Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Interesting religions

A blog thing from Matt Stone, via Jarred, who tagged me.
what religions do you find most interesting apart from your own? Would you pick one of the major world religions? Say Islam, or Buddhism, or Hinduism or Judaism? Or would you pick something more obscure, like Wicca or Taosim or Rastafarianism or Gnosticism? Would you pick irreligion, say Atheism or Agnosticism? Or if you're not Christian, would you say Christianity?

To participate, state your own religion (or irreligion) as your first preference, state the other religions that interest you most as your second and third preferences, then pass onto five others. If you're feeling brave, say why they interest you.
OK, well, I practise two religions, Unitarianism (since 2007) and Wicca (since 1991), so presumably I can't have either of those on my list. I do this partly to remind me that all religions are metaphors for whatever is really going on (and this is made explicit in both Wiccan and Unitarian theologies). It is going to be quite difficult for me to pick three religions, as I find all religion fascinating, so I'm going to pick my favourites that appeal to me most at the moment.

I am fascinated by Taoism - I think the writings of Lao Tsu are the clearest expression of the mystery of life that has yet been formulated. Also, I like Taoism's positive attitude to life and the world (shared by both Wicca and Unitarianism).

I find Judaism really interesting - I love the rituals (though not the liturgy in many cases) and all the baroque twiddly bits. They also have great food, music and philosophy; they love life; and they cleverly integrate ritual and prayer into everyday life.

I'm currently really interested in spiritual and Christian atheism, as described by people like Richard Holloway, André de Comte-Sponville, and Andrew Brown. Holloway's books Doubts and Loves: What is left of Christianity, Godless Morality, and On Forgiveness are well worth a read.

Any mystical tradition that is based on a rational footing gets my vote, really: so Kabbalah, Sufism, the Quakers, Christian mystics and the Brahmo Samaj also interest me. And it's not a religion as such, but queer theology is really interesting. I also like religions with plenty of ritual and bells-and-smells (the only problem is that these often have elaborate theology to which I find it impossible to subscribe).

I disapprove of religions that think they have the only truth, or more truth than anyone else. Spiritual truths must be available to everyone everywhere in all times, and accessible by reason and intuition, not special revelation.

I tag Bo, Evn, Pax, D Miley, and James.


Anonymous said...

Interesting, Taoism one I find fascinating myself. In fact, to clarify my second choise, Zen is the stream of Buddhism I find most interesting and Zen is one of the more Taoist influenced streams of Buddhism so there's a hidden second option in there :-)

Your comment on bells and smells without elaborate theology is also interesting to here. I really identify with that. In my approach to Christianity I lean towards multisensory ritual but essentials emphasizing teaching. You might call it Catholic influenced Anabaptism.

Yewtree said...

Ah, now that's interesting, as the Socinian fore-runners of the Unitarians emerged out of the north Italian liberal Anabaptists, then went on to found the Minor Brethren in Poland, which was eventually driven out of Poland into Transylvania, where it became the Unitarian Church there.

Yes, Zen Buddhism was a hidden second option for me too.

tina FCD said...

Just stopped by to read your meme. :)

Anonymous said...

Dear heart,

First off I am deeply saddened that you feel moved to move away from Paganism, it is our loss, but we each must be true to ourselves in our Spiritual journeys.

Secondly, I am not rightly sure I can honestly take part in this little meme. I really cannot imagine not being Pagan, its such a good fit for me... I will try but it may be a while before I post it.


Yewtree said...

Thanks Pax - you don't have to imagine being an adherent of the other religions you list; you just have to say what ones interest you.

I find Christian spirituality interesting, but I will never ever identify as a Christian.

The Rambling Taoist said...

I just wanted to point out that there are two forms of Taoism: philosophic and religious. The former predates that latter by several thousand years.

Yewtree said...

Hi Rambling Taoist, thanks for dropping by - yes I knew about that distinction. Which one are you?