I prefer to think of myself as spiritual rather than religious, but it feels dishonest not to explain, as best I can, what my personal theology is. After all to discuss God and spirituality without acknowledging the parts played by religion would be unforgivably narrow-minded. The Washington Times quoted a study as saying that “84% of the world’s population identifies with a religious group.” I consider myself a Unitarian, which I fear labels me a Christian.
Christianity is definitely the dominant religion where I live. I was eight before I learned that most other Christians consider Unitarians the same as Pagans. I lost two friends to such religious differences before I realized just to avoid religious discussion as much as possible. Funnily enough, the only women I know who aren’t Christian are in fact, Pagans. I can’t blame them, here we get Trinitarian Christianity shoved down our throats at an early age. My daughter was seven when she came home telling me she was sick of her friends assuming she was a Christian.
While Unitarianism has its roots in Christianity, it is the duty for each and every devout Unitarian to build their own theology. As a group it would be more apt to call us Humanitarians, since we believe that every human has the inalienable right to their own beliefs.
On the rare occasion that someone asks me if I am a Christian, I answer, “that depends how you define it, I follow the teachings of Jesus, but I do not believe in deifying him.” With a confused look, that ends the conversation. Honestly though, many early Christians didn’t worship him either. In the fourth century, the Arian Christians refuted the trinity as well. Unfortunately it was decided that Arianism was heresy and many Arian tribes were slaughtered by the Trinitarians despite both, supposedly, believing in the teachings of Jesus Christ.
I would like to believe that Jews and Muslims would be more open to me, since they also believe in one God and view Jesus as a prophet. Unfortunately I only know one Muslim and he does not not like to talk about religion, so many of his people being killed because of it right now. The only Jew I have known was a man who said that he was half, on his father’s side, and his Russian Grandfather died in a cell in Siberia for it.
Yes, I would rather think of myself as spiritual rather than religious. So much evil has been, and continues to be, done because of it. If only religion could be changed to an inclusive rather than exclusive force.
Wasn’t that what Jesus wanted when he said not only to “love thy neighbor,” but also to “love thy enemy?”
(732 days to go)