When I was in college I wrote a thesis on “Mesopotamian Society’s Need for Religion.” I love anthropology, I hate history. History only tells you what happened, anthropology tells you why it happened. And I’m all about the ‘whys’ in life. One of my favorite classes in college was a Comparative Religion Class. In that class I studied spiritual principles I didn’t even know existed. What I learned is, all Spiritual Principles believe in God. There are Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, Spirits, Angels, Fairies, I could go on for pages and pages listing nothing but “spirits” associated with different spiritual practices. What they all have in common is a Supreme Being responsible for starting it all. Starting us. From researching on my own, talking to and sharing with people of varying faiths, and deep meditation, I have come to the conclusion, it’s all the same God. Different cultures worship, venerate, and pay homage to this Deity in different ways. Yet it’s the same God. My second opinion is, He is perfectly okay with being called by different names. He doesn’t mind if some cultures assign a wife, mother, or Goddess to him. He has children other than we measly humans who desire to be Gods therefore some religions base part of their faith on believing they are ‘God’s Children.’ He’s okay with this too. In fact, He’s okay with just about everything we think, do, and pray as long as we’re acting from a place of honesty, compassion, empathy and love.
Now for the so called ‘Pagan’ practices. I don’t know of any spiritual principles (other than maybe atheism) that doesn’t believe in a central God figure. God created the Heavens and earth, plants, trees, flowers, water, soil, rock, minerals, herbs, gems, insects, fish, birds, animals, amphibians, air, space, comets, asteroids, suns, moons, stars, other planets, other galaxies. I’m sure I left something out that (S)He is responsible for, but you get the idea. Part of honoring God is to honor, care for and love everything else in existence. Be grateful for the earth and everything on the earth and everything we have available to us from the earth. When I pay homage to plants and trees, when I share my dinner scraps with wildlife, when I celebrate the seasonal equinoxes, when I stand outside at night and say ‘hello’ to the moon and stars, when I ask the heavens for wisdom, guidance, answers, or just love, I am acknowledging the mystery of the unseen. I am sensing the energy of presence lingering there just beyond my physical sight, some how knowing there is life and all the emotions which attach to life – making it more than mere existence. I believe this is what God always intended with the creation of the very first life on earth.
From a Christian perspective this is a little out there for many. The problem I have with the secular Christian faith is it is based completely in guilt and shame suffered by Jews after Jesus was crucified. What the Christian Bible doesn’t tell you is Jesus wasn’t crucified because he was the son of God. Jesus’ death was purely political. At that time in ancient Israel there was no separation of church and state. Religion was the law and government was based entirely upon it. There was conflict between the Roman, Greek, and Jewish faiths, thereby causing political conflict. The Jewish Priests realized Jesus was growing in popularity and they feared they might lose control, so they plotted with the Romans for his execution. His followers (by the way, at least two of his disciples were actual blood brothers born to his mother, Mary) were so riddled with guilt because they had not been more actively involved in his defense that they started a new religion based upon his death.
Would the Christian Faith be what it is today if Jesus had not been executed? We will never know for sure, but my guess is no, it wouldn’t. Yet I don’t think Jesus ever intended for his followers to be racked with guilt and shame. Everything we know about the man, was written after his death. Written by men who blamed themselves for not defending him more.
I want to interject here, that I believe and love Jesus dearly. My faith is not based in the Christian Bible but in personal experience and relationship with Jesus. When I read the Gospels, my perception of Jesus is that he was kind, gentle, loved children, respected women, and was an all around really good man. He was giving his life in service to help humans understand the true nature of God. A God who created all that exists before he created us. Humans were the last thing God brought into existence. Everything else came before us and was created for us. I personally think we are doing Him a great injustice by separating ourselves and our beliefs into separate spiritual practices. True honor to this Deity is to respect, honor and love Him and all that He created.