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Ironic Contradictions

I'm a long time reader - since way back when I was seven. That makes it over three quarters of my life that I will be a reader for. But it is worth it. When I'm not reading or wasting my time online on here or Goodreads I'll be off playing video games, studying teaching and messing around with friends and pop culture. Or reading some more.

We are all religious

My life involves meeting with so many different types of people, people that I aim to encourage and befriend where possible. It honestly disappoints me when I aim to be friendly or share my perspective but others close themselves off to accepting that only they can be correct. Some of the types of people include: church members, university students, workmates, customers, cricket teammates and the good old friends of friends. We all have similar and different interests though it is the similarities with which I generally befriend people.

Either way, all of my brief introduction was intended to be a segue into what I really wished to discuss. This is another of the questions people ask me when they discover that, hey, I am actually a Christian who goes to Church and all. This question generally goes along the lines of: so you're religious then? And for me this leads to one of the more uncomfortable answers I ever have to provide. I would love for my answer to be no, yet the answer I provide most of the time is 'yes' with an unspoken 'but I would like not to be'...

You see I believe that there is a difference between being religious and having a faith set or belief in something. While others categorise 'religion' as being a belief in a god or supernatural power of some kind I see religion as being linked more to superstition and ritual. That is to say when people say 'religion' I think of a system by which people strive to overcome their humanity and be better. Which to me is something anyone can do - you really don't need a faith in a godly power to do that. The question becomes more along the lines of: why do you need to be better and have moral codes? Why not live in a world where anything is permissible? 

But that is beside the point. The main argument that I wanted to make in this post is not along the lines of 'hey I'm right and you're wrong'. I certainly hope that I'm right and believe in that hope but that is different from hoping that everyone else is wrong. I don't want to claim a type of arrogance linked to anything that I could believe because that defeats the purpose of what I do believe. My point is that when I hear the word 'religion' I don't think of religion as being the part of Christianity connected to a belief in eternal salvation. I think of it as being the part connected to human effort creating church services that 'must be attended' or penances for moral sins and efforts. I think of religion as being the efforts that we all make, as humans, to ritualistically purge ourselves of any sense of 'evil'. And then again there are some who actively strive religiously to make themselves be purged of anything that could be considered 'good'.

So you see, when someone asks me: 'are you religious'? I would like to say 'no'. I would like to say that I don't view it as a religion but as faith. An issue of semantics in that regard, but one important to me because of what the words symbolise in my mind. And yet I know that in many ways I can be religious and I believe that we all can be. We all have our moral rituals and codes, silly little things to others but serious sacramental things to us.

I know that when I reflect on myself it leads me to ask myself: why are these things important to me. Are they important in terms of how I relate to others? Or are they merely symbolic rituals - the way I live my life religiously? And I think these are questions that we all can ask ourselves regardless of our faith beliefs: why do we do these things? And are they truly important? Because action stems from belief and if I am acting one way and claiming to believe another then what is it that I truly believe...