So I am probably something between a Buddhist (romantically leaning on Zen) and a Humanist. These are philosophies and decisions I have spent working on for years, based on learning, experiences and interest. I don’t ever think they’re right, nor do I “believe” in them, they just work on a more intuitive level for me. Zen as both a nice rational component for my philosophical side, as well as the absurdity intuitive side that I have experienced and couldn’t explain with a thousand blog posts, so I won’t. But this isn’t about me really, it’s about the way I think of my “religion” or view of the universe. I learn about it in a framework of Zen, apply to my life as best I can, learn more about it, and rinse, wash, repeat. Something that has always frustrated me about Christians is their amazing lack of knowledge about their own religion. You can’t have a discussion about Leviticus vs Mathew with most evangelicals, because they know nothing about them (unlike my non-theist self who spent a lot of time in bible study.) This is because they don’t KNOW their religion, they BELIEVE in it. Most people don’t need to know anything about something you strongly believe in, bbecause it takes effort, and most people are stupid and lazy.
Recently I met someone quite strange. Someone who had a Jewish mother and a secular/spiritual-ish father, who had decided to become a Christian. This is not someone who went to prison, or was “saved”, but just a choice. Not only did she choose to become a Christian, she picked Catholicism as well. What is so interesting about her idea of Catholicism is that it is a free, and late choice. Looking for a spiritual home, she picked the largest franchise.
Why I find this interesting is this: It is similar to a person deciding to learn guitar or a new language. When I studied Buddhism, it was all new to me. I didn’t “believe” in it, I took the relative parts that made sense to me and built my own ideas and interpretations around them. This is common with Westerns who follow non-traditional spiritual paths, we don’t have a choice – we have to learn from scratch. She is doing the same with Christianity. Almost everyone I know, or have met who is a Christian grew up with it, or were “saved” (which is reasonably insulting, because it implies that I’m “damned”.) Even if they were “born again”, they had a childhood-based concept that they could “re-believe” in. She does not. A bible story is new to her, every time. Each new concept can be evaluated with an adult and rational mind. If everyone learned about Christ this way, Christians would be more interesting, less dogmatic and probably, largely better Christians.