Pew conducted a fascinating research study on the changing religious landscape in this country.
One of the key data points was how the number of religiously unaffiliated adults has increased by nearly twenty million in the past decade.
This growing population has been called nones. As in, none of the above. Resistant to religious classification. Disavowing association with organized faith.
And that’s awesome. Very modern and inclusive.
But the question is, if there’s now a designated category for the unaffiliated, shouldn’t there also be one for the poly affiliated? Because think how many millions of people probably fall into that population.
Individuals like myself who have too many spiritual influences to choose just one. Those who find beauty, inspiration and insight in many faiths. Those who approach various holy scriptures literately, but not literally. People who invent their own religion as creative response to the mysteries that permeate their lives.
On the multiple choice exam of religious faith, they’re the ones who check the box that says all of the above.
Beecher famously asked the question:
What is the bible in your house? It should be the gospel according to your own name. You write your own bible.
That was over a century ago, and his words have never been more relevant. And so, for those of us who defy classification and live in a post binary world, here’s the challenge.
We don’t physically have to sit down by candlelight and compose our own bible. Although it’s a fantastic exercise if you have the time. Rather, let us balance our disinterest with religion with a selective reverence for religious rituals and ideas. Let us feel liberated to engage with many faiths without having to subscribe to its supernatural content. And let us choose where we provoke the psychological experience of meaning.
I recall an interview with the late great zen master of standup comedy. Shandling once did an enlightening interview with a therapist a few years before he died. And here’s what he said.
If you actually know who you are, you’re not so quick to jump up and take a side. Because with the true self, there is no difference. There is no side to be taken. You’ve risen above the duality. It’s a unique state of consciousness where you have no preference. And it’s not a cop out. It’s not a place where you prefer a side, rather, you’re able to compassionately see every side. As opposed to having a permanent belief system behind which you’re desperately trying to be secure.
It’s time to pick the box that says all of the above.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What label might be closing you off from a universe of meaningful opportunities?
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That Guy with the Nametag
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