Monday, December 31, 2012

Spiritual Hypocrisy


I don't believe I've ever stated my religious affiliation here on my blog.  It doesn't usually come up.  Oh ... maybe I have, but I'll do it again.

Recently, my family and I have started going to the United Church here in our hometown.  My grandmother went to the United Church, and I went with her in various phases of my childhood/young adulthood.  The United Church is very liberal - open to gay marriage, women ministers and this congregation seems very non-judgmental.  But I'm not a Christian.  Because of this, I had a long chat with the minister so I didn't feel like a hypocrite sitting in the pews on Sunday morning.  Here's the thing - I'm singing in and playing with the choir, which is a wonderful outlet, and a good sermon has something to teach everyone (I still have a hard time sitting in a Catholic pew, though).  Lessons come from many places if you listen.  And the people at the church are lovely.

I have a couple of fundamental disagreements with the Christian faith.  However, I agree with a good number of the basic teachings of the church.  I just can't get beyond the virgin birth.  And I don't believe that Jesus was the physical son of God - any more than the rest of us.  I also don't see Christ as a saviour.  I see him as a prophet - a wise, enlightened teacher who got it.  But I don't think he was the only one.  There have been a lot of enlightened ones.  I think a lot of the enlightened ones just go along their enlightened way teaching a few in subtle ways and not being identified by the majority.

Photo: “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” - Buddha

I identify a lot with Buddhism and have read several books for Westerners about Buddhism.  I'm not an expert on Buddhism any more than I'm an expert on Christianity.  But a lot of what I've picked up from Buddhism has made sense to me.

For me, spirituality is a very personal thing.  There is no one path for everyone - as a matter of fact, I think there is an individual path for each person.  If a church provides a way to follow your path, then that's great.  If you do it on your own (which I tend to do), well I think that is just as acceptable - it works for me.

But here's the reason I am writing this post today:  On Facebook I've been following a page for Pagans and Wiccans.  I am very close to the earth and was interested in what they had to say.  However, I am not one for casting spells or dancing naked under the full moon, and wouldn't want to "belong" to their religion any more than I want to belong to any other.  I'm just not into dedicating myself to one structured path.  But there is one administrator on the page who occasionally posts sayings and photos trashing the Christian faith, often referring to it as "religion", not "Christianity".  It's a disconnect in my mind ... seeing other beliefs as false "religion" but theirs as the truth, perhaps.

This bothers me greatly.  Because you can't be enlightened and secure in your spiritual beliefs if you are trashing someone else's.  I do understand that "Witches" were treated horribly by Christians in the past, but attacking them back is juvenile.  And just poor form. 

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