I was brought up in a religion free household. It wasn’t that my family were anti-religion, we simply had no religion in the house. My sister flirted with attending a Methodist Church when she was a teen but, that was more about the social side of things than the religious side. It wasn’t until I was 30 that I took a good look at myself and managed to sort out in my head and heart where I stood on these matters.
For me there is a distinct difference between religion and spirituality. My viewpoint is an individual one and may not marry up with textbook definitions or, other people’s definitions. For me, personally, religions seems to be more about the mechanics of things, the requirement to attend certain services, to follow certain observances, the doctrine if you will. Spirituality is about what you believe, your moral code, your world view.
In my job I meet a huge variety of people of all kinds of faults and beliefs. There are those who are religious but seem to lack any spirituality. They follow every rule by the letter, they learn passages from sacred texts but seem to lack any real belief in what they do. Then, there are those that don’t follow any specific religion but are incredibly spiritual individuals, having a personal belief set and moral code that they adhere to. Others combine the 2 in a plethora of varieties.
I don’t announce to people that I am Pagan, that I have very specific beliefs and a definite moral code but, I have found that those people who are spiritual recognise it in me and immediately seem to hold a certain warmth towards me. It surprises me at times that I can walk through a door and almost immediately, people seem to welcome me with open arms; a certain ‘something’ in them recognises a certain ‘something’ in me and leads them to trust and welcome me into their life.
I used to work with a lady who was Christian and a very spiritual lady. We often used to talk about hers and my beliefs, never arguing, just discussing our own individual views. I once asked her why she didn’t disapprove of me as I had expected. Her answer was (in essence)…
‘In these days when so many people believe in nothing, it’s wonderful to meet someone who has such strong beliefs. It doesn’t matter that we don’t believe the same things, just that you believe in something.’
This is what I think people recognise in me, and I wish that more people would concentrate on rather than the nuts and bolts of different religions.