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What You Face When Following Non-Traditional Religion

In this day and age, there is no way to tell what religion someone is just by talking to them. The responses you get when telling someone you follow a non-traditional religion can be quite interesting.

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"You say you are 'not exactly' Christian, are you atheist?"

No. I do not claim to be fully Christian because I do not follow every order given to humans in a collaborative text written over 3,00 years ago. Quite honestly, I think it would be very difficult to find someone who does. I believe Jesus was a real man and he was a revolutionary world peace figure. But because I don't identify as Christian does not mean I automatically assume there is absolutely nothing after death.

"Oh so you're Jewish then?"

Once again, no. I do follow much of the same belief system and share values with Judaism and that is why I partake in Passover Seder each year. But I do have some beliefs that would categorize me as "non-jewish." So please don't assume that because I sometimes go to Seder, have uncontrollable curly hair, and a big crazy family that I am Jewish.

"Then what do you believe?"

This is the part where people start to get confused and the lines start to blur. Overall I am a Christian/Catholic Jewish Hindu Taoist. Mouthful, I know. Throughout my life, God has presented Himself to me in many ways and I have chosen to listen to Him when He speaks to me.

If you want to truly understand , I strongly suggest watching the film Life of Pi. Even though I was not on an enduring sea voyage with a tiger where I almost died, the way God presents Himself to Pi is similar to the way I feel He speaks with me.

"Hinduism, so you have like 4,000 gods right?"

Again, not exactly correct. Within Hinduism there is an not a certain number of deities, but there are approximately 330 million. But despite popular belief they are seen much in the same way as Catholics view saints, popes, and angels. So if you're going to try and argue the point of Exodus 20:3 "You shall have no other gods before Me" you might want to take a closer look at the practices of Catholics and Mormons.

There is so much more to the religion than that. If you have questions read Bhagavad Gita.

"You must do yoga all the time! I bet you're really good at it."

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There are benefits of yoga that go beyond spiritual awakening. Immediately after a session you can experience: improved brain function, lower stress levels, altered gene expression, and increased flexibility. After a few months: lower blood pressure, increased lung capacity, improved sexual function, reduced chronic neck pain, anxiety relief, relief from chronic back pain, lower blood sugar levels (in diabetics), and improved sense of balance. Over years of practicing: stronger bones, healthier weight, and lower risk of heart disease.

Yoga is a way I stay balanced in my life. Through various poses and breathing techniques, yoga teaches you that if you keep your mind calm in the midst of a storm your body will stay calm as well. And no, I'm not the worst at it.

"You don't seem like someone who would believe that."

In all honesty, I believe all religions have a note of truth in them. Most practice balance of some kind, respect of other living things, and the belief in a higher power. It shouldn't matter what pieces from each religion I choose to string together to create my own. I'm not forcing you to believe it.

What did you expect? For me to more away from civilization, live off the land, and be one with nature? Not that I wouldn't love to do that but this isn't the 1960's and 1970's anymore. I'm not unrealistic. Instead, I'm going to school to get a doctorate degree so I can take elaborate camping/sailing trips.

"Don't you think it's disrespectful to true followers of those religions that you claim you follow them as well?"

No one is perfect. It is nearly impossible to follow a religion exactly as its text instructs you to. So if the followers of each religion are not perfect, then why am I to be held to a standard that they are not?

But to sum it all up, I'm smart enough to know that I'm not smart enough to know.

I respect everyone and their religious beliefs but I'm going to wait to determinate the definite truth until when I die. If there is Heaven, I cannot wait for God/Allah/Yahweh/Brahman to tell me themselves. But by that time, it will probably be too late for me to tell you about it.

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