Believe nothing just because a so-called wise person said it. Believe nothing just because a belief is generally held. Believe nothing just because it is said in ancient books. Believe nothing just because it is said to be of divine origin. Believe nothing just because someone else believes it. Believe only what you yourself test and judge to be true.
The article, 9 Questions That Atheists Might Find Insulting (And the Answers) by Greta Christina, was interesting. I don’t claim to be an atheist though I can appreciate many of their arguments. It’s really none of my business what you believe as long you don’t impose your beliefs on others. I may not perceive the Divine (or God) in the same as you but that doesn’t mean either of us is wrong. Your belief in God is real to you but I don’t need to be convinced that your belief should be my reality. Likewise, I have no need to convince you that my perception of the Divine also should be your perception. My reality should not be your reality.
I’m a little surprised that didn’t get comments on my Facebook meme when I said, “I abandoned the assumption of having religion and that has been spiritually liberating.” Maybe people did react to it but didn’t say anything. That wasn’t a statement of non-belief or anything like that. I simply meant that I do not assume that having a religion or being part of one is necessary and that I don’t feel any obligation to follow any particular dogma or set of scriptures or belief system. I don’t renounce religion. Rather I renounce the attachment to the label of a religion.
Claiming a religion can be very limiting. It’s really a label, an identity, a way of defining yourself. Many people are very attached to those labels and identities and some will fight to the death to defend them. That isn’t always healthy as attachments often limit personal and spiritual growth. Growth often requires that we leave our comfort zones and let go of our attachments.
I have found inspirational and meaningful messages in the Old and New Testaments, in the teachings of The Buddha and in Vedic texts. I’ve also found inspiration and meaning in the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, Douglas Adams, J. K. Rowling, Gene Roddenberry, Joseph Heller, Lewis Carroll, George Carlin, John Lennon and many others. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy changed my perspective on life as much as any spiritual tome. There are many paths to Truth and all are valid.
I don’t take any spiritual or religious text as literal fact even if divinely inspired. The texts were written by men who may have been given to editorial license and bias. Truth can be found in these texts but it is often subtle and may require much contemplation and meditation to find that truth. Even then, it may be subject to individual bias. Facts are bits and pieces of intellectual data and can be taken at face value until superseded by new evidence or a new fact. A spiritual truth is intuitively known or revealed at a subtler and deeper level than the intellect and tends to holds true universally.
I do not identify myself as an atheist. Nor do I identify or align myself as a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Taoist, a Hindu or a member of any other religious sect. Agnostic may be the most apt description. Agnosticism is not doubting that God or any deity exists but realizing that one does not, and can not, know or comprehend the true nature of the Divine.
Question everything and believe nothing unless you yourself have tested it and judged it to be true. In my short time on this planet, I’ve realized that what you believe doesn’t have as much impact as what you do. Your beliefs will not entitle you to a “get out of jail free” card that absolves your sins nor will your beliefs gain you a backstage pass to Heaven. Buying indulgences is a scam. (Didn’t Jesus have something to say about a rich man’s chances of attaining the Kingdom of Heaven?) The only way to negate karma is through your actions. There are no shortcuts.