Saturday, July 31, 2010

What religion would you be?

From formspring.me: If the atheism thing didn't pan out, what religion would you be?

I'm going to assume this is a hypothetical world where any religion I wish to be true actually is. My first instinct was to say Greek mythology, since I've always been a fan of the stories. But upon two seconds of reflection, I realized that would kind of suck. Being a Greek goddess would be fairly awesome, what with all the magical powers and transfiguration into animals and crazy debauchery, but being a human worshipper would suck. Just think about it. Gods constantly interfering in your business, placing bets on what you do for their own amusement, randomly choosing you as a mate against your will, punishing you for being intellectually curious...yeah, maybe not the best belief system.

I do really like the idea of reincarnation. I'm the kind of person who is sometimes paralyzed by over analyzing choices. Even the tiniest stuff we do can have lifelong consequences. For example, if I would have chosen to major in art at IU instead of biology at Purdue, I would be such a different person. I would probably be more religious, less skeptical, and of course have a totally different set of friends. I would have never created this blog, or traveled across the country for biology conferences. But at the same time, what experiences did I miss out on by choosing Purdue?

I see reincarnation as a way that I could experience everything in life. Maybe I chose to be a scientist in this life, but I could be an artist in another. Maybe a musician in the next. I want to keep experiencing humanity as much as possible. To me, that's why death can be so scary - your experiences are done, and you never know what happened after you were gone. What events marked human history? What did we learn about the universe? It's like opening a good book and having it snatched away before you get to the climax.

But I wouldn't want to necessarily live forever, and especially not in paradise. Paradise sounds boring to me - what's life if it's always perfect? If I reach that point where I've seen it all and my curiosity has satisfied me, I'm happy to blip out of existence. Or reach Nirvana or something. Blipping out of existence is my preferred term.

There are a bunch of religions that believe in reincarnation, but unfortunately I don't know enough about most of them to say which I like the best. If I could just tack reincarnation onto secular humanism, that would be good enough for me.

Though I do have to say, Pastafarianism doesn't sound that bad. The Eight I Really Rather You Didn'ts offer fairly sound moral guidance, every Friday is a holiday, most holidays involve extreme amounts of silliness, and there's a stripper factory and beer volcano in heaven. What more could you ask for?

So, if you had to pick one, what religion would you be?

This is post 12 of 49 of Blogathon. Pledge a donation to the Secular Student Alliance here.

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