Why I define my own religion

Disclaimer: I don’t mean to offend anyone, so I leave out specific religions and try to focus instead on the underlying principles.

One of my favorite things to do during a slow, late night is listen to music, drink a beer, and browse the web. Here is a quote that I stumbled across a few nights ago, as I was browsing r/agnostic on Reddit. [BTW – I want to take this moment to encourage everyone to read the rest of this post whilst listening to an El Ten Eleven radio station on Pandora]

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.” – Unknown, often miss-attributed to Marcus Aurelius

I am not sure if I could sum up my beliefs in such an elegant manner, but I’ll attempt to.

I don’t like to label my religion because it is unique to me. I like to think that everyone is a little like this. Even if they follow a religion very closely, there are surely a few things here and there that don’t sit quite right with them. I have trouble believing that one questions nothing when learning to practice a religion.

Let’s consider a few things – there are a lot of religions out there (link to old site with neat graphic of major religions in world). Some of these religions claim their God (or Gods) is the only true one. So if religion A says that their God is the true one and religion B says that their God is the true one, then both can’t be correct. That means that religion A or B is wrong, right? I don’t necessarily think so. It is all a matter of perspective, in my opinion. How do you define God anyways? I have my (current, but seems to change often) definition of God, and it has a lot to do with the simple pleasures of life.

I have no problem with differing opinions. In fact, I really enjoy hearing about what other people believe, even though I might disagree completely :). But when people fight about religion, it makes me very unhappy. Isn’t life special enough for us to celebrate? Why do we need to be hostile over a few definitions? Is a definition or way of life enough to spill blood over? I don’t think so. And I believe it would be difficult to find a scenario in which there was a reason to be hostile with someone who was respecting your opinions.

</ramble>

In summary – I define my own religion because it makes me happy and I encourage everyone to figure out what makes them happy. You don’t have to accept something in a packaged box. Open the box, find the things you like, chunk the remains, and continue looking through other boxes. Live your life and respect others. Your ultimate judgement will be fair, regardless of the medium.

I’ve done my fair share of soul searching at times. That path lead me to some interesting places, so I would like to recommend some reading material (in order of shortest to longest length) for anyone who found the above quote and thoughts interesting.

What are your thoughts on defining your own religion?

Posted in Personal Tagged with: , ,
One comment on “Why I define my own religion
  1. Brian Hlavinka says:

    how fitting…

    on Sunday at church, our pastor was talking about some verses from Acts 2:1-13. I’ll post them then talk about what he was saying. They read:

    1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.

    5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,[b] 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”

    13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”

    This is the video of his message as well…he’s great if you have 30 minutes to spare.

    http://www.houstonsfirst.org/theactsmissioncontrol-part2

    Now…obviously he is Baptist. However, he was raised Catholic just like we were. His message, however, is that too much time is spent on religions fighting other religions over minor details. People hating and killing each other because of different interpretations of many of the same ideas…this story from the Bible talks about how the first church was ‘made’. The story talks about people from all over the place coming together in a central area from different religions, backgrounds, languages, etc. In the story, it talks about the coming of the Holy Spirit (1-4) and how the presence shook them. The crowd came together in a craze and everyone, speaking in their own native tounges, could understand each other. Because they were speaking in the language of the Lord. What does this mean?? It’s crazy…we must be drunk…we drank too much wine…etc.

    It’s funny because in the video, Pastor Gregg talks about being at the gates of heaven and being in awe of everything there and speaking in english and having some rando next to him shouting gibberish but begin able to understand it all the same. His message was that no matter what your belief system, you all think you are going to some great place in the end. Exactly how you said, your ultimate judgement will be fair in the eyes of your God.

    That being said, this is a Baptist church but this video is relatively unbiased towards anyone…really why I love this church.

    Just some extra food for thought!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code class="" title="" data-url=""> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> <pre class="" title="" data-url=""> <span class="" title="" data-url="">

%d bloggers like this: