This evening I want to ask: what religions do you find most interesting apart from your own? Would you pick one of the major world religions? Say Islam, or Buddhism, or Hinduism or Judaism? Or would you pick something more obscure, like Wicca or Taosim or Rastafarianism or Gnosticism? Would you pick irreligion, say Atheism or Agnosticism? Or if you’re not Christian, would you say Christianity?

I was thinking this could even make a good meme.

To participate, state your own religion (or irreligion) as your first preference, state the other religions that interest you most as your second and third preferences, then pass onto five others. If you’re feeling brave, say why they interest you.

Here’s my religious preferences:

1. Christianity (because I’m convinced Jesus really is the Christ)
2. Buddhism (because I love the philosophy, meditation, paradoxes and poetry)
3. Chaos Magic (because there’s an anarchist side to me that’s just drawn to a wild concept of Spirit)

And I should say, there is a serious side to this. I think it potentially reveals a lot about our personality, history, culture and spirituality (without – most important – necessarily implying you’re a syncretist).

I tag Sally, Ian, Phil, Jarred, Steve

But hey, feel free to participate even if I haven’t tagged you.

24 thoughts on “What religions do you find most interesting apart from your own?

  1. Okay, I’m in!
    1) Christianity. To me it’s all about the resurrection. If Jesus rose, everything else is just details.
    2) Scientology. It’s just baffling. But it’s fascinating that such an intellectually incoherent raving can attract followers (To those who suggest Christianity is incoherent, you obviously haven’t checked out Dianetics yet! 🙂 ).
    3) Generic quasi-Christian cults. I find the development from a church to a cult interesting (as well as more than a little worrying, and something that emerging-church Christians need to be constantly aware of!).


  2. 1) Christianity – It could not have survived if it weren’t true – but in any case, grace makes it the better story.
    2) Judaism – The only other faith I am persuaded is 100% true – they have walked with, away from, and towards the true God for millennia
    3) New Age – Gnosticism / works righteousness in sheep’s clothing, this mishmash has drawn in many “spiritual, but not religious” individuals who are urgently seeking — they know there is “something more out there,” and they are hungry for it. These persons may be more ready than anyone to receive the bread of life.


  3. Isn’t it cheating to put your own religion in the number one slot? (I’d have used up the first two slots if I did that!)
    My choices are here. Interesting Religions


  4. It’s very interesting to hear back that as Pagans you’re draw to liturgical worship but not Catholic theology. In some ways that’s very Emergent. I remember another Pagan friend saying once that he preferred the King James Bible to more contemporary translations. Gives us much to ponder.


  5. 1. Other branches of Christianity. Leaving aside my traditions for a minute, I am fascinated by both Quakerism and Russian Orthodoxy. Sometimes I wonder if there is a connection there.
    2. Sufism. I’ve always been curious about Islamic Mysticism, even before I identified myself as a Christian.
    3. Shaivism. Living in India, I became interested in the monistic branches of Hinduism. There’s something about this kind of non-dualism that connects with my postmodern tendencies.


  6. Speaking for myself only…
    Well, let’s bear in mind Matt that there’s only certain aspects of Catholic theology that I’m not drawn to. There are other aspects that I am drawn to. The problem is, I’m given to understand that the aspects I’m not drawn to (like monotheism, original sin, the need for redemption especially via blood sacrifice, etc.) are pretty much the essentials in the theology. Or so I’m currently led to believe.
    The stuff I’m all for (the importance of community, the need for social justice, the command and desire to love one another even one’s enemies, etc.) tends to be seen as “offshoots” of the essentials at best and “secondary” at worst. Or (again) so I’m currently led to believe.


  7. Jarred, yes they are pretty much essential, but there are different (and much less harsh) ways of looking at these essentials. For example, monotheism, I affirm monotheism yet I still affirm the immanence of God in the natural world (see the story of Paul in Athens – ). I affirm monotheism yet I still affirm that God speaks through non-monotheists (see the story of Balaam – ). I affirm monotheism yet I still speak of Pagan gods and goddesses with respect (see the story of Paul in Ephesus – ). Moreover, I would say that what Christians call God is more equivalent to that which Pagans call Wyrd and Karma and Energy and various other names than that which Pagans call gods and goddesses. In fact, I would say what Pagans call gods and goddesses are more equivalent to what we call angelos or malak, that is, messengers. Of which we affirm, there are many. And insofar as these messengers point towards a deeper reality than themselves I would affirm them as speaking for God. So, affirming that there is one true God does not preclude me from respecting aspects of nature as messengers of God, as intermediaries.
    As for original sin, this teaching is only half a teaching unless we also teach the original blessing: that God created us to be a blessing to the world, created us to manifest the Creator in his creation, and called us very good. And it is also only half a teaching if we look at it from a hyper-individualistic western perspective, and fail to recognize that it speaks of the institutionalization of injustice, of collective responsibility for the trashing of the planet, of the consequences we suffer from the actions of others, of the brokenness that reverberates beyond the actions of individuals.
    As for blood sacrifice, as a Pagan you would know that blood symbolizes life and life giving. There is a sense in which the cross is the womb of God, the pain which the Life giving one goes through to give birth to new life. The crucifixion is meaningless unless it’s viewed through the lens of the resurrection, which is itself meaningless unless it is viewed through the lens of the coming resurrection of creation (see Paul’s words to the Romans – ).
    As for loving one’s enemies, it is only secondary insofar as anything we do or say is secondary, given that Christianity begins with what God has done, not what we do. But, insofar as God’s love for his enemies – us – is the very essence of the gospel, love for enemies can never be anything less than the purest expression of faith. So I would say anyone who claims faith, but hates his enemy, is a fraud.


  8. interesting….
    1) I am a Christian, drawn to a whole mixture of different traditions for different reasons – anabaptist, Orthodox, monastic
    2) all the different Christian “heresies”
    3) probably Mithraism
    what does that say about me??? Probably that my faith is founded on the resurrection of Jesus, but that an immediate relationship with God is the vital element; that I dislike structure, need quiet at times, and question everything…
    why Mithraism? Because it seems to have alot of parallels with Christianity but I don’t know that much about it and would like to find out more


  9. Native American spirituality, because God came to me as the Great Spirit, decades after I had given up on my minister-dad’s religion.
    But recently, my fiance wondered why I was ignoring Jesus, while following God.
    Was there a difference?
    A moment later, something remarkable happened, and Jesus introduced Himself, and healed something profound in me.
    So it was full circle. To experience the Truth of Native American understanding of God, Earth and human as One, and then to introduce the actual Spirit of Jesus into it.


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