Did I say that I’d add pictures to that last post? Ha ha, it is to laugh! There will be pictures eventually, but yesterday afternoon sort of slipped by me. Michael and I took a nice long walk while Connor was visiting his grandparents, I cracked open a new book, I blathered about Stephen King over on Tomato Nation, I made some awesome minestrone and garlic bread… I don’t know. Pictures soon, I promise, along with bonus shots from our walk yesterday.
Okay, so I’ve been trying all week to come up with something for this. I never really thought about religion, other than “church is boring,” until highschool when I suddenly decided to be a militant Wiccan. That… did not work out well for any number of reasons, most of which center on how godawfully (see what I did there?) immature I was. Choosing a particular form of spirituality to prove how different and special you are is pretty lame, and it’s essentially what I was doing. About the only good I got out of it was an eventual awareness of many different spiritual systems, a love of working within the natural world to find my spiritual roots, and the idea that any religion is pretty much okay as long as it’s not harmful or prone to proselytizing.
Now I identify as a pagan deist, and let me assure you that it’s a pretty complicated can of worms. I believe in many different manifestations of God — Pan, Yahweh, Christianity’s God, Cybele, Ares, whatever — who are essential facets of one loving creator. I believe in working hard to better yourself and the world around you. I believe in tending to and learning about the natural world. I believe Jesus was mostly well-intentioned, tuned in to something important, widely misinterpreted, and often a poor communicator. I believe in respect — for other people, for all beliefs, for the world around us. I still believe in “and it harm none, do what you will.” I believe in personal responsibility and I believe it has a large place in any spiritual system. I believe in free will. I believe in getting off your butt if you want something to change. I believe that different faces of God are created by humans; i.e., I don’t believe that the Creator literally is or was, at one point, a woman named Isis who scoured the underworld for her dismembered mate — but the more people followed and embellished upon the story of Isis, the more real that incarnation became. I believe in critical thinking and healthy skepticism.
I guess what I’m trying to say is: I believe the world and everything in it was created and is loved by some divine hand, is watched by a loving heart, and we all have a responsibility to work hard to be worthy of the gifts we have. Beyond that, I flat-out don’t know. I don’t fit into any system, really. I prefer to focus on good books, personal health, raising my son, and having lots of sex — I prefer to focus on living the best life I can and let what happens after take care of itself.
Upon re-reading this, I decided to clarify something: When I said up there that I believe in many manifestations of the divine, I didn’t mean that I believe in Pan, or Yahweh, or Cybele — I meant that I think belief in these deities is equal to my personal belief, because any belief in a divinity is belief in the divinity. I don’t associate the Creator in whom I believe with a name or a set of characteristics — to me, the Creator just is, and is pretty much unknowable. Similarly, I believe that prayer works by sending energy and focus inward or outward, not by catching God’s attention and making him/her fix the problem. This is all kind of difficult to put into words, because my beliefs are pretty vague — there are things that I know and feel that just don’t have words, so I ended up writing around them with the best tools I have.