toxic thought waste site

Theological whimsy, metaphysical larks, and other spiritually radioactive waste products.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Religion TODO list

Recently in a conversation with a believer on religion it was proposed that if I wanted to advance my relationship with god (I'm at -1 right now) that I would need to start by admitting I was a sinner and powerless with out god. Etc, etc. Of course the problem with this is that since I don't believe in god, even if I said these words, he would know I didn't actually mean them so I doubt it would count for much. So even if the whole Christian world view is correct it doesn't matter since there doesn't seem to be any way to get from where I am to a position of belief.

But it's worse. Since there are N religions (and variations) that I could try in my quest to be spiritual I might spend my whole life test-driving various faiths and could die before I actually got to the *real* one. I wonder if god takes into consideration that you were on the trajectory of finding the true religion even if you didn't happen to actually get there before you die. Of course, my sense of fairness and god's apparently are not well aligned.

The above got me wondering in what order I would try-out the various religions. So here is my tentative list:
  1. Buddhism (zen or otherwise)
  2. Taoism
  3. Wicca / New Age crap
  4. Hinduism / Yoga
  5. Christianity
  6. Judaism
  7. Islam

There's obviously a lot left out but it gives the general idea. Buddhism seems very practical and the idea of meditating appeals to my empirical nature. Taoism has always appealed to me, especially after reading Smullyan's "The Tao is Silent". The book always puts me into some strange quantum mechanical state where I'm confused, enlightened, irritated and amused all at the same time. As far as chi and all that goes, seems like nonsense, but I could temporarily suspend judgment if necessary. Next comes Wicca/NewAge. I'm not sure how much enlightenment I'd actually expect from this area, but I have such a negative opinion of it even though I don't really know it in detail it would at least be interesting to test my prejudices. Hinduism/Yoga is another "practical" religion. I do some yoga now but there is no overt spiritual aspect in the classes just a semi-meditation cool down after the work out. I'm pretty skeptical of the theory behind yoga but it's a great workout so not too much of a risk. The polytheism seems a little weird but it's probably different than it seems from the out side. Of the Abrhamic traditions, I put Christianity first just because it's familiar and would be relatively easy to get back into. Judaism is next largely because it seems like Jews have influence in this world disproportionate to their numbers. They seem like smart together people so they'd be fun to hang out with. Islam is last mostly because it scares me. This is the religion I'd least *want* to be true so I save it for last. But once again it could be very different than the rap it gets from the competition.

So *if* I go shopping I now have a shopping list. Of course if I spend 30 years trying out Buddhism and discover it is *not* the true way, I'm pretty much screwed for getting thru the list. So I best get started....

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