Monday, February 6, 2012

Electronic confessional

It's been a while since I've spoken at any length about my religious beliefs.  Strangely enough, there's a lot going on in my life these days that has me reflecting on my beliefs and how I got to where I am.  It's an odd journey, and thankfully not a particularly painful one.

At this point in my life (and probably for some time to come), I consider myself an agnostic.  I have, at one time or another, adopted or strongly considered Christianity, Wicca, Asatru, Judaism, and Atheism without feeling quite right about any of it (though, admittedly, I still have a sympathy for more pagan belief structures).  I am unable to completely abandon the concept of "something else", the idea that there may be a consciousness greater than myself.  At the same time, however, I cannot accept any of the current theories on who or what that something may be.  

There are two major reasons for this.  The first has to do with history.  I like history, and I've studied a fair bit of it.  I particularly enjoy mythology and I always have.  Since elementary school I have been reading about old gods and other traditions.  Because of this, I have noticed how amazingly similar every single religion is.  For example, every religion I've ever examined has some sort of resurrection myth.  In more than one of those myths, the resurrection happens after a period of three days.  Additionally, as a fan of history, I have to acknowledge that there is not archaeological evidence for a lot of the events current religious texts claim took place.  Now, the argument could be made that these events were supposed to be allegories that taught a lesson pertaining to how people in the faith should behave, and should not be taken literally, but they are.

The second reason is the people.  I have seen the ugly side of each of the faiths I listed above.  I have met hateful, exclusionary people from every walk of life, and more than just one or two sour grapes.  I understand that not every person who subscribes to a particular belief is that angry and hateful, but so many of them are that it just feels like it can't possibly be right.  If you have reached spiritual peace, are confident in your faith (or lack thereof), and know yourself to be on the correct path then you should not have so much hate and you should want to share your position with people, not cast them out because they aren't as enlightened as you.  Again, I know not everyone is like that, but enough are that I have turned away with a bitter taste in my mouth.

I am a skeptic, but I am a skeptic that wants to believe.  You will not find a bigger fan of the fantastic.  I have read all the stories, reveled in ceremony, and been fascinated by the mysteries, both big and small.  However, I can't.  It does not make sense to me.  So I will sit here and not know, accept that this is one more mystery in life, and not worry about it.