Religion Is Not A Matter Of Style

Yeah, I know. You already hate this post. Just from the title. I don’t care.

Stephen Poff Flickr CC

I read a lot of religious blogs every day, from various faiths. Mormons, Hindus, Pagans, etc… A lot of it is boring or irrelevant to me. I could care less what insight someone has had about the book of Ephesians. I’m not interested in a spell to induce psychic visions. But I skim through these blogs for a lot of reasons. It’s good to know what other people are thinking. Some days I think Progressive Christians have literally become Christo-Pagans. It’s also good to read viewpoints I disagree with, even when it turns my stomach. And then sometimes, I run across a post that speaks to my soul.

I found one this morning:

To my dear friend religion is just another personal choice, like who to date or whether to have coffee or tea for breakfast. It doesn’t matter what religion you choose to follow if it works for you. But that is not what Catholicism is. It is not just another choice on the buffet of beliefs. He thinks my stubborn persistence that Catholicism is the True Faith founded by Christ to be nothing more than a desire to be right.

However, it is Catholicism that is right, not I. You can not apply the same rightness to all religions if you truly believe and acknowledge the rightness of Catholicism. Does that make any sense? How could I possibly grant equal legitimacy to other religions under the guise of personal choice without making my own faith appear less legitimate? By suggesting religion is nothing more than a lifestyle choice reduces Catholicism to just one of the many spiritual options.

This had me fist-pumping and sending Kat a nice note regarding her post. Why? Well, fear not: I haven’t converted.

Kat’s insistence that Catholicism is the “One True Faith” doesn’t bother me. She, along with every other Catholic blogger on Patheos, have always been very pleasant to me. Max Lindenman and Elizabeth Scalia are fantastic people and I disagree with most of what they believe, from religion to politics and beyond. However, in chatting with Elizabeth I’ve found we have something fascinating in common: though we practice very different faiths, hold opposite political views, and on the surface have very little in common, we tend to look at what it means to be a person of faith similarly.

My faith is not a matter of style. It’s not like shoes or purses. It’s not a matter of deciding if I want tacos or pasta for dinner. It’s not something I can change on a whim. It’s not something I’m willing to give up for the right guy. And yeah, I do think some faiths are better than others. I think the doctrine of Original Sin is not merely wrong but harmful to the soul. I don’t practice my religion because it was the yummiest option at the all-you-can-eat buffet. I practice it because I think it’s better than the other options out there. And when I struggle with it, as I have over the years, it’s because I need to be certain that my faith is right for me.

Like Kat, I’m single, and my faith is definitely a problem when it comes to finding a life partner. Because it’s not negotiable. The days of a boyfriend or husband asking me to be “in the broom closet” have long since passed. Where my situation differs from Kat is that I’m not looking for someone of my exact faith. I’m looking for someone who understands that this is who I am, and that I shouldn’t be expected to change. That my home will always contain altars. That I have holidays that are important to me and my bookshelves will have books on Witchcraft, theology and Pagan ritual. That Pagan artwork will always decorate my home and I “de-Witch” for no one. That I won’t be going to church on Easter Sunday. That I won’t give their mother Jewish grandchildren. That my personal belief is not an acceptable topic for their atheist humor.

No religion is objectively more true than another. You cannot empirically test faith. But yes, I do believe that some religions are better than others, that some faiths have a rightness to them that other religions lack, and that there are some faiths I feel are inherently wrong. However, I believe that for me. I don’t believe that for you. When Kat declares Catholicism the “One True Faith” it doesn’t bother me. Instead, it makes me proud to see another single religious woman taking a stand for her faith.

Kat is one of those women, one of those religious women, who will fill a partner’s life with the sense of the sacred. The person that marries her will have a magical Christmas season, an Easter filled with hope and light, and the knowledge that their home is a safe, sacred, lasting sanctuary.We as a culture have forgotten the delight of having a religious household, full of the sacred, and have only focused on the negative, nagging, shrewish and guilt-inducing worst possible cases of a religious home. But it’s not always like that. Sometimes it’s gratitude, and seeing your loved ones dressed up for holidays, and making the home beautiful to celebrate the seasonal changes of your soul. Sometimes it’s having someone who like dyeing eggs and stringing bright lights as much as you do.

So I salute Kat, and any other woman who refuses to compromise her faith to find love. The deepest, most sacred part of your soul, the lens through which you see and celebrate the world, is not a whim. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

 

About Star Foster

Polytheistic Wiccan initiated into the Ravenwood tradition, she has many opinions. Some of them are actually useful.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=589402664 Vickie McNeely Lesperance

    Bravo!

  • http://www.groveofthelion.com/ Adrian Hawkins

    Be your faith. And if you so choose let it be who you are and what you love. Live it, breathe it, be it and be cherished for it in return

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1127101530 Alan J Sheridan

    Brava!  *cheering* 
    Too
    many people treat their religion as a buffet option. My faith is no
    less certain than the Pope’s, and my religion is no less valid than his.

  • http://profiles.google.com/cprsource Peter Dybing

    One of the things I love about you Star is your ability to turn a “good rant” into a touching bit of writing that informs my world religious view!  Loved this!

  • http://sarenth.wordpress.com/ Sarenth

    Really well-written Star.  I appreciate your frankness and honesty here.  It definitely jives with where I’m coming from, especially here: ”
    Like Kat, I’m single, and my faith is definitely a problem when it comes to finding a life partner. Because it’s not negotiable. “.  

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

    There’s a blog with spells to induce 
    psychic visions?!?! I thought taking acid had the same effects. Man, I read all the wrong blogs. I need to pop over to the pagan portal more often. 

    Seriously though, Star, this is probably the nicest thing anyone has ever said about me being obstinate and stubbornly unyielding.  It’s also a very touching and personal piece about your own faith. Some things must never be sacrificed, like religion.  Bravo, Star, bravo!   

  • http://www.themonthebard.org/ Themon the Bard

    It seems like a fine line between right-for-me and right-for-everyone, but I think that’s only because we have been trained into a certain style of groupthink.

    Writing software has definitely been the right career choice for me. There are many people out there who think they’d like to write software because (for now) it pays well, but it’s pretty easy for me to see that they aren’t temperamentally suited for it, even if they have the skills. I faced the same thing early in life as a performance musician — I had talent (probably more than I have as a software developer), I had extensive training, but I simply didn’t have the temperament. Writing software was the right career, performing music was the wrong career.

    For me.

    We have a pretty clear concept of pluralism and choice when it comes to careers. I’ve yet to have a couple of musicians in white shirts and narrow black ties come to my door and say, “Come to our jam session on Sunday morning, and we’ll tell you about how Jimi Hendrix’ fingering changed our lives. He can change your life, too!” 

    I don’t see why that can’t be applied to religion, as well. 

  • http://kauko-niskala.blogspot.com Kauko

    “Like Kat, I’m single, and my faith is definitely a problem when it comes
    to finding a life partner. Because it’s not negotiable…”

    That whole paragraph definitely resonated with me. It’s not easy these days to find someone who’s comfortable being with a Pagan, especially among gay men, in my experience. I completely gave up on dating 6 years ago and have happily embraced being single.

    • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

      I can empathize, certainly…My own religious commitments were supposed to be something my last long-term relationship was “interested in” and “all right with,” but in reality they weren’t, and he ended up using them as an excuse (one of a large handful he offered to me) when he broke up with me in terms of why we couldn’t go out any longer.  That he was a Mormon in his upbringing rather soured him on religion; and similar things sour a great many queer folks on religion, which is very sad indeed.  Thank you, many other religions, for poisoning the well of religion in terms of queer people, not because of what any of those religions individually believe about queer people, but because those religions have defined themselves exclusively as the only real and valid religions there are, thus ruining the concept of religion altogether for far too many people…

      • http://kauko-niskala.blogspot.com Kauko

        It’s definitely been my experience with gay men that they tend to be either indifferent or outright hostile to religion (and, as you say, who can blame queer people for that, we’ve historically gotten a pretty raw deal when it comes to religion). One exception I’ve experienced was when I was a member of the local Reform synagogue where there was an active GLBT group. We held our own Passover seders, ‘break the fast’ parties after Yom Kippur, Hanukkah parties etc. I felt more comfortable with them then I ever have at a bar or other typical gay male type event (I tend to avoid the bar scene like the plague).

  • Chava Anastasia

    After so many years of struggling, I am what I am.  My religion is part of who and what I am.  I can no more change that truth than I can change my DNA.  I’m happy to see others coming to their own without apology.

  • Wgriffin

    Very nicely done, Star!

  • Karen Strange

    Nicely put! :)

  • LinseyHeaton

    Wonderful read!  Very well said!  My husband is Christian and I am Pagan.  We get along just fine and my daughter gets to learn and see different Spiritual viewpoints in our household.  So there is hope… there are men and women out there that can coexist spiritually you just gotta find the right one! =)

  • http://hellenicpolytheist.wordpress.com/ Pythia Theocritos

    This deserves a round of applause.

  • Sunweaver

    So say we all, dear Star. I have known people who change religions more often than their socks and when you choose your path like you’re picking out dresses, it’s a shallow thing – it isn’t a true conviction. I’m in a mixed marriage and we’re raising our daughter with the idea that it is up to her to figure out what she believes and how she wants to practice that belief. If she chose to be a Muslim because that’s the way she relates to the divine, I would support her one hundred percent. (Right now she’s decided she’s the same religion as Mommy.)

    That there is no one on this blessed Earth that can tell you what you believe is one of the most important beliefs my husband and I share.

  • Laurel

    Amen Sister!  As you said, we believers have much more in common that those who are wishy-washy and believing everything, really believe nothing.  It’s because we know what it means to live our beliefs, walk our talk and have respect for another who is brave enough to do that too.  I’m RC, by the way, but live in the South, so that’s where the greeting came from.

  • http://twitter.com/MrsBsConfession MrsB

    Lol, I thought I might hate this article from the title, but I ended up fist pumping by the end.  =)

     I’m lucky enough to have found a Christian husband who doesn’t care that I have multiple book shelves full of Pagan titles (though when we started running out of space, he did buy me a nook just for the sake of not having to sell a kid for more shelf room).  He’s driven car pools to Pagan Pride, brags about my successes at his pretty conservative job, and completely backs up  the decision to let the kids pick their own paths.  

    Though there are those who have to be “in the broom closet” at work or to extended family, no one should have to worry about such things in their own homes.  

    • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

      Apparently I have a knack for writing post titles people hate. This worried me for all of 20 seconds!

      • http://twitter.com/MrsBsConfession MrsB

        That’s why I love your articles, Star, lol!   You’re like a more colorful honey badger.  =D

        • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

          LMFAO!

  • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

    I feel myself in the odd position of agreeing with where you ended up, but not with where you started, Star.

    Yes, absolutely, I agree that religion is not something that someone should choose or abandon because of a potential or actual relationship.  Either someone is fine with it, no matter what their own religious position happens to be, or they’re not, and if they’re not, things aren’t going to work out in the end most likely–that’s certainly true in my case, and I would never abandon my religion simply for the convenience of a relationship.

    However, religion is a choice, and it ultimately is a lifestyle choice.  One can choose to be heavily devoted to one’s religion, getting involved in events (whether organizing or attending), studying it and being a major participant in it, or one can choose to do it more casually or “culturally” (as other recent posts have emphasized).  One can also choose not to participate in any religion at all.  But all of these options are exactly that:  options, choices that have to be made.

    I agree that religion is a lifestyle choice that is far more important than what one decides to wear on a given day, or what color one paints one’s front room, or whether one gets the soup or the salad with their entree, or any variety of other smaller choices; but it still is a choice.  Thus, it should also be something that people can “choose again” on, or which someone can choose to abandon, or to enhance and intensify, or to add to, or whatever they might see fit to do.

    While I know there are an ever-increasing number of second- (or even third-) generation Pagans these days, the majority of Pagan people I know did not start out that way.  Certainly, many of us felt “different” religiously when we were younger and were growing up in the religious traditions of our families-of-origin, but I don’t think any of us were “born Pagan”; the people who often think that one is “born Pagan” have tended to be on the fluffier side of things, in my experience.  I’m very proud to say that I’ve worked damn hard to get where I’m at in my current Pagan path, and that I choose to pursue it further every day I wake up.  It is a part of my life, but it is a constant lifestyle choice that I make consciously and in a committed fashion with every action that I do in my life.  It influences some of those “lesser” lifestyle options that I make (including what I spend my money on, what I devote my time to…and yes, also home decor and other such things!) more than perhaps any other area of my life, but it is still one of them, and I don’t think that saying it is a choice and an option that I’ve chosen over many others (that, while ultimately they are equally viable, would not have been equally viable for me) makes it any less important, nor deserving of respect because of that.

    But, otherwise, I agree with you entirely!  ;)

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    Star, are you the same person who comments under the name “pagansister” in the Catholic portal?  I’ve always found pagansister a considerate and kind person.  I hope you find that special person in your life.

    • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

      Nope. I always post as me! Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/FaithlessEye Simon Clare

    A very thought-provoking post, thank you Star. Whilst I don’t hold the same things sacred that you do as I am a happy atheist, I do admire your integrity on the matter of compromising your beliefs for the sake of convenience.
    I recently asked out a seriously Christian woman that I found myself enormously enraptured by. Alas, she wasn’t interested, but I learnt that when it comes to love it’s not so much about what someone believes, but how they believe it. I didn’t believe in her religion at all, but the way she spoke about it and the way she rationalised it, stirred me. None of us, when asked what it is we love about someone, would simply list that person’s specific beliefs, but we might mention their way of talking about those beliefs, or the ways they apply them.

  • Gail Finke

    I find your piece, and the responses to it, very interesting. I do not agree with you at all, however. If you truly think that no religion is objectively true then your “faith,” such as it is, really is just a choice like what style of clothes to wear — more of a statement about yourself than anything else. No matter how passionately devoted one is to designer jeans, for example, she could always start wearing sweatpants. It simply makes no sense to say that no religion is objectively true but that you will never, ever change the choice you made for what comes down to aesthetic reasons. If your religion isn’t true, then it isn’t worth much, and if you think no religion is true, then why waste your time  it? There are plenty of other true things you could be learning and doing. Honestly, I don’t know why you bother.

    • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

      Awesome! You’ve discovered a way to objectively prove a religion is correct? I look forward to seeing the empirical results of your test. In fact, I think you should call a press conference, and publish the results in an academic journal.

      • Sunweaver

        One of the questions we were asked in Comparative religions was “What if science somehow proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that there was no such thing as God(s)?” My answer was to just carry on as before because I like my religion. It’s not even that the Theoi are irrelevant (they’re not), but rather that the practice is fulfilling for me on multiple levels. I feel that it’s good for me socially, emotionally, and sometimes even physically to have a relationship not only with the Theoi but also with those I worship with.

    • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

      I think that’s the point you’re missing:  no religion is “objectively true,” and no one yet has proven one of them to be.  Every religion, however, is potentially subjectively true to one person’s viewpoint or experiences.  Finding that one for an individual person concerned is the most important thing one can do religiously, even if it means that the religion that is most true for that individual person concerned is atheism.  There are levels and degrees of truth, and a great deal of the time, those levels and degrees are based upon one’s own individual position, contexts, viewpoints, experiences, and–yes–aesthetics.  

      Why is it that intolerance and a “We’re right/I’m right, everyone else is wrong!” sort of position has to be considered the only possible option where religion is concerned?  If anything, that’s more of a problem when it comes to any number of things which religion touches than it is a solution, even to strictly religious matters…

      • Oregon Catholic

        “Why is it that intolerance and a “We’re right/I’m right, everyone else
        is wrong!” sort of position has to be considered the only possible
        option where religion is concerned?”

        To understand, you have to believe there is only one God. I believe there is one objective Truth, one God, Who is revealed through Jesus Christ. It is impossible for me to believe in the validity of multiple, subjective paths of worship and of multiple gods. The two points of view are incompatible.

        I will speak the Truth to others I believe are on the wrong path because I believe there are eternal negative consequences, not because I want to be right or I am intolerant. I believe I have a responsibility to share the Truth out of love and care for the eternal souls of others and that I will be held accountable by God for that responsibility. So even though you don’t believe as I do, I hope it’s understandable why I cannot validate your different path.

        • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

          Do you understand how condescending and patronizing that sounds?  That you are using your perceived “rightness” in these matters as an excuse to advance your own agenda, and that of your organization, to complete religious hegemony over others?

          In reality, there is absolutely no assurance that what you believe is “the Truth” outside of the assertions of the organization you’re a part of, and the scriptures it upholds as revelatory of “the Truth,” which are (self-defined!) as being true and infallible.  That kind of circular argumentation and correctness by way of authority is not an allowable form of argumentation in any other arena of human endeavor, and yet it frequently wins the day in Christian religious discussions.  (Not so, other religions…)

          I am not saying what you “believe” is not true, forever and always, nor am I saying that what I uphold and practice is true, forever and always; but, I am arguing that an approach like that of myself, of Star, and of many other people I know–which allows that each one of us may not have the objective proof about the nature of reality, divinity, and existence, and it may even be beyond human capacity to know such–is a lot more conducive to good relations between people, and lack of conflicts over these questions which, ultimately, neither you, nor I, nor anyone else can ever resolve outside of subjective realms, than an approach which suggests that not only are you the holder of “the Truth,” but that you are therefore obliged to share it with others lest you imperil their souls by not doing so, and imperil your own for withholding “the Truth” when you should have done so.

          All of that to say:  I can understand why you think you must act and think in the way you do; I do not, however, have to agree with it, nor do I have to excuse it, particularly when it leads to some very excessive forms of bad behavior, as it has quite often done over history.

          • Sunweaver

            This is a fun discussion, isn’t it?
            Truth isn’t a zero-sum game. If you call light a particle, that’s the truth. If you call light a wave, that’s also the truth. When you look at it the one way it’s a particle and when you look at it the other way, it’s a wave. You can either argue which is correct or realize it can be both and that perspective is important in understanding why you see it one way and the other guy saw it the other way.
            When I relate my experiences of the divine, I can only tell it like I understand it and perceived it. Likewise, when an atheist relates that s/he has had no divine experience, that’s all that can be said. When I speak to monotheists about their relationship with their god, I can tell that their experiences are as true as mine. All of these perceptions are true.
            I think that if an objective Truth exists, it’s not one we could really grasp, being that we are limited animals, but we sometimes get bits and pieces of it through the way we try to understand the universe.
            The same can be said for “objective” sciences. The way in which we try to understand the natural world is limited by not only the accuracy of our instruments, but colored by the perceptions of the very human scientists behind the research. There’s NO WAY we can understand the entirety of the natural universe in our limited lifetimes, but through study and practice, we can find little pieces of truth. Truth with a big “T” isn’t something we can get to, but we can work to understand what we can get to.

          • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

            I don’t in any way disagree with what you’ve said.

            However, I do disagree with anyone who thinks that their perception of “the Truth” is singly valid, and that anyone else who doesn’t agree with them is wrong–there is an inherent wrongness about such an opinion that doesn’t really apply to what you’ve said, because it’s not just another “I’m right” amidst a lot of wave/particle options, it’s an “It’s only ethereons that create light, and if you think it’s a particle or a wave or anything else, you’re wrong and stupid, and I’m obliged to tell you all about how it really is ethereons lest you burn in physics-ethereo-hell and I feel some of those ethereonic flames for not having told you how wrong you are.”  Do you see the distinction?

          • Sunweaver

            We appear to be agreeing with each other. I’m making the nodding motions at you – can you feel the breeze? Nod, nod, nod.
            Yes, we cannot say that any single perspective has the monopoly on Truth, because Truth is not something that can be grasped by puny human brains. I cannae tell Charlie Christian or Molly Muslim he or she is wrong or dumb, but nor can I say that my perspective is the One Truth to Rule Them All. Hullo, non-dualism, how are you today?

            I do not agree with dualistic perspectives, and we agree in not agreeing with dualism. On the other hand, being a non-dualist, I can’t say that non-dualism is correct and dualistic perspectives are wrong/dumb. That’s silly. I am perfectly comfortable not agreeing with that while also not claiming non-dualism is the Truth or that dualism isn’t the Truth.

            WHEEEEE!! |o| <– me riding a roller coaster.

          • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

            Though–perhaps ironically–in a non-dualistic perspective like yours, someone like me suggesting that dualistic perspectives are wrong must also, technically, be “not wrong” as well…!?!  ;)

            It truly is a roller coaster, but I prefer this roller coaster to several other religions’ Houses of Horrors, personally.

          • Sunweaver

            “Though–perhaps ironically–in a non-dualistic perspective like yours,
            someone like me suggesting that dualistic perspectives are wrong must
            also, technically, be “not wrong” as well…!?!”

            XD Exactly!
            ISN’T THIS FUN?!
            o Wooooooo!!
            EEeeeee!! /o/
            (big hill) |o| Wheeeeee!!

  • Laurel

    Star, do you really believe that no religion is objectively true?  Don’t you believe that your religion is true?  I agree with you that no religion (or lack thereof) can be PROVED to be true – but that’s not the same thing.  Just because we can’t prove our religion is objectively true doesn’t mean that it isn’t, or that we can’t believe that it is.  Without an objective truth there is no real meaning in anything.

    • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

      I think you misunderstand what the word objective means.

      • Oregon Catholic

        I think you perhaps limit the meaning of objective to evidence or proof as in scientific method. It has a much wider meaning than that and is not limited to the physical, material realm. Objective Truth can be arrived at through reason.

        • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

          Yes, Hitchens and Dawkins have spoken about this eloquently at length.

          • Laurel

            — adj
            1. existing independently of perception or an individual’s conceptions: are there objective moral values?
            2. undistorted by emotion or personal bias
            3. of or relating to actual and external phenomena as opposed to thoughts, feelings, etc

            I don’t think I’m misunderstanding the definition.  I mean something that exists independently of our opinions or beliefs; something that is actually, really true.  
            I know most people don’t believe in objective truth anymore, especially Hitchens (when he was alive) and Dawkins.  But I believe their belief (that it didn’t exist) was part of their “religion” of unbelief.  If everything is subjective – as in whatever you believe is true, is true for you, essentially means that nothing is true and we are “gods” who form the universe in our minds.  We can’t control our own body, for instance, as far as having control over getting cancer, etc. so how can we possibly believe that we are capable of making something true.
            I believe, like C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity, that there is something beyond/above  the “natural”, which is the supernatural.  It is something that we don’t control or define by our opinions.  I thought you believed that too, Star, and if you do – then you are talking about something that is objectively true. 

          • Laurel

            I really love talking about this stuff but I know it’s off the subject.  People I respect know and respect you and I do too, especially after your post here.

          • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

            I believe, like C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity, that there is something beyond/above  the “natural”, which is the supernatural.  It is something that we don’t control or define by our opinions.  I thought you believed that too, Star, and if you do – then you are talking about something that is objectively true.

            But, you’ve just made the jump from “shared opinion” or “consensus reality” to “objective truth,” when those things aren’t the same.  “Consensus reality” has included things over time that were later proven to be objectively inaccurate and untrue–the Ptolemaic solar system, for example.  Just because two people may agree that there is such a thing as “the supernatural,” that doesn’t mean that it most certainly does exist objectively and outside of those two people’s individual opinions, thoughts, feelings, and experiences on the matter.

            Yes, I have had many experiences that would suggest to me there are supernatural beings, realities, and realms that are independent of my own perceptions; however, those are all still subjective experiences, and ones that cannot easily (or perhaps at all) be reproduced in an experimental, laboratory setting in order to demonstrate their objective proof.

          • Laurel

            Of course “shared opinion”, “consensus reality” and “objective truth” aren’t the same.  Objective truth is defined in what I pasted above, Googling the definition, as something that “exists independently of perception or an individual’s conception” and/or “of or relating to actual and external phenomena as opposed to thoughts, feelings, etc”. 

            Also, objective truth can’t be proven, as you say, because we are subjective beings.  But just because it can’t be proven doesn’t mean it isn’t true.  Can you prove someone loves you?  No, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t.  But I’m not talking about proof, anyway.

            What I was saying is that I believe, (subjectively if you will), that nature exists, in part because I can see and measure it to a certain degree but I also believe that there is a “supernature” or the “supernatural” which exists objectively; independent of my opinions, perceptions, control or definitions.  I was saying that I think Star believes that too, although she may not define it in that way. 

            I believe, (with my subjective self), that  objective truth exists and that there is a religion that is objectively true (which is what I was originally arguing for).  I can’t prove it, of course, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

          • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

            But, that still comes back to you arguing for the existence of “objective truth” from a subjective viewpoint–which doesn’t actually tell us anything at all, other than what you believe.  So, you’re arguing for a consensus reality amongst yourself, Star, and others that includes the possibility of there being an objective truth…

            Which still doesn’t demonstrate that there is an objective truth–and that’s the point I’m making.

          • Laurel

            Okay

  • http://www.facebook.com/eremiticlife Bishop Harber

    Yeah. I have a partner who is Wiccan. I certainly don’t hold that against him. ;)

  • Oregon Catholic

    I really appreciate posts like these that get to the heart of inter-faith dialogue and educating each other on our respective beliefs. That was what I thought Patheos would be all about but I haven’t seen much of it. So cudos Star on getting one started. It would be nice if there could be more in the future.

  • http://ianphanes.livejournal.com/ Ian Phanes

    Star,

    Are you using “faith” (in the singular) to refer to a single religion?  That is, is your use of faith restricted to Wicca *or* Christianity *or* Hermeticism?  Or can one person’s faith include multiple religions, such as Wicca *and* Hermeticism *and* Christianity?

    • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

      In the singular person. My faith may encompass Wicca and Hellenismos, but it’s still mine.

      • http://ianphanes.livejournal.com/ Ian Phanes

        That’s how I prefer to define faith, as well.  But I wasn’t sure since much of our society–including most pagans–treat faith as a synonym for religion.

        I sometimes express it by saying that religion is always that which is shared between people, spirituality is what an individual has experienced, and faith is how the individual relates hir religion(s) and spirituality with hir life.

  • http://www.facebook.com/andrew.mckinley Andrew McKinley

    Thank you for this article, Ms Foster. I find your complete tolerance of intolerance to be a surprisingly fresh perspective.

    • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

      I think there is a difference between saying “My religion is the best!” and saying “Your religion sucks!” We should be advocates of our own faith, not wrecking balls for the faith of others.


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