I’m a Somethingist — Or Something

I’m a Somethingist — Or Something December 1, 2015

Windmill and  ponds in Kinderdijk, Holland. Photo by Barbara Newhall
In Holland, it’s called Ietsisme. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Nearly a quarter of all Americans now check the box “None” when asked their religious affiliation.  I wonder how many of those Nones would be happy, given the chance, to check a box labeled “Somethingist.”

What’s a Somethingist?

Somethingism is a stripped-down belief system for folks who believe in something – but haven’t a clue what that Something might be. It’s a brand new religion (religion?) rising up in Holland. In Dutch Somethingism is known as Ietsisme. (ITS-is-meh.)

Washington Post  columnist Sally Quinn is a fan (adherent?) of Somethingism. She quotes a bumper sticker that sums it up for her: “I Don’t Know and You Don’t Know Either.”

I’m with Sally.

Somethingism, It’s a nice niche for those of us – count me in – who aren’t at all sure what God is like.

  • Is God a big and kindly Other who created the world, likes to be worshiped, and talks back to people who pray?
  • Is God some kind of diffuse and universal Spirit who inhabits rocks, trees, houseflies and humans?
  • Or is God none of the above, but rather some undiscoverable thing that powers galaxies and singularities?

I don’t know what God is like, or if God even is. But it does seem to me that Something is going on . . . somewhere. I don’t know whether it has anything to say to the likes of me, but if it does, I’m listening.

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my book, “Wrestling with God: Stories of Doubt and Faith,” in which I go looking for God — or Something — in the lives of Americans of radically differing wisdom traditions and spiritual temperaments — atheist to Zoroastrian and fundamentalist Christian to progressive Muslim.

More thoughts at “Belief is Seriously Overrated.”  Also, “What Happens When You Drop Your Cell Phone Into the Sacred Buddhist Sand Painting?”


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