I don’t generally do the religion thing. In fact, there are two topics I avoid like the plague: politics and (you guessed it) religion. I don’t consider myself religious, but I am spiritual. While I do not personally adhere to any particular belief-system, I have nothing against those who do. I try very hard to respect the beliefs of others, that differ from mine, and generally, I adhere to the 11th commandment: ‘Thou shalt keep thy religion to thyself.’ (Don’t you just love George Carlin?) But to each rule, there is the odd exception.

One might deduce, from my user-name, that I practice paganism. This is partly true. I’ve been part of a coven. Cast a circle, or two, in my time. Do I consider myself a wiccan? No. Not really. However, the idea of a loving, nurturing god and goddess fits so much better with my world-view than that of a vengeful, wrathful patriarchal god. And the rituals involved in goddess-worship (Im talking regular, run of the mill paganism, not dark-side stuff, here) are lovely, and empowering, to both male and female. I like very much the idea of having male and female worship-leaders, rather than adhering to a largely male-dominated set of religious practices that has portrayed women as less, weak, or lacking in some way.

I have also been a ‘Christian’–baptized in flowing water, as is traditional, to “wash away my sins”. The minister who baptized me was removed from his pulpit by the church board, shortly after. For “personal reasons”. The longer I was part of various congregations, the more I agreed with the bumper-sticker: If going to church makes you a Christian, does going to the garage make you a car? Of course, there is a passage in the Christian Bible that says, “Wherever two or three are gathered in my name, there will I be, also.” I’m fond of that passage. Here’s another bit that never quite made it to the Bible, but should have: “The kingdom of Heaven is within you, and all around you, not in palaces of wood and stone. Split a piece of wood, and I am there. Lift a stone and you will find me.” This quote was from the movie Stigmata. Touted as the gospel of Thomas, the doubter, this statement would set the Church hierarchy on its ear, if it had been included, completely undermining the tidy business of saving souls they’ve set up. Salvation with a price-tag. The more you give, the more you’re forgiven. How incredibly pious *sarcasm font*. Naturally, it would have been excluded, if, indeed, it ever existed at all. I prefer to think it must’ve.

I’ve studied, at least minimally, the beliefs and practices of a number of religions, actually. I agree with some, disagree with others, and have combined them into a belief system that suits me. The core idea comes from wicca. Essentially it is this: what you put forth comes back to you, threefold; this above all, do no harm. Its similar to the concept of Karma, in the Hindu religion. Among other things, this was ‘borrowed’, when Christianity was first introduced to the ‘heathens’. It was supposed to make the idea more palatable–See? Our religion is just like yours, only a LITTLE different. Now, convert or die! So much for brotherly love.

I raise the subject of religion because at 6 PM, today, Christ was scheduled to rapture his church. At least that is what was concluded by reputed biblical scholar, Christian author, and broadcaster Harold Camping. It’s now 6:44 PM, local time. I’m still here, and so is everyone I know. And most of them are much more Christian than I am. But Camping’s prediction raises a couple of questions, for me: Firstly, in all of the study time he put in, did he somehow fail to note Matthew 24:36–“No one knows the day and the hour…Only the Father knows.” And Matthew 24:27–“The coming of the Son of Man will be as lightning that can be seen from east to west.” According to Thessalonians, the dead will be resurrected first, following a divine command, and a trumpet-blast. NONE of these happened. Sorry. And what about those poor fools who donated to his cause? (And since when did prophecy require funding, anyway? Oh yeah! There’s a biblical admonition to “beware the false prophets”.) Perhaps there needs to be a bit more Bible included in their bible study? Its just a thought.

My point, and I do have one, is don’t let your zeal for worshiping whatever invisible being you choose override the actual worship, itself. Worship, in my estimation, is supposed to be about study, ritual, fellowship with like-minded individuals, and communion with your omnipotent being of choice. But if, in the course of that worship, you fail to actually learn about the religion you’ve chosen, perhaps you should pay closer attention to the study guide. Again, it’s just a thought.

Lest you think I’m attacking Christianity as a belief system, I’m not, really. My issues with it stem largely from the mockery most people who call themselves Christians make of it. I’m not saying I’m any better, but I don’t put on a show for people, either. I am what I am. Just saying.

I owe a debt of gratitude to @Depoetic. She mentioned the two verses from Matthew and the bit from Thessalonians. They were good for illustrating my point, so I cited them, here. This stuff, by and large, is my opinion. You are fully entitled to your own. Feel free to share it in comments. I bid you peace.