Religion defining who we are

I’m not convinced that its religion that defines us as much as religion provides us with guidelines to which to live by. People change, as does the various faiths; splitting into the myriad paths and denominations we know today. This reflects directly how people define religion as much as religion defines us. I think its a balance of give and take.

How many people do you know, or perhaps you’re one of them, that found themselves straying from one faith to another? Some state that Christianity was the ‘wrong choice’, regardless of the moments they felt inspired and loved by God. Their choice now was and is the right choice. Or is it?

I used to profess to be 100% Wiccan, trusting in the rede of “An it harm none” and the Threefold Law of Return…except, those who hurt me deeply never faced any karmic backlash. If anything, by not defending myself, I endured a lengthy and confused period of pain and hurt.

So did Wicca define who I was as a person? No. It serves to guide, to provide some idea to take a path in a direction, but its not who we are. As with many religion, we also define our religion like clay, molding and shaping to fulfill our needs.

Some pagans need the pathenon of ancient gods and goddesses to strengthen them, while others simply call upon the earth mother as their Divine. Some honor a goddess and a god, while others honor only the feminine aspect. Even Christians vary on their view as to God being wrathful and something to fear, or a heavenly father who loves and forgives you. Paganism is not so different.

So who is right? I see the Divine as malleable, having no real shape or form until someone needs a shape or form. The goddess might appear as a gentle full bellied mother earth figure to you, or perhaps she’s the free-spirited huntress of the Moon. Maybe she’s the aged crone, or maybe you need the darker elements of the goddess of the crossroads or those of destruction.

When I started at the age of 14 in Wicca, the goddess was freespirited and the young warrior. Now she appears as the Mother figure, still having the warrior strength but now tempered with wisdom. I’m sure I’ll connect to the crone as the gray hair takes over my head, and the wrinkles don’t go away when I stop smiling.

So what do you think? Do you define your religion, or does religion define you?


5 responses to “Religion defining who we are

  1. I think for the most part that I define my religion. I have never experienced ‘God’ in the various paths I been on, as I was told I would, so is it because of me or maybe ‘God’ is not like they say? I have weaved back and forth and in and out of various beliefs only to find one that will fit my personality.So what happened with me is that I just borrowed from them all those aspects that seem to work from my perspective.I think that it does work both ways . Does a religious extremist become so because of their religion ? Or do they find a religion that is just as hateful as them giving them an excuse to be who they are? Who really can tell which way it goes? I think that people find a religion based on how life treats them, like you have said the Law of Return does not seem to work in most cases , so it would seem, but then maybe it does but not in ways we think? OJ Simpson for example from my perspective I think he was guilty of his ex’s death and her boyfriend but got off Scott free, but his life afterwards was not as glorious as it was and finally he is now in jail for other crimes, may be justice was served?His relationships with friends and relatives I know changed, so that he no longer had the trust and admiration he was accustomed to , so maybe it did return on him , but in other ways, who to say? I would like to think so.I think religions are our way of trying to explain what happens in the world around us , maybe religions play the part of a coping mechanism?Maybe we just need a since of community with like minded folks, it serves as a since of belonging maybe? All I know is that from my perspectives all the various gods tend to reflect the ethics and personality of the culture they are in and with those that worship them ,maybe the gods work as our role models ,perhaps? If I had all the answers maybe I would be better off than I am. All we have to go on are assumptions no one really knows what is going on in this life or the next if there is one so we just do the best we can with what we have to go on, and so it goes.
    blessed be

  2. Great thoughts in this post, thanks for posting such provacative musings. I am right there with you when you mention the malleable Divine. I think what makes the experience so unique is that as when get older and our consciousness’ expand with our wisdom of ourselves and surroundings so does our understanding of the Divine. Same Divine but different meanings and weight to us.

    The definition of my Religion may very well be based on my wisdom. Wisdom only comes from experience. It can be passed on to others and maybe so does my understanding of my Religion, but ultimately I think Religion will be further defined by those who continue to study and add on to my wisdom with their own consciousness and wisdom.

    Thanks again, excellent food for thought.

  3. Pingback: Do we define our Religion? « Wiccan Friend

  4. Humanity defines their beliefs–lest we would confine ourselves to that which is not like us.

    • Ultimately I agree. People create religions to make sense of things, but some people are also followers and some religions offer to do the thinking for them. At that point, which gets defined? The person or the belief?

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