I started this blog years ago with the intent of chronicling my spiritual journey. With a flourish, I typed up a self-important post regaling my readers (of whom there were none) the glorious history of my religious beliefs: from Catholic, to agnostic, to “Neopagan agnostic.” Towards the end I state the the following:
My specific views on a “higher power” could be called panentheistic. I view “God/Diety/the Devine” as the eternal force, rather than an anthropomorphized man-like entity, that exists behind the universe. It has both traditionally male and female characteristics. I also see every god or goddess believed in to be a human representation of some aspect of “the Devine” though my Christian roots compel me to call this eternal force “God.”
I now cringe at the text I wrote in 2010. I cringe, not because the beliefs are ignorant, but because it’s ignorant to attempt describing one of the most difficult aspects of one’s being using words for which you only have a cursory grasp.
I know I’m not alone in doing this. I’ve witnessed others make similarly ridiculous statements of faith because they lack the words the properly define themselves. We use words we saw in a book we read once, something we found after spending an hour looking up religious beliefs on Wikipedia, or maybe something we had said to us in another online forum. It’s easy to do, almost natural in some communities, because we see others doing it. Does that make it right?
Does using terms we don’t understand to describe, or label, ourselves dilute the meaning of the words and philosophy behind them? Does it do a disservice to those who truly hold the beliefs we’re assigning to ourselves, when we’re not even really sure of those beliefs?
I don’t claim to have answers to my questions. They’re just thoughts running through my mind. Things I’m contemplating and trying to form opinions on.
I am starting to believe one thing, though: that I want to fully understand the meaning of the words I used to describe myself. This will require a lot of reading and contemplating, but it has to be worth it to understand who I am.
I concluded my original post with the following statement: Beyond that, I’m still searching.
And so I continue: wandering and searching.