Sunday, August 9, 2009

Old Spider's Spiritual Growth, So Far

I was born, as we all are, an atheist. My Christian indoctrination began with my involuntary baptism while I was still an infant. My first 16 years I learned about Christianity, my family's religion, and I came out of that simply confused. The next 2-3 decades I spent hating myself for being a "failed Christian"; then I spent 6-7 years learning (fearfully, at first, because of my Christian upbringing) about Paganism and Wicca. From those studies I learned that polytheism was just as useless to me as monotheism was. So now I have returned to my natural state, and I'm officially an atheist/humanist. While there is always a tiny possibility that gods may exist ("anything's possible", right?), there is no evidence for any gods, and no good reason for me to waste my limited cerebral powers believing in them.

My morality is guided by the Golden Rule of the Christians, and the Wiccan Rede and the Threefold Law of the Wiccans. Everyone knows the Golden Rule ("Do unto others..."). The Wiccan Rede directs us to "harm none, and do as you will". The Threefold Law states that whatever energies, good or bad, that you send out into the world will pick up speed, or power, in their travels, and return to you three times stronger. The Wiccan Rede is the most difficult to follow -- you can't walk around outside without stepping on some small bug; you can't drive a car without damaging the air; you shouldn't even eat sweets because they harm your own body; etc., etc., etc. I think my pagan/atheist morality is even stricter than that of Christians. I have to do it right the first time, because there is no cosmic forgiveness. There are, however, natural consequences to every deed.

I burn a candle, usually with a brief incantation carved into it, for friends who ask for prayers, because it is an honest way for me to direct my good will out into the "ether"; and I work the occasional spell when there is a distressing situation, and I want to feel like I'm doing something positive about it. Both candle-burning and spells are ways for me to address my desires and focus my intentions without invoking any gods. I think spells are just as effectual/ineffectual as prayer -- about a 50/50 chance of success or failure; however, both techniques are capable of making the participant feel better about whatever difficult circumstances they are experiencing. And for me, spells are just plain more fun that praying!

...So, there you have it.

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