I do not see myself as a religious person. That makes for a problem because some of the categories used to describe my values, dreams, and desires come out of the religious conversation. If I were to take a kind of standardized test and be asked if I am religious, I would check “No.” But some of my other answers would connect me to the religious category and thus skew the test. Of course that only speaks of the limited understanding that the test-developers have of faith matters. They throw in a few religious sounding words and feel that have captured the concept.
I don’t think Jesus ever intended to start a new religion. What would he think of what he might see today done in his name? Religion is a system developed by human construct like other systems: economic, political, educational, medical, technological, or social. Such systems spawn institutions which, although they may serve worthy ends, all have in common a desire to grasp for our souls and control our lives. Those few in strategic positions work the system to gain much power.
And I no longer am very comfortable with being called a Christian. Christianity has many faces today and a large number of them are grim and scary. I don’t want to be identified with that. My dear mother would probably wrinkle her brow considerably if she heard me make the above statement. And I regret that others I know and for whom I have much appreciation probably feel a sense of concern when I say such a thing.
So I’m not religious and I am uncomfortable being called a Christian. What should I be called? I really don’t know. Any suggestions? The country balladeer, Tom T. Hall, calls Will Campbell a “Jesus-loving agnostic.” I can see that and believe that it has a more comfortable fit. Or maybe I’m just a “listening to Jesus Unitarian.”
What do I call myself? I would welcome suggestions. Somebody help.
Does it work just to be called human?