Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Changing My Religion

A new Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life poll reveals that more than half of all Americans have changed religions at least once in their lives. There was a time when people stayed with the religion of their birth. Those where the good old days when leaving one’s religion was punishable by death. Of course in some Islamic countries the good old days are today, but here in the US of A we are free to change religions at will.

As one who likes to keep up with the latest religious fads (I passed on priestly pedophilia, but other Catholic traditions do have a certain allure) I have decided to change my religion. Well, not change my religion, after all how can I change Judaism? No, I mean I will opt out of Judaism and join something else. The question is what religion will I join?

Hinduism attracts me because I love all things elephant (with the exception of today’s Republican Party). But then I would be subject to the caste system, and with my luck I would be tossed in with the Dalits, the Untouchables.

When I first learned this I thought it would be cool because I thought Eliot Ness was going to be my boss. Then someone told me that the dalits had nothing to do with the FBI, so I lost interest. Then someone told me that the dalits were really the Daleks from the Dr. Who television series, and I am a huge Dr. Who fan and hate the Daleks who are always out to get Dr. Who, so Hinduism is out.

Buddhism is an option. By being a Buddhist I can still hang out with Jews since almost all the Buddhists I know are Jews. On the other hand, Buddhism doesn’t make room for God and I can’t seem to shake Her, so being a Buddhist isn’t going to work.

Becoming a Muslim or a Christian are also out since they worship the same insane warlord as the Jews from whom I am trying to switch. This would be like a Coke drinker switching to Pepsi when the whole point was to give up brown sugar water altogether.

Taoism is probably the religion for me. First, its “bible,” the Tao te Ching, is only 81 poems long so there isn’t a lot to learn or carry around. Second, the great Taoist philosopher Chuang Tzu seems to share my sense of humor, something that no saint in any other religion does. And third the yin-yang symbol is round and therefore lacks the sharp points of the Star of David and Cross of Christ so there is less chance of poking myself when wearing religious jewelry.

So I guess Taoism is it. And today I am officially switching to Taoism. That’s it, then. I’m a Taoist. You know what bugs me about my Taoist religion? It just isn’t progressive enough. Too traditional. Tai Chi is too slow and too long for me. I’ve got to change Taoism, make it hip and modern, and more to my liking. But I sense resistance from my Taoist co-religionists. They don’t want to change. I’m frustrated with conventional Taoism. Maybe I should find another religion more suited to my nature. I wonder if Judaism has anything to offer me?


Julie said...

"and I can’t seem to shake Her"

just one of the reasons you are high on my list :)

AaronHerschel said...

Shake her off, man. That girl is bad news. You just can't trust her. Or anyway not according to what I heard. Check this out:

First, she chooses one guy, and then just a few centuries later, bang! she starts seeing someone else on the sly, starting all kinds of static with the first guy when he finds out. And even though the second guy got, erm, killed, his boys and the first guy's crew start this whole Hatfield-MCCoy style feud that lasts, y'know, forever. Which I guess got her all "this is, like, too much drama," so she totally sends her BF Gabe to another guy to say that things aren't really working out with the first two guys and she kinda maybe wants to get with him. So now there's three guys gettin all macho and "she likes me best" and beating each other up, and, like, she's just egging them on.

Anyway, this girl, she seems like kinda a diva. Like, she says she's all loving and wants everyone to get along and stuff, but dude, look at her track record. I know she's got a great body (count) and everything, but seriously. I'm so over her.

Maggid said...

I once worked with a man who would loudly proclaim "It's all about Zoroaster, folks!"

me - I wonder about Shinto . . . gotta find some books and report back, I guess.

Happy Day!

Patti said...

Who is it who said "If you join the perfect religion you just screwed it up." Well, that is a total bastardization of the comment, and I am too lazy to look it up, but you get my drift.

I am totally lovin' my no religion. So peaceful.

The Rambling Taoist said...

Why not become a philosophical Taoist? The religious form sprouted up in about the third century AD, but the philosophical form (no deity, creeds, doctrine or rituals) has been around for thousands and thousands of years.

I'm a Taoist and I don't have one religious bone in my body.

Karen said...

Fascinating. I think I'll stick with my own made-up religion. I'm personally very active in my own church, sometimes my spouse and kids are part of the congregation. But generally it's just me, myself, and I. And, believe it or not, there's still conflict, multiple interpretations that are argued over, and occasional political infighting among the staff (me, myself, and I)! Maybe I need to switch to a different made-up religion of my own, or maybe I have multiple personality disorder or something! Anywho, I'm perfectly happy supporting myself in strengthening my relationship with God.

Peter Schogol said...

I think you should change religions as least as often as you change your oil. Of course there's the possibility that, like me, you'll return to the first religion you ever joined (Quakers, in my case), but then again your mileage might vary.

Grégoire said...

Hey Peter-

Years ago when I lived in Salt Lake City I went to a Friends (Quaker) meeting, which was held in a large nondescript room rented out in an old building. There we all sat in a circle for an hour. Occasionally the silence was broken by someone who felt compelled to share something.

It was very unlike anything I'd ever experienced before, and the only time I ever experienced anything like it again was when I visited the Zen Center in Los Angeles.

I seem to run across a large number of Quakers/Friends at various anti-war gatherings, and am thinking I'll drop in again sometime. It's an incredible tradition you've aligned yourself with, and the people who gravitate toward it tend to be consistently thoughtful and decent.

Best, G