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Ask the Patriarch 251
What Religion Am I?

from: Michael

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Dear Sir:

Reference: What Religion Am I FAQ

I was wondering if you could supply me with a label for my religious beliefs? I have not found a religion as of now that fits me snugly.

I can tell you that I believe strongly in Karma (what goes around comes around) and that I do not believe that "God" exists as a single entity. Rather, I believe that everything in the world is connected (with threads we cannot see) and that the patchwork of the threads creates reality. In essence, everything we do affects everything else (butterfly effect).

I also do not believe in reincarnation; When we die, we become part of the patchwork of reality (we become said "threads"). I am unsure if my beliefs are even closely aligned to an established religion, but any help is greatly appreciated.


The Patriarch replies:


You say you want a label for your religious beliefs. I wonder why you want or need a label.

Perhaps you want to use the label to find some reasonably like-minded folks so that you can attend religious services with, perform rites together, and celebrate religious holidays. If that's the case, you might find your answer in the Unitarian Universalists. It's unlikely anyone will have precisely the same views as you, and most will have quite different views, but they do celebrate religious diversity. And I would point out that their seventh principle is: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. That would fit in quite nicely with your concept of threads.

Perhaps you are simply looking for a simple understandable response when other people ask: "What religion are you?" If that's the case, then your best reply would be: "None." Any other reply that is other than mainstream religion will end up requiring further elaboration and explanation.

Or perhaps you are simply looking for a label which satisfies you personally. Then I would suggest pantheism may be appropriate. But ultimately, there is such a huge range of beliefs encompassed in the term pantheism,simply calling yourself a pantheist says about as much about your religious position as a believer in a God in Heaven achieves by calling herself a monotheist.

Quite honestly, Michael, there is no answer to your question. You want the name of a religion "that fits me snugly." You are not going to find something that fits you snugly. By and large in religion, a snug fit is achieved by adjusting yourself to fit the religion you wear rather than the other way around. When you step out of the mainstream, and abandon the idea of a denominational church with its mission statement, its principles and its 37 Articles of Faith, you are on your own. You are outside of any established religion. You have taken responsibility for your own beliefs, and you don't have to worry whether others share them. Ultimately, you don't have a religion. Your best answer - in my view - is none.