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On Spirituality

I think I’ve finally figured (some of) this out…

It’s always puzzled me how there are so many religions and different belief systems, many of which claim to be the only “right” way – obviously they can’t all be right.  With beliefs ranging from very sex-positive to abstinent, from praying five times a day to never praying, from thinking about every action to acting with no premeditation whatsoever, there is a plethora of ready-made systems available on the proverbial market.

But by no means is spirituality limited to the ready-made. Everybody makes little customizations, whether consciously or not, and some even choose to build their own version from the ground up, sampling different religions and interpretations.

What links all of these together? What makes a “good” faith? I would say a good faith is one that a) makes its followers better for it, and b) makes the world better for it. Perhaps a better word to use would be “interpretation” of a faith – I think there are few faiths that are inherently bad.

Now by this measure, some radical interpretations lose out. Certain kinds of radical Islam and radical Judaism are right at the top of that list, followed closely by radical/evangelical Christianity. Anything can be bad, taken too far, and those interpretations are way “out there”. When followers of an interpretation start murdering others, occupying the lands of others, or spew hate (case in point, Westborough Baptist) “in the name of their god”, I have a problem.

On the other hand, there are always exceptions. It’s hard to say that radical Buddhism is bad, for example.

So there still remain many belief systems. What, then, are the key factors in choosing?

I think a good belief system will both meet the two requirements aforementioned, and just as importantly, challenge the believer. It shouldn’t be too easy to follow, and it shouldn’t allow too much complacency. Perfection is unattainable, so we always strive to improve ourselves and the world around us.

For me, at this point in time, this boils down to a mix of Buddhism; Taoism; some miscellaneous concepts I’ve picked up along the way, mainly through theatre; and a belief from a sect of Islam that everybody, no matter who, what, or how they worship, is worshipping the same thing. Atheist, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, whatever – I don’t care. So long as you are challenging yourself and challenging your worldview, your faith is good.




  1. Fotch Lvr
    01/02/2010 at 10:26 pm

    I completely agree with your view! and i also found your aforementioned theory relating the punks and buddhism to be absolutely perfect for my lifestyle!

    • Tim
      01/02/2010 at 11:21 pm

      Glad to know I’m not the only one.
      And as those punks say, “Meditate and destroy!”

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