In how many words...?

By Leca
@lecanis (16739)
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
March 6, 2007 8:22pm CST
When asked about your religion, do you usually give a long or a short answer? I've seen a lot of those "what is your religion" threads that pop up just about everyday on mylot, and it interested me the variations in lengths of replies. I tend to give a long answer when asked about my religion, because it is one not many people know about. Also, it is a highly individual religion, where two people claiming it might actually have fairly different beliefs, depending on what Gods are their major deities, what sources they get their information from, their individual balance between historical accuracy and modern practicality, and many other issues. So when explaining my religion I not only explain the general faith, but also what it means to me as an individual. How do you usually explain your beliefs, and why?
13 people like this
14 responses
• Australia
7 Mar 07
You have asked a very complex question. If you ask me what my religion is I can easily just answer "I am a Christian" or "I am a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ" or ... ... a number of short responses. If you were to ask me WHY I believe what I believe, that cannot be answered briefly. I would have to state HOW I came to my belief and exactly WHAT I believe and WHY I believe it. That would require a very long reply.
@lecanis (16739)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
7 Mar 07
Thanks for your response. I suppose it is a pretty complex question, which is likely why only two people have answered it. You make a very good point about the difference between "your religion" and "what you believe". Those are two distinct things, aren't they?
5 people like this
• Australia
7 Mar 07
The problem with talking of Christianity as a religion is that too many people have differing ideas of just what Christianity is and how it should affect the life. I am sad to admit that if you ask a dozen people to define Christianity, you will likely get a dozen different answers. Ever since the beginning, mankind has tried to make his own religion to suit himself, and man is still doing the same thing. Hence so many different beliefs which all claim to belong to Christ-ianity, but do not follow Jesus Christ. I was very religious for a few years, and was enrolled to become a Roman Catholic nun. Then, at the age of 22, and about seven months before becoming a nun, I discovered that being a Christian wasn't following a "religion" but about a RELATIONSHIP - a personal relationship with the creator, Father God, through the Lord Jesus Christ. For the last 48 years, I have known the abundant joy of the REALITY of this relationship. I know you do not agree with me about the Lord Jesus Christ, and that is your right, but to me He is my everything.
7 people like this
@lecanis (16739)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
7 Mar 07
*nods* I agree with you that "religion" is in a way at bad word to use. It's not the religion that is important, it is the relationship you have to your God or Gods. Christianity is very splintered, and I have known some people who fought very hard over the silliest divides in it. Where I grew up, people of different denominations often hated each other, and I really just could not understand it. If they are all worshipping the same God, shouldn't they be able to get along? And I'd take it a step farther than that... since we are all human beings, whatever our religious choices, shouldn't we be able to respect each other and those choices? As for your last sentence: I could say the exact same thing almost. I know you do not agree with me about the Morrigan, and that is your right, but to me She is my everything. The way I feel about my Goddess is no different from the way you feel about your God, or your Jesus. She is my Mother, and I have felt so since I was a very young child.
4 people like this
• United States
7 Mar 07
I don't explain my beliefs when asked by someone that doesn't know me well enough to be asking. If it is someone close, then I am willing to open up a little bit, but my choice of beliefs and religion is highly personal and too many people judge you on these things. Therefore, I don't always get into big discussions. It really depends on who is asking and why they are asking.
@lecanis (16739)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
7 Mar 07
Thanks for your response! I agree that how well the person asking knows you can make a difference in your response. I think the reason I love to talk about religion so much is that I love learning about the beliefs of others. It's most interesting to talk to people who also love to learn, and to compare specific topics within different belief systems. I love finding similarities and common ground between religions that on the surface seem very different. I could see why you would not want to talk too much about religion, because it is highly personal and there are a lot of judgemental people out there. And what I say on mylot is much less personal than what I would say if one of my friends asked me about my religion, or even in a conversation with just one online friend at a time.
5 people like this
• United States
7 Mar 07
As you, I tend to go into detail. Being a pagan is often misconstrued. When I announced that I was a kitchen witch and made magic with herbs and spices in the kitchen, that was also not understood and some thought that that was just cooking, and that's alright if they think that. I feel the need to explain that I do not worship Satan, I don't do animal sacrifices, I don't burn the Bible or read it backwards (I have never listened to a Beatles album backwards either and don't believe that John Lennon or Elvis are alive), I don't drink blood, and on and on and on. I'm just a little old woman who appreciates and loves all of the bounty Nature has given to us.~Donna
5 people like this
• United States
7 Mar 07
Positive rating for the question by the way!~D
4 people like this
@lecanis (16739)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
7 Mar 07
*nods* I feel the need to point out that I don't do any of those things that you mentioned as well. I can't count the number of times I've been asked if I do that type of thing, especially worshipping Satan. I always have to explain that Satan is part of the Christian mythos, and therefore has nothing whatsoever to do with me or my beliefs. Thanks for your response!
3 people like this
@Ravenladyj (22992)
• United States
7 Mar 07
I think more often than not it depends on my mood and the situation really....sometimes I just say "I'm Pagan" or "I'm a Witch" (usually only in live situations) and other times, (mainly in online situations) I give a more detailed description and if I'm in a chatty mood it can often be a long one LOL Also too though with my path being so eclectic (Witchcraft, Vodou, Buddhism etc) a longer explaination is generally needed...
5 people like this
@lecanis (16739)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
7 Mar 07
*laughs* I could see how such an eclectic path could make for a long explanation. =p My path is less eclectic that yours, but I still feel the need for a long explanation often because if I say "I'm pagan", I often get asked what that means. And forget just saying "Celtic Reconstructionist." That just gets me the "WTF are you talking about?" You make a good point that this can very easily be dependant on mood. If I'm in the mood to be helpful and informative (or just chatty), I'll often describe my religion in more detail than might really be necessary.
5 people like this
@silverlou (372)
9 Mar 07
If questioned about my own beliefs, I say that I believe in a universal energy, which has no beginning and no ending, yet it is within all of us, what we see, hear, touch, breath etc. The funny things is whoever has asked me so far nearly always says 'So your not a christian then, are you a pagan' and my response is ' what do you think I am?' I will not title myself, for a title limits the individual to grow beyond their current awareness. if I title myself a pagan then, to my mind I will limit myslef to pagan beliefs, although I share many, but then I share many taoistic and kabbalistic beliefs.
• United States
10 Mar 07
I like the way that you wrote that very Bahai of you, very beautiful writing. *Smile*
3 people like this
@lecanis (16739)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
10 Mar 07
Thanks for your response! I found it very lovely and interesting. I think in a way you are courageous not to title your faith. I've always used a title myself, both because it's easier when dealing with other people, and because I have a certain connection to the title I use, but I can see how your way could be very liberating and versatile. Thanks for giving me some food for thought there!
1 person likes this
• United States
8 Mar 07
In one word, I can answer GOD, yes... But if you know me you know I can go on and on forever. LOL! So I responded once three times Wicca, and then I explained the beauty of Bahai, and I found and was shown my teachers in the Kabbalah are also part of the Great Mystery and the Spirit of Life and Love in ALL. Sometimes I write with harsh words, but most times I write with beautiful words of Love and Enlightenment. How is it that I have to keep my fingers nimble and my mind quick to draw attention and expose the Will, good or bad, sharing real experiences and truth. Peace and Blessings, Sincerely, Gary Was that too many words?
2 people like this
@lecanis (16739)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
8 Mar 07
Haha, that's about a quarter as many words as I sometimes use to explain my religion. =p Thanks for a very interesting post. It sounds like you have some pretty complex religious beliefs... but the more I think about it, the simpler it becomes. Strange.
2 people like this
• United States
8 Mar 07
Indeed...
@lecanis (16739)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
8 Mar 07
What I meant is: When you talk about several different religions, and the beauty of them, or the things you've learned from them, at first it just sounds complicated and confusing. It begs questions such as: Which of these things do you truly believe? How can you be loyal to all these faiths? What is it you're looking for? But when you say they are all part of one Mystery, and continue on that vein, it becomes clear what you are saying, and your view becomes very simple.
2 people like this
• India
23 Apr 07
am follower or one god and belive in prophet sent by him and his book!!! i know now a days people are really misusing the religon and doing sin under its name!but one day when mountains will be raised and sky will fall apart and books will open then every soul will know whats he/she has done when a young girl will ask what crime was she burried for and innocent will ask why were they killed??? and the siner will have no answer he cannot deny from anything as it is all written!so all who are misusing the clean religon must be looked down! and people should not feel the religon is bad if there are some bad person!
@lecanis (16739)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
23 Apr 07
Wow, this old discussion got dug up, eh? So apprarently you are one like me who gives a long answer rather than a short answer. Thanks for letting me know that! I do agree with you that judging any one religion by the actions of a small group of its members is unfair. That happens all the time, to all religions, and it's very annoying. I've found it so much with my own beliefs, and I agree with you, that just becuase there are some bad people does not mean the religion is bad.
1 person likes this
@mjgarcia (725)
• United States
10 Mar 07
I usually just say I'm a Christian and let them draw their own conclusions, unless its a question that involves more of an answer. Most people have their own ideas of what it means so unless they ask for more, I don't say.
2 people like this
@lecanis (16739)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
10 Mar 07
Thanks for your response! Most people do have their own ideas of what "Christian" means, or any other religious label for that matter. I can see the value in leaving them to their own conclusions sometimes.
2 people like this
@Woodpigeon (3710)
• Ireland
25 Apr 07
The sort of answer I am going to give is going to depend on who is doing the asking. My MIL is put out that I didn't have the kids baptised into her religion as were a couple of others from that generation. My husband doesn't go to church, so he doesn't care but she does. And because I am not a Christian, she has decided I am a satanist. I just don't go there with her or people like her. Life is too short. I only really speak to my children about anything concerning my religious beliefs , and that is only in general terms about what I think is the right way for us to live our lives, or how we deal with people passing. There is a book, called The Other Way to LIsten that sums up how I feel very well, and it has inspired many discussions after reading it to the children. For general folks, if they enquire at all they tend to assume I am an atheist and are surprised when I say I'm not, I just don't subscribe to any particular brand beyond looking out for Mama (mother earth) and trying to live peacefully. They don't ask much beyond that!
1 person likes this
@lecanis (16739)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
25 Apr 07
This is a really interesting response, Woodpigeon! Thank you so much for posting! You know, now I have to find that book just because I'm curious. I would love to know more about your feelings on this topic actually, but then I'm not a normal person I guess. I'm sort of insatiably curious. =p
• United States
23 Apr 07
When someone asks me about my religion my answer depends on the person asking. If it is someone I think I can have a good conversation with, I explain my beliefs in detail. If it is someone just asking for a short answer or someone who isn't going to understand, I give them a short answer. I don't fall into any one religious catagory, I follow beliefs that are pagan, neopagan, buddhist, Hindu, and pantheist.... But not quite all of any one of those... I have my own ideas on life and existence... A lot of people don't understand that.
1 person likes this
@lecanis (16739)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
23 Apr 07
And I thought I had a hard time explaining my religion because most people don't know what Pagan means! I can see how you would rather save your breath than explain your whole belief system to someone who isn't going to understand anyways, or really just wanted the short answer. Thanks so much for sharing!
@buldwgz (1483)
• United States
23 Apr 07
Usually I don't spend a whole lot of time on the subject. I will talk about religions with anyone, as I love to learn as much as I am able about all kinds of religions. I like the subject very much. However, I feel like spending a lot of time talking about my belief system is not that important. It's a lifestyle that should be evident to anyone that gets to know me at all.
1 person likes this
@lecanis (16739)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
23 Apr 07
Wow, buldwgz! I really love your answer! I love to learn about all kinds of religions too. I do sometimes get bogged down talking about my own when people ask what my religion is, but otherwise I'd just as much like to hear about someone else's! "It's a lifestyle that should be evident to anyone that gets to know me at all." I like that. It gives me something to think about. Thank you.
• India
23 Apr 07
Generally, I steer clear of conversations that revolve around my religion, unless the person is really curious to know about it. Even then, I try to tell them what they are trying to know about it, rather than try to give them the contents of the entire religion in an ultra small package! That way, it would neither do justice to the religion, nor give the person an opportunity to grasp anything. Further, I steer clear of arguments over what religion is more right for people and the like. I believe that I'm more spiritual than religious.
1 person likes this
@lecanis (16739)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
23 Apr 07
This is a really good answer. I must admit that I often give a short explanation just because so often people say "What is that?" when I say what my religion is, but you're right that such a small package couldn't do justice to the religion, or allow the person to grasp anything. Thanks so much for pointing that out, I'll have to ponder that one on my own! I try to steer clear of which religions are right for people too. I believe that while my religion is right for me, there are other people whose religions are also right for them. I'm not a fanatic, my religion is very important to me, but I don't believe that everyone should be in it.
@cyntrow (8527)
• United States
25 Apr 07
I consider myself a Christian, but I tend to not refer to myself as Christian, simply because of the negative conotations the word contains nowadays. If asked I generally tell people that I follow the teachings of Jesus and let them draw their own conclusions.
@Augustta (1860)
• Poland
25 Apr 07
I was thinking if i have to answer to this post or to pass about.I am christian,and i am not sure about why have to be a pattern in asking someone about religion?When someone ask me what religion i am i reply short i am chatolic christian and done...as about religions in general i think we all have just a god... augusta (if i am wrong is maybe because i don't understand good english...)