[This is an import from an old blog. Originally posted 01.06.11.]
(Note: I am not suggesting that any particular religion or spiritual path is inferior to any other. It is my conviction that everyone should at some point question what they believe.)
Why should you question your religion? Not every point here may apply to everyone, but here are five very good reasons — and all you need is one.
1) Why not? If your current church/belief system discourages questions, what is being accomplished by such restrictions? How is anyone to gain a more thorough understanding of their own chosen spiritual path if they aren’t free to ask questions? Ask them anyway. Keep asking until you get answers, even if the ultimate answer you receive is that you will not be given them — and in that case, stop looking for answers in others and turn your inquiries within. What can you ever gain by stagnating in your faith, no matter what your particular path may be?
2) There is a difference between a parrot and a true follower of any given path. How many people I have known who were of X religion because their parents were or their community primarily was! If I had a dollar for each of them, I would never again have to worry about finances. I was one of them for the first 20 years or so of my life. I could repeat holy text verbatim, knew all of the words to every song and ritual…but when it came down to it, I could not have told you why I believed it all, other than “I’ve just always been part of this particular tradition/My parents are X so I am too.” That is not an adequate position to hang one’s spiritual well-being on!
3) You’re not altogether comfortable with your faith/beliefs. Maybe you’ve felt it for a while, or maybe it’s only been recently that your discomfort has been growing, nagging at the back of your mind and never quite being squelched despite your efforts to shake it off. Why try to force-fit yourself into any set of beliefs that doesn’t honestly and naturally resonate with you? If we look at faith as adhering to a spiritual Truth, which is a tricky subject and a very slippery slope I don’t wish to explore beyond touching on the idea here, then it seems to me that such a Truth should not require you to suspend your disbelief of important parts (or any part!) in order to feel at ease with believing the rest.
(One of the wonderful things, imho, about Druidry is that there is so little core ‘doctrine’ or dogma to follow; Druids are free to embrace the aspects that resonate with them, and it doesn’t make us at odds with one another or lacking somehow in the richness and depth of this path as a spiritual journey.)
4) Chances are high that there’s a lot about your religion you don’t know. Doesn’t it make sense, if you are set on following a particular path (and even more so if you intend to advocate for it), that you would want to learn everything you can about it? Its past, its traditions, the different branches of it and how they came about…even relatively ‘new’ spiritual paths have rich, full histories with twists and turns and fascinating tales aplenty along the way. Who shaped your religion at different periods in history, and what may have been their motives in doing the particular things they did? How have various rituals evolved over time?
5) Questioning your beliefs can lead to greater security within them — and with that, the ability to defend your faith if ever you should need/want to do so. If you question your beliefs to the core and find that they don’t hold up, what a boon to be freed from something that wasn’t truly nourishing your soul! There are a LOT of religions/spiritual traditions in this world, and if you seek you are sure to find something that does feed your spirit and feel like home. I did it. And if you question your beliefs and find that yes, you are right where you need to be and they come from within, not just from external sources pressed upon you, then you have the gift of knowing now why you believe as you do, and that’s no small thing! Shine vibrantly from the spirit outward, confident in your faith and the knowledge that you are on a bright, resonant path.
Bright blessings, and as always, feedback/comments are welcome (all I ask is that you be respectful).