Forget the word “religion.” Forget the crosses and menorahs. Forget the churches and temples for a moment. I want to know what rituals hold your life together. I want to know what secret song of gratitude you sing to the universe. I want to know out of what ultimate value you are living your life. And I want to ask if some part of you does not long to share all of that with other human beings in community? Does any part of you feel a responsibility to share your experiences with children trying to find their way in this bewildering world? This is what I mean by the word “religion,” but call it by any name you like. Purge it of all you abhor, but remember that you do not need to live and die with your deepest treasures unknown to any but yourself.
I am Dianic Wiccan, and I have been for going on thirty years now. The value I live by is basically this: So long as it does no harm to anyone else (including yourself), then do what you will. So live your life to be the best that you can achieve. Rewards are neither promised nor expected…I try to be a good person simply because I think that is how I should live, not out of fear of eternal torture by some celestial boogeyman.
With regards to sharing my faith, most of us don’t believe in proselytizing or seeking converts. If someone approaches us with a sincere desire to learn, then we are happy to teach them. Most Wiccans that I know will not teach or train a child under the age of eighteen. I’ve always been of the opinion that teaching religious beliefs to a young child whose mind and neural pathways are still forming is clear indoctrination and a potential case of child abuse. If a child comes to me with questions…I will answer them after checking with the childs parent to find out if there are any objections.
So the answer to your other question is no. I don’t feel any need to go out and bring the word of my faith to others. I feel that faith is a personal quest and it must be knowingly and avidly sought by the seeker, not force fed to a random person in a quest to fill some churches conversion quota.
I agree that we should not indoctrinate, but I also think any religion is a language for sharing meaning. Even credos like “harm not” or “blessed be” can help people find their way. Defending the earth and the wretched of the earth is a duty, not indoctrination in my opinion. Polluting the earth or exploiting the weak harm a person by definition. Would you agree?
I do agree. If people are open, seeking spirituality and come to you asking about what you believe then I see no issue with giving them your particular brand of ‘good news’.
I used to be a Christian (Lutheran) a long time ago, but found a lot more fulfillment and acceptance in my current fatith…much to my parents chagrin. But I have found that just by living my life, being true to my principles and showing love in my day to day dealings with others has drawn dozens of people over the years to ask me questions about what I believe. And when they do I am happy to fill them in.
That sounds wonderful Aislynn. Thank you for sharing those beautiful thoughts.