Feeling blessed to have stumbled on Rob (from Rob Says)’s piece Religion a few days ago, I was catapulted to a few memories tucked in my recesses. At one time in my life, I would criticize a non-religious person’s comments about religion. But Rob’s words rang true.
I am not a practitioner of my faith because it is what I knew. In regard to religion in my life, I fumbled about and have seen the good/bad/ugly of it. I had to ask myself the same questions that Rob asked himself. I have seen where faith could have given structure to good people, but it didn’t. I ended up making the argument that many of the followers of my religion were better off “not bothering”.
The irony is that I am not exactly the most pious knight in the fold. (I enjoyed an indiscriminate time frame of frivolity marked by the sting of the essence of life; alcohol, and dopamine rewards contained in the beauty of women). But I learned much about other religions and have felt that the best of those gave me inspiration. I found out where my struggle began. I learned more about my own spirituality, in spite of many around me growing up that just put on the motions.
My faith meant more to me after I met people like Rob. Yes, people like Rob. The kind of people that had been in religions completely different than mine. But the difference is that Rob has been contemplative and learned enough about himself. The traditions and tenets were not for him, even though it worked for some. I admired those that have left and those that embraced (for the right reason) further, on the same plane. Within the challenging thought is where I found what my beliefs meant.
The process that Rob went through showed signs of intellectual honesty and a part of mental health. I feel that people that can’t “think things through” are doing themselves a disservice and eventually are doing people around them harm. Staying in a religion for the wrong reason is bad. Staying in the wrong religion for you is bad. (I can go on).
I never considered myself a religious free agent but I was smart enough to know my religion’s shortfalls. (And yes, there are more than a few). I learned about other religion’s downsides and their good sides. But it was a journey which I think every man should undertake.
I took a non-religious man to remind me of the importance of being honest about my religion.
H/T to our friend Rob @ Rob Says.