Posts Tagged ‘Indo-European’

On the one hand, I’m sure it looks like I’m going ’round and ’round in circles with God and religion, retreading the same ground and getting nowhere. Sometimes I wonder if that is in fact what is going on, and if I can ever be satisfied and happy. Most of the time, though, I am pretty sure that I am slowly, carefully refining the issues, figuring out really what is at stake and what I think, and what decisions I really have to make.

At the moment, I think I have my religious question basically boiled down to the following ideas:

I’m inclined to think that there is a god, even though I have my doubts. I do not think that god is completely knowable by human beings. I also do not necessarily think that getting some (or even a lot of) things wrong about god is as big of a deal as human beings historically tend to. I’m not sure if god is personal or impersonal, or if god is maybe impersonal but with facets that can be personal-ish. Maybe. In any case, atheism does not suit me. I want both a religious identity and a path for spiritual development. Thus, I want a religion.

I really like a lot of things about Christianity. I find Christian theology appealing. I like the liturgy, the hymns, the architecture, the ritual, the idea of church, the liturgical year, the resurrection. I like C. S. Lewis, a lot. When I read C. S. Lewis, I want to be a Christian. Theoretically, I like the Bible, even though my attempts at reading it over the last two years have been most unsatisfactory.  I’m attached to Christianity as a religion, and am extremely bothered by the idea of giving it up entirely.  I even sometimes entertain the notion of going to seminary and becoming an Episcopal priest someday.

Unfortunately, despite everything I’ve just said, I don’t think I actually believe (in) Christianity. I like the idea of Jesus Christ as God incarnate quite a bit, but I don’t seem to actually believe that it it is so. I like the idea of salvation from sin through Jesus Christ’s supreme sacrifice, but I’m not sure I’m really all that worried about my sins, I find the idea of hell implausible, I don’t necessarily feel like I am in need of salvation (I feel plenty of wretched, just not necessarily wretched because of my sins or sinful nature) and I’m not convinced that this supreme sacrifice in fact happened. I think that the resurrection is plausible, but I don’t necessarily think that it means the whole package of Christianity is true.

I think I actually believe something a whole lot more like Vedanta, like the ideas expressed in the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita about Brahman and everything, the world and people and you and me and God, all being really the same thing. I’m not culturally Indian, so Hinduism as a religion has no appeal to me whatsoever, and all of the New Religious Movements that have spun off from Hinduism in the west are, well, New Religious Movements. Pretty much they are to Hinduism what Mormonism is to Christianity (and Soka Gakkai is to Buddhism), and I am not interested in that at all. I’ve already done aa quasi-cult, thanks. I’m not really in the market for another one.

So I would prefer to read the Bible because I prefer the idea of reading the Bible, but in reality I find the Gita and the Upanishads so much more meaningful.

Also, I find various flavors of Paganism (neo and otherwise) extremely appealing: Asatru, Druidry, the Greek Gods, etc. I feel like all of that would dovetail a whole lot better with the Bhagavad Gita than it would the Bible. I’m European, not Indian, so actually becoming a Hindu is not interesting at all to me, but I think that the philosophy underlying Hinduism and tying it together can easily be applied to any Indo-European mythology.  I think that AODA Druidry as spiritual practice, Vedanta as philosophy, and European myth as a corpus of spiritual literature is an extremely reasonable combination, and probably a hell of a lot closer to what I actually believe than Chistianity ever will be.

But, Christianity is more appealing for some reason.  And for a lot of reasons, Vedanta+Druidry+Mythology, although it might actually be what I believe, is extremely unappealing.  There’s a lack of clear religious identity, for one.  There’s no Christmas.  Druidry as spiritual practice sometimes seems shallow and empty to me–it is missing the millennia of tradition that Christianity has.  There are the social and cultural problems with identifying as an odd religion.  Treading a new path means missing out on the guidance of people who have gone before.  There’s the worry that I’m really just cherry-picking the things I like.  There are issues about the source of morality and the source of values (that I am exploring in another series of posts).  And in my head, Vedanta+Druidry+Mythology just doesn’t have the same, I don’t know, pow! that Christianity has.  And it doesn’t have C. S. Lewis.

So I know what I probably believe, but it doesn’t happen to be the same thing as what I would like to believe.  But my desire to believe Christianity is subtly undermined by the things I actually do believe.  I’m not sure how to resolve this painlessly–there may simply be no painless resolution–but I think it is extremely important that I have arrived at (or at least I’m getting closer to) the central question in my search for God.

Read Full Post »

So there’s a lot about Hinduism that I really like.  I’ve read the Bhagavad Gita, and I find it to be fairly awesome.  While I’m not interested in Hindu culture, there is much about it’s philosophy and cosmology that ring true to me (or perhaps I should say about it’s philosophies and cosmologies).

Hindu gods?  An interesting bunch, but there’s room to simply see them as symbolic or representational of greater truths.  And Hinduism isn’t as culturally alien as some world religions, because there’s a linguistic and perhaps otherwise anthropological connection between the North Indians (Aryan/Sanskrit group) and Europeans, of which I am one.

I have no big conclusions right now, but I intend to continue to look into Hunduism and think about it.  I don’t know if I would ever say “I am a Hindu,” but I think there’s a lot of solid philosophy there, ripe for the pickin’.

Read Full Post »

The cruise was fun, and Miami has been gorgeous, but tomorrow we’ll be back in the DC area and I’ll be back to the law school grind.

While I’ve been gone I’ve been reading about Hinduism, and I find a lot of it extremely compelling.  Some of it even seems, I don’t know, self-evident.  Barring materialist atheism or some other uber-exclusive religion being in fact exclusively true (like Islam or Christianity), I don;t see a lot of room for Hinduism to be wrong.  Expect me to post a lot more about it as the days roll by and I collect my thoughts.

 Right now I’m reading the Bhagavad Gita and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Hinduism.

Hopefull;y, when we get home tomorrow, my Druidry Handbook will have arrived, though I don’t know how interested in that I am anymore.  Still withing the context of Hinduism.  In other words, Druidry as a more appropriate cultural context for the concepts of Hinduism, being that I am of European descent and not South Asian Descent (unless the Vedas are right and it turns out that all of us Indo-Europeans are of South Asian descent after all).

Read Full Post »

It seems from my extremely cursory research that there are many takes on modern Revivalist Druidry.  Probably the most common is a straightforward interpretation of Druids as the priesthood of the ancient Celts, and thus the Revivalist version is also exclusively Celtic in flavor.

On the other hand, I get the impression that there are also strands that see Revivalist Druidry as an attempt to link together a broad ancient Indo-European religious identity, which is much more interesting to me than anything decidedly Neo-Celtic.

On the other hand, it makes me wonder, are there connections to Hinduism?  If Druidry is supposed to represent the religions of the Indo-Europeans, it can be easy to forget the “Indo” part of the equation, and that that end of the megatribe never had their religion systematically annihilated like the European side did.  Theoretially then, not only should modern Druidry seek out connections with Hinduism, but it would follow that reconstructed religious practices and beliefs should show some kind of connection to Hinduism, attenuated by space and the centuries though it may be.  I haven’t looked into it, so I couldn’t tell you if  any serious thought and work is being done in this vein.

Lisetning to Enya and playing ancient Celt under the oak trees?  I couldn’t see myself seriously adopting it as a way of life and spirituality.  Seems flaky to me.  Or maybe I just don’t identify specifically enough with my Celt ancestry.  Maybe that kind of thing would be someone else’s bag of chips, but not mine.

But Druidry as a revitalized European branch of a legitimately Indo-European  faith system?  Now that starts to make my hair stand on end and gets me seriously exctied.  I wonder where I could go to find out more?  Any Druids out there want to point me in the right direction?

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: