You guys remember where we left off, right? So, I was Pagan (or was I?), I had a new understanding of ethics with which to view the world and my movement through it, and even if I didn't completely like my life, things were better and that was ok.
This next part will probably make more sense if I explain a couple more things from my childhood...cue the flashback music...
Somewhere in a history or religion class, I was taught that there was a natural evolution of religion. The primitive people of the past were polytheistic, meaning they had lots of gods, but the modern, enlightened people were monotheistic, and had only one god. In my young brain (the same one that thought the Moon was more powerful than the Sun, because She could go where He could not...) didn't like this concept. For one thing, thinking that one being could take care of *everything*, every single little thing...just didn't make sense. Heck, even at home there were things my Mother did, and other things my Father did. I also didn't care for the feeling that we were supposed to look down our noses at those poor, poor people who still thought there were multiple gods.
No matter how many times I ran across this concept during my school years, I never liked it. It wasn't like going from stone to metal...a natural technological change. Why couldn't people have more than one god? Specially since the other gods I was learning about seemed way cooler than the robed, bearded duder who seemed so far away.
((Just a side note here...it's not my intention to insult those who have a relationship with Jehova, or Yahweh...this is simply how I felt about Him at the time.))
...and end flashback...
Alrighty, so it was somewhere around this time that I learned about Deism. From the Wikipedia page it says, "Deism can be a belief in a deity absent of any doctrinal governance or precise definition of the nature of such a deity." I realize that this only one facet to Deism, but this is the one that I gravitated to and it ended up forming the core of my eventual belief system. It made sense to me that if there was a intelligence or intelligences out there that were capable of envisioning the entirety of the universe as we know it (and perhaps all the rest we haven't discovered too...), then it would be something so beyond our experience as a human being that we couldn't possibly be able to connect to it.
Enter Joseph Campbell. Through studying at home, and seeing his lectures in a couple anthropology classes, Joe has become one of the most influential people I have ever studied, right up there with ol' Aristotle.
From Joe I learned what a religion is, and what a system of belief needs to do in order to be considered a religion. I learned what a metaphor is, separate from the literary device, and how it applies to a belief system. It was the first time I'd heard the phrase, "petrified religion", and it changed the way I looked at the Abrahamic faiths.
He said that believing the words of a book to be the absolute word of any deity was like going to a restaurant and eating the menu, instead of using it as a metaphor for the food you could order.
Woah...wait, let's see if I have this straight...
Ok, so on one hand, I have the idea that the nature of deity is undefinable. And on the other, I have the idea that metaphor is the language with which we communicate to deity.
Which deity? I dunno, it seems that it doesn't really matter...since the intelligence that created the universe is so much more vast than my human understanding.
What metaphors? Well, it also seems that there are so many out there, and most of them have some really good points, so it seems like it doesn't quite matter.
Now hold on a minute here, this is sounding like you're saying that because the nature of deity is unnamed and unknown, the metaphors that we use to communicate with it can be our choice?
Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying.
And that's exactly what I did.
With that, I think I'm going to stop here today. I have a feeling that I raised more questions than I answered, and I really want to be able to go into my epiphany that I have been promising for like a month now, without feeling like you guys are gunna get to the point where it's all "tl:dr".
So I wish each of you a blessed Solstice, and as always, thank you for reading.
Till next time, be well,