In the old days, before our time, before mass communication and ever-increasing ubiquity of access to information, people were mostly presented with a single form of spirituality – it was the same form as everyone else in the village and we were informed that this was the only way. People could either choose to ignore it or go with it, but were told often told emphatically that they ignored or defied it at their own mortal peril.
These days we can choose. Well, we always could, and everyone has always been called to make a spiritual choice, but these days we are presented with a spiritual supermarket – a pick n’ mix of religions, philosophies and belief options. Traditional religionists probably don’t like this, but I do. I think it’s a very, very good thing.
And I believe God agrees with me.
It’s Always Been A Matter Of Choice
While my Pick n Mix idea might sound like some cutting-edge shit to say, in fact it’s nothing new. People have always been faced with spiritual choices:
- should I go with what my village’s local church says is gospel or shall I run off and join the slightly different Church down the road?
- Should I pay lip service to belief in order to be a functioning member of society while secretly doubting either parts of the deal or indeed, the whole job lot?
- Shall I stand up for change and be called a dangerous heretic and/or become an agent for change?
- Shall I just defy the crowd and state that I think it’s all a load of bollocks?
We were always faced with choices and always will be.
The thing that’s changed is that the range of options we have to pick and choose from is much larger. We can now access as much information as we could possibly ever use on all the big religions, plus all the little ones, plus all manner of non-traditional options like all the varying ideas that get lumped together under the banner of New Age beliefs.
For example I have chosen these days to incorporate the Christian teachings and models that I grew up with and Zen and Taoist flavoured New Age ideas. I did it to resolve internal conflict between my Inner Child, still in the thrall of the Church I grew up with, and my much more liberal adult leanings. I mixed the two, added mental images of Jesus and some old fashioned prayers to my meditation and general open-mindedness towards all things New Age and voila! Inner child is cool with it; inner turmoil resolved.
And yes, I believe that God is ok with that.