Any way of life that involves spiritual thinking or should I say metaphysical thought can be termed some sort of a religion if there is a Deity or Deities that are venerated or worshiped. The root of the word “religion” can be found as the Latin word religare (re: back, and ligare: to bind), so that one is tied to or bound to that ritual that makes up that school of thought. The word relic comes from a similar root as well as it means “from the past.” Living with different points of view results in different “dogma” whether it is “religious” or a life experience. Zen is nothingness….to be in a Zen state is to be a state of nothingness. Buddhism is more of a way of life as no “god” is venerated so I think the word “organized” is the source of confusion of terms that most get tripped up on. All religions have source points from older religions and all life experiences that constitute a “metaphysical belief” system or disciplined regimen have common threads so to say that sticking with “one” religion or philosophy is a moot point as they are all merged versions of each other in some sense.
Christianity itself is a composite of older religions and the schism of Martin Luther in the year 1517 along with the not so coincidental widespread use of the Guttenberg printing press, began the different directions of “protesting religion” hence Protestantism. Catholicism itself is rooted and it’s holidays based on the god with the “halo” or Helios also known as Ra the Egyptian Sun God that was the basis of worship in King Constantine’s Empire in 312 AD when the Holy Roman Catholic Church merged with the Paganism of Constantine to reform the entire European Empire. Although howls of protest continue on to this day from theologians entrenched in Catholicism, ancient Mithraism was an influence as well and much of the old legends coincide with many of the precepts of Christianity. Acceptance of new religions required morphing of past rituals in order for any new religion to prosper and this is precisely how Catholicism did spread with little resistance other than the Jewish order that knew Judaism was the basis from whence the schism developed in the first place. Until persecutions began after overzealous fanatics convinced the faithful to resort to bloody violence, Jews paid little mind to the lifting of their holy words of the Old Testament because of this morphed transition.
One can believe in Buddhist principles and not be Buddhist. The acceptance of Christ defines one as Christian. To be honest I don’t split hairs as billions of beings on this earth all believe in something different than the person next to them and that includes those of the same faith. One’s mind decides what image their god is, not an organized religion and that is the point. The rest is just debate over semantics of, why, where, who, and when. Here’s the secret-No One Knows. The interpretation of that quote itself is in the Rig Veda one of the oldest religious texts in the world, predating the “Bible” by thousands of years. What you think and feel is totally different than the guy next to you no matter if you both are indoctrinated in the same religion. The abstract image that your brain produces is unique to you. Gods are creations of man and to begin to separate and get totally technical over the four ‘w’s is mentally exhausting for me. It doesn’t matter. Even Christianity, (that would be the new members that were converted to Judaism without circumcision or dietary laws) had over 17 sects by 100 AD all of which were radically different from each other.
In the end, you have the choice to believe in the self and your ability to draw on the energy inside and that is the essence of the metaphysical and hence religion’s essence as well, it just that we externalize those wants and feelings to solidify our security factor in numbers and the manipulative power mongers and opportunists take advantage of it as they have throughout history. Is there a God? I think so, therefore there is. Atheists may cringe at that thought but again, there is no absolute proof either way and to reduce the debate to the usual Spaghetti Monster tactic doesn’t prove or probe what is deep seated in our human psyche. God? In what form? The answer is the form I choose as I can only think for me. Only I can live my life and die when the time comes. No matter what your choice, your brain decides what imagery you choose, it is the only thing you have, you are the only person that can be in your reality of life on earth to think. I have no use for man-made ditherings of belief so I believe in the energy of life (God) and myself as the two are inseparable.
It takes conviction and the path is only for those who are strong as it is the road not taken and it is the one path that gets the most abuse from both devout believers and atheists (believe me). I don’t really care, my life is full and my worries few. I’ve died and gone over and as beautiful as the experience was, it is much better to be alive than absorbed by eternity.
Live life fully and don’t question it’s why, where, who, and when’s.”