I watched a video on Facebook the other day that got me thinking. I know, right? How original? It was a satirical video of the “spiritual” people who cherry pick religious beliefs and condemn Christianity. First, I would like to point out why most spiritual people are offended by Christianity. It has been my experience that the Christians that are out there confronting us are the ones that give Christianity a bad rep. Like with ALL religions there are the extremist or as I call them soldiers. These people judge everyone around them. They are constantly telling us we’re wrong and that we are going to hell. I find that amusing because I don’t believe in hell. That threat is empty. It only works on someone who believes in it, therefore would not be a threat to them as they would follow their commandments. These people are the ones we see at events holding up signs of mutilated babies while they condemn abortions and women’s health institutes. If one is constantly being judged and ridiculed they will become defensive. It is natural. The same way most Christians become defensive when they are belittled for their beliefs by an atheist.
I cannot blindly follow any religion or belief system. That is asking me to close my eyes to the things I disagree with, and find immoral. It is in my nature to evaluate new information and adjust my opinion accordingly. So, to come to the cherry-picking assessment. Yes, I do cherry-pick. What is wrong with that? At least I’m not cherry-picking out of one religion and calling myself devout. I believe it was Mark Twain who said, “There is no such thing as an original idea.” Just because my belief system doesn’t have a name should I attempt to think of every concept in a unique fashion? I’m not writing a paper I’m attempting to find and have meaning in my life. I find a belief that strikes a chord within me and I apply it to my life experience. For example, meditation. I practice yoga and I find meditation to be extremely healing. I believe that looking within one’s own soul and calming one’s presence will reveal thoughts and revelations that would not otherwise be known. I believe in the power of thought. When one is constantly negative they not only attract negativity, it is the only thing they see. Visa-versa, neither is healthy in my opinion. Finding a balance is the key. Our perception of the world is everything, what else are we to use for evaluating our existence?
I also admire and follow the teachings of Jesus. This does not mean I worship him, nor do I worship the Dalai Lama whom I also admire. Jesus preached love. He washed the feet of a “whore” and was kind to her. This is an example of showing love to those who need it the most. Those who are beaten, judged, crucified. Those who have made grievous mistakes in their lives. He did not teach to yell and scream, to persecute. He asked us to love they neighbor as we love our selves. Think deeply on that. Some may say, “I don’t love myself I have poor self-esteem.” Shut the fuck up. You eat food, you keep yourself alive, that is the truest sense of love and self-preservation. Love others, that is not a hard concept to get. If we show love we teach compassion, and it spreads. Love is at the center of my entire belief system. That to me, is the meaning of life. The experience of love.
The purpose of religion, as I learned in anthropology 101, is to provide law and order to a society. For that I think it holds its purpose well. Unfortunately, a bunch of powerful men have altered religious texts in order to meet their needs. And I’m supposed to follow that? No, I’m not going to do that. I have the ability to have emotions and feelings and am able to reason. This is how I judge what is right and wrong.
I do not expect everyone to agree with me, because we all have different experiences that lead to different emotional reactions to an event. I can reason that if we go to war with another country, that country’s people will not like us. I can also reason that if we lay down and take the shit piled on us that any predatory person/country will pounce. That is natural, not to be confused with right. I ask myself what is right and wrong regularly, and how do I know that? I look at the greater good, the happiness of others and myself, the imprint left for future generations. So yes, I do cherry pick. Maybe you should too. If people just didn’t do things that they believed to be wrong, and maybe if people did what they believed to be right, maybe we could live in a world with peace and growth. My choices are not a lack of integrity, rather a sign of my integral strength.