(Closed) I don’t know how you’d label my beliefs – am I the only one?

posted 6 years ago in Interfaith
Post # 3
279 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

I have a similar problem. My main problem is that I’m very concerned with the rights of animals and people – unless they have committed a heinous crime. Largely, the vegetarian religions are against violence in all it’s forms. I can’t fully say I’m a Hindu or Jain or anything because I can’t reconcile nonviolence to violent people. This is why I like to believe in hell. I like to think there are different layers, so the worst of the worst have to contend amongst themselves and people who have simply not followed religion ‘correctly’ enough are at a higher level, with higher privileges. It gives me comfort, which is of course a huge component of religion.

Post # 4
2494 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I believe in the golden rule, period. ALmost every religion in existant follows some sort of “treat others how you would want to be treated”, so it would be easy to identify myself as a thousand things. For ease, I say I’m Catholic because I have gone through my communion, confirmation and baptism, mostly so that my kids can go to a Catholic school if I don’t like the Public option.

Post # 5
428 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

I grew up in a non-religious household and rejected religion for a long time. I always considered myself agnostic.

After living in Hindu, Muslim, and Buddhist countries over the last few years I can honestly say I have come to align more with Christianity. I absolutely love the teachings of Jesus more than any other religious texts- I love the Bible’s focus on giving oneself completely to help others. 

But I cannot come to terms with the theological aspect of any religion– of the idea of a man-like God, of miracles, of God’s intervention, of divine plans. So I still cannot find it in myself to be anything other than agnostic.

But to be honest, if there is a God, I do believe he doesn’t care whether we believe in him or not. He doesn’t care about which rituals we perform or what we say. He cares about what we do and how we treat other people. He cares about how we act even if there are no consequences at all…. that we do what is “right” for its own sake, not for any eternal reward or punishment. 

I think if anything I am somewhat of a Christian existentialist. But again, labels and words don’t mean anything. Actions do. 

Post # 6
2893 posts
Sugar bee

I’m a non-practising Catholic to anyone who asks. But deep down I subscribe to the “golden rule” that was mentioned above. Are you a good person? Do you try to live a moral life and do you try to treat people with kindness and/or respect? Do you do your best and learn from your mistakes? Great. Then who cares what “club” you subscribe to. I’ve honestly seen WAY too many people be mistreated and disregarded simply because they didn’t align with someone’s interpretation of God – which coinsidentally is against their tenants (can anyone say cruel hypocrite?). And I mean, good, wonderful people being treated like garbage because they didn’t have membership to their particular club. To me that violates the golden rule and guarantees I won’t be a member of your congregation.

Our ceremony will capture some Jewish traditions with acknowledgement of my Christian background. But it’s really just a spirtitual ceremony, not a strictly religious one.

@indiblue:  “labels and words don’t mean anything. Actions do.” AGREED! I love that.

Post # 7
699 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I was raised Unitarian, which seems to me to be not so different from your beliefs. We spent a lot of time in Sunday school talking about other belief systems and why they believe what they do–it’s a very inclusive thing. So as to part A) of your question, I usually just say I was raised Unitarian (which then leads to having to attempt to explain it… but that’s another issue).

In terms of planning a ceremony, we had some compromising to do. DH was raised Christian but went to a Catholic university and sang in a Catholic choir for something like 20 years…. so despite not officially being Catholic and not wanting to be, he is in reality quite a bit more observant than many who do call themselves Catholic. 😉  We spent a lot of time going back and forth with the wording to get it to a level I was comfortable with. And he let me pick the reading, which ended up being secular. I don’t think every bit of your ceremony has to express your religious/spiritual views perfectly. You can have some more religious bits balanced out with some secular bits (as long as you’re comfortable with that). 

Post # 9
524 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

This is a super-interesting board to me as well: I’m currently in college studying Religious Studies (almost done with my Bachelor’s! Yay!) and plan to eventually go into some sort of ordained ministry in the Christian (United Methodist) tradition. But I also really enjoy learning about other religious traditions, and agree with the others that the “golden rule” really should be central: from what I’ve studied, it really pre-dates most religions and exists in some form in almost every religion and many belief systems that aren’t religions! And while I’m obviously very religious (it’s the most important thing in my life), my SO is what I would like to call “spiritual but not religious”: he believes in God, but not in one specific religious tradition, much like the OP. So when we get married (and it’ll be a short ceremony just like yours, OP!) we definitely want to find ways to highlight BOTH of our spiritual lives, because it’s something we talk about a lot and it’s important to both of us. 

@claireos:  “And I mean, good, wonderful people being treated like garbage because they didn’t have membership to their particular club. To me that violates the golden rule and guarantees I won’t be a member of your congregation.”

I’ve actually been treated like garabage by other Christians when I DID belong to their club, and that’s been one of the most difficult things to me in my life! I’m very committed to my faith, but I am absolutely turned off by religious people who act cruel to others. I’ve worked at Christian camps with some of the least Jesus-like people I’ve met: at least to me, they were very nice to their friends, but that’s a different story. That’s always been a weird sticking point in my life: most of my friends have always been non-Christians, and I often get along with people of other traditions (usually “spiritual but not religious) than other Christians (in my own generation, I have a lovely church family with a mostly older congregation). So I totally, TOTALLY get what you’re saying.

OP, there are lots of ways to make a ceremony “spiritual but not religious”: I googled and found some here:


I thought a lot of these wordings were really beautiful and great for someone like you! Why not talk about “love” as a great spiritual force instead of God directly? I’ve heard that done before and it’s very beautiful and meaningful. And for many, God is love, so it would probably appease more religious folk in attendence (though of course some will never be appeased). 

Post # 10
3886 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I’m not really sure what I’d categorize myself either. I’m actually scared of most of the major religions, not because of the actual faiths but rather the way so many people think it’s perfectly fine to treat eachother with hate and ugliness, so long as they have a religious quote to back up their behavior.

I know that the Westboro Baptist Church is not representative of all Christians, just like  not all Muslims are jihadists and not all Catholics are IRA terrorists.  I’m talking more about the day-to-day discrimination, war and violence done in the name of religion. And so many people get caught up on the literal translation of any religious text (come on, you really think that something wasn’t mis-translated in the Bible in the last 2000 years? Really?) and do not use the words as a means for spiritual growth, meditation or a development of one’s own morals. 

So I pretty much avoid organized religion, and my fiance is an Athiest (and proud of it), and it really wasn’t much of an issue until we started talking about wedding ceremony. We are fine with a 100% secular ceremony, but my mother (who happens to have spent 15 years as a Roman Catholic nun, until she left the Sisterhood to go find her own life) is deeply religious.  She is pretty much always after us to go to church, and gives quite a few religious gifts, which I’ve given up trying to turn down, but I do wish she’d spend her money on herself instead of giving me some wacky $600 statue of Jesus that I’m just going to donate or put in the closet.

We are getting married on a chartered riverboat, which is just about the only thing we could have picked that would keep Mom from freaking out over it not being a church wedding (despite my not having been to church for anything other than weddings or funerals in about 20 years), so we’re good there. Finding an officiant was a lot harder, as most of the ones I found in my research had heavily religious overtones on their webpages, and if I can’t get to the Contact form without feeling like I’m being preached at, well, I’m not contacting you.

Fortunately we found a “faith neutral” officiant who specializes in non-traditional weddings. A lot of her couples are LGBT (and I think it is OUTSTANDING that gay marriage is legal here in the District– does not directly affect me as I’m not gay, but knowing that any of my gay friends could get married here if they chose to, well, that makes me really proud of my town) and she is used to crafting ceremonies where one or both parties are very anti-religion.

We plan to keep things very short– 20 minute ceremony, tops– with no actual “god” references but will have an acknowledgement or mention of faith and spirituality, out of respect to my mother (not actually saying “god” or “jesus” because I don’t feel like being a total hypocrite). The ceremony will focus on love, partnership, commitment and celebration, and I think it will be tricky to get the right balance of “secular, but not TOO secular” but I think we can do it.

Post # 11
1269 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

You are difinitely not the only one! I might be odd but I believe that since we are all created different, learn and understand differently, we need different ways to understand God (or The Goddess, or both, or multiple Gods and Goddesses) which is essentially the universal Good. I see different religions as different paths to the same place, as long as your faith guides you in being a good person, kind, loving, generous, grateful, we all come to the same place in the end.

ETA: As other pp’s have said, my biggest problem with organized religion is it’s tendancy to exclude other faiths, their religion is the “right” one and all others, regardless of their “goodness” will burn in Hell. If God is good and kind and forgiving, would he send his imperfect children to Hell even if they were good? Are we the ones to judge who will go to Hell? People pick and choose what parts of religious texts support their current argument instead of following the consistant deeper meanings which makes me sad.

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