Aside from a brief crisis of identity suffered during my childhood, I have always identified as an atheist because I just don’t get the God thing. Frankly, I don’t think anyone else does either, because the extreme variation in theological perspectives across the globe leads me to believe that all of y’all ain’t talking about the same creator! It’s like some huge trans-generational game of Telephone, where the message comes out different depending on who you ask. A Catholic, a Southern Baptist, a Protestant Christian, an Orthodox Jew, a Quaker, and a Shia Muslim supposedly worship the same omnipresent deity, but their versions of him couldn’t be more conflicting, no? That is where several Eastern religious traditions are superior to their Western counterparts – they acknowledge the fact that differing interpretations happen & that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. During the Colonial Period when Brits, Frenchmen, the Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, & other European nations where snatching up Eastern countries & shoving Christian ideology down the throats of native inhabitants, plenty of folks accepted what Western missionaries where preaching. Much to the horror of the Europeans, these folks were just accepting this Christ-dude as another incantation of Brahman or another example of Buddha’s teachings or another deity to add to their already existent pantheon of gods. Unlike most followers of Abrahamic religions, they were able to take something of value away from Christ’s teachings without forfeiting their initial religion. Jesus ain’t the only savior on the block, y’know?
Anyhow, my own spiritual journey halted abruptly around my tenth year on Earth, when I decided that the purpose of religion was control of the population &, like all other forms of authority, I was going to avoid it at all costs. I DO WHAT I WANT! That’s my life philosophy, after all. Imagine my surprise when my Eastern Religion instructor had us take this HERE belief assessment test & it defined me as a 98% Theravada Buddhist. My best guess as to why I’m considered a Buddhist by the Belief-O-Matic would be my belief that human suffering is caused by egotism, that most of our suffering is all in our heads or it’s payback pain for fucked up shit we’ve done in the past, and that a person ought to be compassionate, generous, and kind to others if they want to eventually find inner peace. If that’s all it takes to join the Buddha Team, then count me in! These mo’fos got a pretty good grip on shit. All this time, I thought I had that six-inch Buddha statue for ironic purposes. Lo’ & behold, it’s actually a testament to my religious beliefs!
Question: Universal Unitarian is just a catch all label for anyone not affiliated with any other main church, huh?