Because of my involvement on Interfaith Dialogue (and many times also due to the mere fact of being a gay spiritual person) I often find myself in the middle of discussions about belief and religion. Most of those are with Christians – probably due to a simple matter of percentage. In this article I wanted to share a piece and some musings of that experience.
Several of the above-mentioned discussions end up covering trending social topics, and most of them (with this Christian flavour) seem to go hand-in-hand with the Bible.
I have read and studied the Bible in the past (although I have a terrible memory, so don’t expect me to start random-quoting), and i find that it could be a very inspiring book. And, in that sense, a now tons of other books which I consider as inspirational as that one.
Yes, this one is ‘inspired by God’, but still written by men.
The latter seems unsettle some people. On the one hand they don’t seem to understand how could someone question the word of God. On the other, they don’t seem to understand how can I be both a spiritual and religious person, and ‘ignore’ the word of the Divine at the same time.
First of all, there seems to be sense of ‘possesion’, in which we would belong to God because we all come from ‘him’.
Well, let me tell you this: you do not own your children. Let alone your grand-children, grand-grand-children and so forth…
They are all individuals on their own. For a very limited amount of time, parents and tutors may look after them (limited by Society’s ethical standards and laws, of course). But they are still individuals with their own minds and rights (I talk more about this in my article Microagressions and the Youth).
We cannot expect to controls their lives, it doesn’t matter whether we created them. Those are thing that are give out of love, expecting nothing in return, let alone aiming to keep them under our control.
In that sense, I don’t feel obliged obey. It’s as simple as that.
The Word of (the) God(s)
Then how (many seem to wonder), how can you be a religious person? How can you ignore the word of the Divine?
Well, I don’t.
In my religion we have (and encourage) a direct contact with the Divine. We do not have intermediaries, or a ‘revealed word’. The ‘revelations’ are experienced by each of the practitioners throughout the rituals – this leads to a very personal experience of it.There’s something called UPG (Unverified Personal Gnosis) that may describe it.
The above means that the experience of each individual is going to differ from the experience of the person next to him/her.
It may sounds very convenient, but it isn’t. Such a personal approach to a mystical or religious experience requieres a lot of self-conciousness, self-criticism, and self-analysis.
Having a religious approach in which individuals can and do experience the Divine directly means that you can’t tell another person ‘You’re wrong’ or ‘That’s not what God thinks’.
What is the use of it then? Any use you take from it.
And this is like the difference of doing something, or doing something just to take a pic of it and post it on Instagram. Nobody is going to be there to pat you on the back and tell you that you are ‘right’, you have to do the job and get the best out of it.
So, yes I do believe in the Word of God (or the Goddess, the Gods, the Divine, the First Spark – sometimes the Big Bang). But it’s only the Word of God as long as I experience it, and take the best of it.
When I preach it to others, force it onto others, or discriminate against other based on my own experience, the Word of God becomes the Word of Men.
It doesn’t matter how well-meaning we are, once we take the word out, write it down, and label it as ‘God inspired’, it becomes the subject to misinterpretation and abuse. Sometimes we thing that sharing it with the world may inspire them! But, instead of giving them the tools to discover their own ‘truths’ we give them ours.
As many of you may have guessed, this kind of discussion always ends up with someone questioning my religion as such.
‘How can it be a religion if each individual can interpret their own experience?’
Because we come together.
Religion from Lat. re-ligare (to bind).
How can a family be a single unit in certain levels, if it’s composed of different and diverse individuals?
Because there’s a bond between them.
Marx said that Religion is one of people’s opium. I don’t think so; I think that it’s very misused tool. If religion becomes a tool for power instead of a tool for personal experience and improvement, then it’s not a religion anymore.