Someone wrote to me the other day after reading my Blog and said “I didn’t know you were a religious person” and my first thought was “I am not”. As I responded to his kind e-mail I found myself writing that I considered myself to be spiritual but not really religious.
I am not saying that religion is either good or bad, I shall leave that in each individuals capable hands to decide for themselves. I am only commenting on what is my choice now. In fact I recognized long ago that I have two thoughts about religion. I would not like to live in a world without it and I find it sometimes challenging to live in the world with it.
I studied for 6 years to be a minister and yet I do not consider myself religious. How interesting is that? I know I am full of faith but I have not felt the need to organize my faith around a central tenet. Is that really true? Am I being completely honest with myself? The answer I am surprised to reveal is “not really”. In fact I do have many religious thoughts within my spiritual beliefs and practices. The whole truth is that they are from a variety of sources and so not easily described into one label. The easiest label to apply is “spiritual”. I suspect this is true for many of us.
We are all spiritual. We are all full of faith. The only question is; faith in what? I have a few friends who have said they are not religious. But in fact most of the people I know are not “religious” per se but that does not preclude us from having very specific and particular ideologies that we practice. If we are alive we have beliefs. If we have beliefs we have faith in them. The real challenge is not in having beliefs it is in maintaining them and more particularly in having a cohesive non-contradictory set of them. How is that for a challenge?
But we do not have to build them overnight, nor are they ever necessarily set in stone although the firmer the cement the more likely it will create an easier surface to traverse. There are however two beliefs that may be fundamental to our feeling content in life. If we cannot maintain a core belief in ourselves as a good person then we begin to lose our self-confidence. We must have a healthy core belief intact to thrive in life. If we cannot sustain a constant belief in our ability to contribute to the world then we can start to question everything in our lives. In fact our belief system is central to our ability to demonstrate ourselves to the world. I believe there are only two questions that really challenge us all the days of our lives. Who am I? How do I express it? Whether we choose religion to categorize some of our beliefs or we decide to go it alone we always put our faith in something and for that reason we can all count ourselves among the faithful.