What I’ve always found funny is that many of the people who are all ‘my religion is right and the rest are crocks’ have never experienced any religion but their own. They were born into it, indoctrinated by their parents, and unquestioningly accept it. Don’t you think that people should look around a little? The grass is always greener on the other side… unless, apparently, it’s a religious fence.
For the record, I’ve done quite a lot of religious taste testing. I was born and raised Christian, but ditched that when I was about twelve or thirteen because it made absolutely no sense to me. I was an atheist for several years – and mostly still am – but part of that really didn’t ring true. Plus, ‘atheist’ has many negative connotations, as some of them can be really rude. I took a brief foray into Buddhism, and read a few books on Wicca. Eventually, I evolved into the patchwork mess I am today – an atheist influenced by Buddhist tolerance (I try), Wiccan environmental concerns, and both faiths’ ideas of karma-ish stuff and reincarnation. Instead of picking a label and forcing myself to match all the criteria involved, I picked what I already believed in and created my own (awkward and overly long) label. I think that’s what we all need to do. And even if you end up going back to your first beliefs, at least you’ll have experienced others. You can’t understand what’s wrong with society until you’ve been a minority. To avoid clichés, I won’t mention anyone else’s shoes, but for the record, I want to.
The best way is to assemble your own belief system by taking a bit of this, a bit of that – what you believe in. Like those teddy bear workshops, which I thankfully have never gone to. I don’t know – something about putting a childhood friend together out of spare parts like a little fuzzy Frankenstein freaks me out. And if it takes you ten minutes to detail what, exactly, you are instead of spitting out a single word, so be it.
You’ll be better for it.