This is the first of a series on how to choose a religion.
It’s a remarkable age we live in. At any time prior to this in human history, your religion was chosen for you. Your religion was simply the common knowledge of your tribe. Everything your tribe thought it knew about the universe was its “religion”. Choosing another religion was practically unthinkable (unless, of course, you joined another tribe).
Nowadays the opposite situation holds. You must choose your religion, if you want to have one. Even if you grow up in a family with strong religious convictions, at some point you have to decide: am I going to keep with the family tradition, or am I going to go my own way?
This odd turn of events occurred because of increasing knowledge. Over the past few hundred years, as literacy increased and travel became easier, it was more and more clear to everyone that not everyone agreed on everything. People began to realize that they had choices. What you grew up with was not necessarily correct; there were other ways of looking at things. Now there are dozens of sects of Christianity, various kinds of Islam, pagans of every flavor you could imagine, shamanistic ways clung to tenaciously by disappearing tribes, asian religious philosophies (or philosophical religions), new age, and the old reliable standby, Science.
Some people throw up their hands and remain agnostic. (Old saying: the agnostic doesn’t know the nature of God, and doesn’t believe you do, either.) There is no way to know the truth, they say; so how can you choose? That, of course, is itself a choice; and, I hope to show, not the only rational one.
I recently went through this process myself, after an extensive study of a great many religions, and I’ve made a choice I’m happy with. I’m going to share some of my thoughts, and I hope they’ll prove useful to anyone who’s trying on various religions for size. (“That dogma is you, baby!”)
Posts in this Series:
- How to Choose a Religion II: Definition of Religion
- How to Choose a Religion III: Summary Available
- How to Choose a Religion IV: Why Be Religious?
- How to Choose a Religion V: Common Pitfalls: Community, Fear
- How to Choose a Religion VI: the Search for Truth
- How to Choose a Religion VII: Languages of Spirit
- How to Choose a Religion VIII: Old Religions, New Religions