think I am doing far worse by paving Miss Moe’s journey to hell.
Our family identifies as spiritual, but not religious, which is hard to explain to a churchgoer. I was raised atheist, but I can’t subscribe to that either. There is a major difference between spirituality and religiousness, although the words are sometimes mistaken for one another. You can be BOTH spiritual and religious, but to me, spirituality is uniquely:
- Never fear mongering
- Taking the time to mindfully and individually pursue and explore the world and how we are connected to it (karma)
- Has no specific rites and/or rituals that must be followed, simply listen to your own soul and lightness
Why do people try to convince someone else that their one way is the right way? Many religions are fraught with abuse and corruption. Countless people have been slaughtered in the name of so many different gods, why? I don’t find religious people necessarily nicer, smarter, or in any other way better than nonreligious people. Many of the best people I’ve met are agnostics – or even atheists. While I enjoy exploring many religions and their belief systems, it is more a self-assigned anthropology assignment than as a future disciple. On a recent trip to India we toured many mosques, Hindu temples, Lord Krishna’s birthplace in Mathura, and the Brahma temple in Pushkar. While traversing some of the greatest riches in the world in this beautiful country we were surrounded by unspeakable suffering from the poorest castes.
Saving Miss Moe
Miss Moe has many friends in the religious community and for some reason they want nothing more than to ‘save’ her. At 15, she makes her own decisions about what she does and does not believe. She tries hard to reconcile her spiritual but non-religious belief system with that of her friends. She’s open to new ideas, has been to numerous churches and asked questions of those that wish to impart their beliefs. The two sets of questions she’s asked over and over (in different ways) are:
- So, a murderer, the Buddha, and I will burn in hell together? Both families who have tried to convert (one actually a pastor’s wife) have answered that yes the Buddha, the murderer, and she will burn in hell together.
- How do you know your way is the right way? What about persons of other faiths that also have faith? What makes your faith more valid than theirs? They simply shrug their shoulders and state that you have to have faith that their way is the right and only way.
Both of the above answers are unsatisfying to her, and me as well. She can see no benevolent being that would have created us and allowed us to live a good life just to leave us in hell. I’m not claiming to know all the things, actually I’m claiming that I don’t know anything about what comes next at all. I do know that I’ll continue to explore my own spirituality and hope Miss Moe does too. If she finds a religion that fits I’ll support her in that too!
My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.