Religion Is Not A Matter Of Style

Religion Is Not A Matter Of Style December 29, 2011

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.


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