The Djao'Mor'Terra Collective (fayanora) wrote,
The Djao'Mor'Terra Collective
fayanora

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Yom Kippur and religion versus spirituality

Earlier on Twitter and Facebook I was mocking Yom Kippur. But some comments from a friend made me think about it. I pondered it, an finally figured out what my basic thoughts on it are. Basically, I've never understood doing something just because one's religion required it. To me, my spirituality is for me, by me, for my benefit. My Gods neither require worship nor want worship; I don't worship my Gods, I seek their counsel. I don't pray, I perform magick. My Deities are there for giving advice when asked, but they don't interfere beyond that. They don't interfere in the world itself, so there is no point in praying (except to ask for help finding solutions). I've pretty much always had this perspective on Deities. I forgot that perspective for a brief time during which I became an angry atheist for how much my life was sucking back in the late 90's, but after that settled down, I remembered that the Gods don't have a lot of power in the universe anymore. They made existence, and souls, and let us lifeforms figure out the rest. That's the whole point of existence, IMO: to exist, and explore, and remake yourself if you so desire.

Getting back on topic, I find people who do things because their religion requires it of them to be... silly. Of course, I've long had a problem with authority, been a free spirit all my life. My basic take on any command is "Uh huh. What's in it for me?" I only obey commands when there is something in it for me. And "You'll go to Hell" always made me respond either "How convenient that your God will punish me for not agreeing with you" or "I'm already there. This world IS Hell." Because given how my life has gone over the decades, there are lots of times when Hell would be preferable.

Now, if someone does something because *they* want to do it, whether their religion requires it or not, that is another matter altogether. I respect that. If someone fasts on Yom Kippur merely because they think God will punish them if they don't, then I do not respect that attitude. Because that's twisting something that should be very personal into a form of mind control. Religion is to spirituality as force-feeding is to a normal diet. I respect spirituality, I don't respect religion.

But if someone fasts on Yom Kippur because they want to, then fine, I respect that. I might personally think it's silly, but I respect it anyway. Same goes for other practices.

However, I make exceptions for any practice, spiritual or religious, that harms other people or is needlessly cruel to people or animals. So I will never respect any belief that leads someone to murder, rape, torture, or abuse another human being. Nor any belief that causes one to neglect a child. So "We don't believe in that fancy Western medicine" is NOT on the list of beliefs I respect, if it hurts other people. If you want to forgo medical treatment for yourself, fine. I think you're an idiot, but fine. Yet if you try to impose this on children or any other people, then I will do what I can to bring you down.

Crossposted from http://fayanora.dreamwidth.org
Tags: religion, spirituality, thought of the day
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