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When People Ask "What Are You?"


Epicurienne
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I know I'm no longer Christian (haven't been for 11 years now) but I'm not sure I fit into ANY category, as far as religion/spirituality go.

 

I don't think I'm really an atheist.

 

I've tried paganism/wicca, but sometimes have trouble with some of the stuff that's just too far-fetched.

 

Too materialistic and hedonistic to be a good Buddhist or Taoist.

 

Don't even START trying to get me to go back to Christianity, or to try Judaism or Islam.

 

I don't believe in Satan, so Satanism is out.

 

Quite honestly, I don't see why I need a label. I'm okay inside myself with not fitting into a category. But I don't know what to say when people ask me what I am, or what I believe.

 

Can anyone else here relate?

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Yeah, though I have the problem of having mashed parts of so many philosophies together, it would take a while to explain.

 

I tend to go with the answer "Complicated."

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I know I'm no longer Christian (haven't been for 11 years now) but I'm not sure I fit into ANY category, as far as religion/spirituality go.

I can totally relate -- as someone who has grown up in Christianity, there is this impulse to appeal to an external doctrinal authority, and to possess and ruminate on a totalist world system of analysis and reaction. None of these are truly needed, and we would all be better off if these brain viruses didn't exist to colonize our minds.

 

But even if, ideally, we could just mind our own business and pass through life without pretending to be cosmologists and moral philosophers, it can be so impractical some times, especially when people want to label you. And actually, I think sophisticated "worldviews" can be very helpful for a person who is leaving Christianity -- in order to displace the Christian brainwashing, it is helpful to get ahold of some powerful disinfectant in the form of a competing system of thought.

 

I've thought about a lot of different "systems": Wicca, Bahai, Deism, Taoism. But what I settled on was a tad bit more obscure, although it is closely related to and sympathetic to these four. I became a Platonist. Platonists are people who read Plato's description of the moral structure of the universe and find it plausible and hopeful, whereas Christianity is absurd and grim.

 

The part of Platonism that appeals to me most is the idea that divine retribution, although it may hurt like hell, is creative rather than destructive. See Socrates' exchange with Polus in the first half of the Gorgias dialogue. No blood atonement needed, no conversion needed, no "faith" (in the Christian sense) needed. The only thing that is needed is to experience joy and moral growth as the ONE operates her divine retribution upon you. This thought is a direct attack on the Christian cosmology, and thus it is a powerful and direct vaccination/antidote to the Christian forensic mind virus: In the Critias dialogue, Plato says: "I pray that [God] will impose upon me a just retribution, and the just retribution of him who errs is that he should be set right." This is almost a perfect answer to any evangelist who invites you to be "justified by faith in Christ's atoning death."

 

I like being a "Platonist" because it does not sound as exotic and ethnic as Taoism and Buddhism. It is not as suspicious as Wicca. And, it is not as vulnerable to further Christian contamination as Deism is. It is also more romantic and optimistic than deism. With Platonism, you can appeal to the Platonic Dialogues, especially the Republic, the Timaeus, the Euthyphro and the Gorgias. It kind of makes you sound smart too! :woohoo: If you want mythic stories to spice up your platonism, you can read Virgil and Aeschylus and Ovid. If you want mystical experience of God to spice up your Platonism, you can read Plotinus, Proclus, and Porphyry.

 

Plus, as a Platonist, you join good company of smart people: Goethe, Boethius, George MacDonald, Novalis, ETA Hoffman, C.S. Lewis, etc.

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I know I'm no longer Christian (haven't been for 11 years now) but I'm not sure I fit into ANY category, as far as religion/spirituality go.

 

I don't think I'm really an atheist.

 

I've tried paganism/wicca, but sometimes have trouble with some of the stuff that's just too far-fetched.

 

Too materialistic and hedonistic to be a good Buddhist or Taoist.

 

Don't even START trying to get me to go back to Christianity, or to try Judaism or Islam.

 

I don't believe in Satan, so Satanism is out.

 

Quite honestly, I don't see why I need a label. I'm okay inside myself with not fitting into a category. But I don't know what to say when people ask me what I am, or what I believe.

 

Can anyone else here relate?

 

I can relate. I usually use the term 'non-theistic Buddhist'. I dislike the term 'atheist' although that is certainly accurate. The other term I have started using is that I am a Bright. (http://www.the-brights.net) It very much sums up my view of the world which is naturalistic, ratioanlist and materialist (not in the 'accumulate lots of stuff sense but in the sense that the natural world is sufficient to explain itself without recourse to supernatural entities).

 

Cheers

lf

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I know I'm no longer Christian (haven't been for 11 years now) but I'm not sure I fit into ANY category, as far as religion/spirituality go.

 

I like being a "Platonist" because it does not sound as exotic and ethnic as Taoism and Buddhism. It is not as suspicious as Wicca. And, it is not as vulnerable to further Christian contamination as Deism is. It is also more romantic and optimistic than deism. With Platonism, you can appeal to the Platonic Dialogues, especially the Republic, the Timaeus, the Euthyphro and the Gorgias. It kind of makes you sound smart too!

 

 

 

Well, actually, I adopted my online nickname "Epicurienne" from my favorite philosopher, Epicurus. [g]

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................

I don't believe in Satan, so Satanism is out.

 

Quite honestly, I don't see why I need a label. I'm okay inside myself with not fitting into a category. But I don't know what to say when people ask me what I am, or what I believe.

 

Can anyone else here relate?

Firstly, hello Epicurienne and welcome to the site.

 

Secondly, Satanism is NOT the belief in, nor the worship of "Satan". "Satan" is the Hebrew word meaning "adversary" or "opposer". Ergo, if you are opposed to Christianity (or whatever), you are being adversarial, and therefore a "satan". Technically speaking, we Ex-Christians are ALL "Satanists", since we oppose Christianity. :fdevil:

 

Thirdly, you are correct in that you DON'T need a label. You don't need to "find" one, nor should you accept someone else's label for you. I wear the title Atheist on these forums just for the fun of it, but I'm much more than that. I consider myself a "Rational Skeptic", a title that serves me well no matter where I go. It means I THINK and QUESTION and am SKEPTICAL of everything, in every arena until solid proof comes before my eyes. Maybe that's a "label" you might want to try? That is if you feel compelled to give anyone an answer to this dreaded question.

 

Otherwise, don't worry about it. Just answer "human", and let it go at that. :HaHa:

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I'm a Fifth Element fan.....so when I hear "What are you?" I'm likely to respond with: "I am a meat-popsicle."

 

As for them finally getting frustrated with that an other answers, they finally ask: "But what do you believe in?"

 

I can then simply respond with: "Minding my own business."

 

If they still don't take a hint, I'm no longer enjoying myself (because that's just stupid...and nosy). Any and all questions at theat point would be met with a silent stare. Doesn't matter what moronic or ridiculous drivel they may say in the effort to get me to respond (why should I?). They will only get silence and my stare.

 

You'd be surprised how uncomfortable people can get when you do not follow the cultural idea that any and all questions require a response.

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A label to what I am today? Possible an Non-Theistic Non-Cognitivist, I'm still trying to figure out what I am, and that's the fun part. By not being anything, you can be everything.

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I'm also still fine-tuning my beliefs, but I identify as "Heathen" if someone pops the question to me. I explain a little more if they ask into it, touch on my underlying agnosticism if I feel the need to (don't always feel agnostic, but always feel Heathen), and that's that.

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Thanks, everybody, for your input. Poonis, I've been called "bitch" (by exboyfriends!)

 

I've been known to be a smart-ass and tell people something just off the top of my head, like "infidel," or "heathen," or "agnostic Taoist Wiccan."

 

Actually, the most accurate label might be "smart-ass." LOL at the following imagined scenario:

 

Innocent Conventional Person: "So, Epi, what religion are you?"

 

ME: "Oh, I'm a smart-ass."

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I "feel" Celtic-Pagan, but can no longer identify with the faith-levels involved... Nonetheless, "Celtic/Heathen blood runs through my veins".

 

Anyway, for now I'm calling myself a Secular Humanist. I know, it's cliche; but calling myself an Atheist seems to have so many negative connotations.

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Last year I had total knee replacement of both knees. During the preregistration I was asked what religion and I said none.

Guess what showed up to my room, right a chaplin. I got rid of him, but it's the last thing you want to deal with at a time like thiat.

 

After my second surgery a different chaplin shows up. I'm even more surprised because I thought the first chaplin would have made a note, silly me!

 

So if you don't want to be bothered by the chaplins make it clear to everyone.

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I know I'm no longer Christian (haven't been for 11 years now) but I'm not sure I fit into ANY category, as far as religion/spirituality go.

 

I like being a "Platonist" because it does not sound as exotic and ethnic as Taoism and Buddhism. It is not as suspicious as Wicca. And, it is not as vulnerable to further Christian contamination as Deism is. It is also more romantic and optimistic than deism. With Platonism, you can appeal to the Platonic Dialogues, especially the Republic, the Timaeus, the Euthyphro and the Gorgias. It kind of makes you sound smart too!

 

 

 

Well, actually, I adopted my online nickname "Epicurienne" from my favorite philosopher, Epicurus. [g]

 

My son's name is Epicurus. My daughter's is Aesara.

 

Do you believe in any gods or goddesses? If you don't, you're an Atheist. Even if you don't like the term, by definition you are an Atheist.

 

I don't like that people think of the word like it's the most horrible thing you could say. Even if you call yourself something else, it doesn't change the fact that you lack belief in all gods and goddesses and therefore are an Atheist.

 

"A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet."

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I don't believe in Satan, so Satanism is out.

Secondly, Satanism is NOT the belief in, nor the worship of "Satan". "Satan" is the Hebrew word meaning "adversary" or "opposer". Ergo, if you are opposed to Christianity (or whatever), you are being adversarial, and therefore a "satan". Technically speaking, we Ex-Christians are ALL "Satanists", since we oppose Christianity. :fdevil:

Excuse me for disagreeing. I get the feeling that the word "Satanist" is being redefined just like what happened to the word "hacker". If you would state "technically speaking, we are all "Satans", I could come along, but in my opinion a Satanist is someone who relates to the mythical figure "Satan". I did read the Wikipedia article on Satanism, but take note that the definition of Satanism as a non-religious philosophical movement is used by practicioners of that movement, not really by people outside of that movement (at least, not yet). I also see no personal need to invoke connotations with the mythical figure since words like "non-christian" or "atheist" discribe me a lot better.

 

Cheers,

Rob

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Last year I had total knee replacement of both knees. During the preregistration I was asked what religion and I said none.

Guess what showed up to my room, right a chaplin. I got rid of him, but it's the last thing you want to deal with at a time like thiat.

 

After my second surgery a different chaplin shows up. I'm even more surprised because I thought the first chaplin would have made a note, silly me!

 

So if you don't want to be bothered by the chaplins make it clear to everyone.

 

That goes double if you're having a baby. When I was pregnant with my first, I planned that he would be born at a Catholic hospital. He was a stillborn, and I will NEVER forget how they tried to force a baptism on me. Even though he was dead, they were still trying to get their tentacles on him, even though by the Catechism baptism is for the living. I had to tell the Chaplain (remember this is just after labor, which is harder when they are not alive) that I was Wiccan (at the time that was correct) and that baptism wasn't our way. He kept trying to come in and talk to me after that, which I ever so politely refused. They also tried to force sleeping pills on me, so I would "forget" the pain! :screams:

 

I will never ever forget that mess. :angry: Never mind that I was also dealing with the grief over losing him, because he was very much planned for and wanted. So the next time around I had a homebirth, and my midwife was totally cool with us being Pagan (by that point "ecelctic Pagan" was my closest label) and as it turned out my dear friend showed up literally as he was born and was able to help with everything afterward. the midwives only asked "Will she get queasy at the sight of blood?" to which I said "she breeds Whippets. You do the math." They didn't care that she openly wore a pentacle. I send a blessing in my heart every thime I think of my midwife, as she is a truly lovely person 9and one of the very few in which "christian" and "lovely person" really do belong together)

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Quite honestly, I don't see why I need a label. I'm okay inside myself with not fitting into a category. But I don't know what to say when people ask me what I am, or what I believe.

 

Can anyone else here relate?

 

Exactly, we don't need labels but unfortunately people like labels. I just say that I have various beliefs and leave it at that. I told someone the other day that I was an atheist and they called atheism a religion, so what's the point? :shrug:

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I generally just identify myself as a generic pagan. If that's not enough, I subject them to a long spiel that makes them wish they hadn't asked anything. Sometimes I use words like "Spinozan" and "epistemological."

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Just hold up your arms to make big mock-muscles like Popeye and, like Popeye, say,

 

"I Yam What I Yam!"

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