Last post I spoke of my own biases in spiritual exploration. Today I will speak briefly on what I witness as other people’s judgments.
We live in a culture where there is actually bias against overt religiosity. Many people cautiously claim themselves as spiritual, but not religious. That has been my default for years.
When someone proclaims a specific faith, there is often a moment of pause, and an almost visible recoiling backward. We frequently have fears that their belief system may include recruitment or that we are now being judged as somehow unholy and lesser than.
It’s somewhat akin to the reaction I sometimes get when I say that I am vegetarian. That immediate need to decry one’s “need” for meat or cheese. I realize that is how I have reacted in the past to a friend mentioning that she is Catholic. Or another stating that she is Jewish. It became a moment where I felt impelled to explain my lack of religion. The cultural stereotypes of the faithful led me to make assumptions about how such a friend might live and how they might view me as a non-believer.
As I explore my faith base, I remain hesitant to reveal it to people, fearing judgment from the other side. I am a rational, intellectual person and I feel sheepish about admitting that I am looking for something bigger than myself. For believing that such an entity could exist. It creates a great internal discord, as my academic and questioning mind is confronted with the needs and leanings of my soul.
I strive to remember that kindness is a universal quality and part of kindness is being open to other people’s experiences. My journey is mine and no matter where it ends up, I will maintain an attitude of acceptance and compassion to all.