Friday, December 30, 2011

A Religious Thing

Religion is a personal matter in my opinion and that is why I moved away from most organized religions. I did, however, help start a Unitarian Universalist congregation fifteen years ago. I am no longer a member of that particular group but I still identify with the general principles of the UU denomination. It is a very open faith that explores wisdom from many faiths. Services are often inspired by those of other religions and cultures and some of my favorites draw from Native American beliefs.

A few nights ago I was reading a section I had marked years ago in a book called “The Wisdom of the Native Americans,” a collection of Indian oration edited by Kent Nerburn, a religion and art expert from Minnesota. This part is very much in sync with my beliefs.

The worship of the Great Mystery is silent, solitary, free from all self-seeking. … It is solitary because we believe that God is nearer to us in solitude and there are no priests authorized to come between us and our Maker. … Our faith cannot be formulated in creeds, nor forced upon any who are unwilling to receive it; hence there is no preaching, proselytizing, nor persecution, neither are there any scoffers or atheists. Our religion is an attitude of mind, not a dogma.

What it means to me is this: religion and spirituality are things we decide on for ourselves as individuals and not as a result of somebody else telling us what to believe. We can share our thoughts with others in conversation or group church services, but ultimately it all lies within us each as one person.

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