Saturday, April 9, 2011

Michelle of Crowsfeet

Hello and Happy Saturday!

I wish to thank Loga'Abdullah for his very interesting interview last week. Thank you so much for sharing with us Loga'Abdullah!

This week we have a new interview so please welcome Michelle of Crowsfeet. Michelle is a Pantheist and I know you will enjoy her interview as well!

Here Is Michelle of Crowsfeet's Introduction:

Recently I dreamt I was discussing how much I loved my religion to other people. The dream surprised me, because I haven't thought of myself in religious terms in a long time. It also surprised me because the religion I belonged to in my dream wasn't one I have ever practiced. I woke up thinking "how odd!" The very next day, Debra's email arrived asking me if I'd like to answer questions about religion, at the moment I have no answers... how could I resist that?

1) What religion do you practice?
I'm a Pantheist, but it's not a religion. My family ancestry is mostly Christian and that is a part of who I am, but I have never belonged to any church. So I can't really say I practice anything.

2) Did you convert or were you born into this religion? If you converted, what did you need to do to convert? And what did you practice prior to converting?
Neither. I just was one from childhood without realising it. The first time I came upon the description was in junior school when a Religious Guidance teacher told me my replies on how I saw God were 'Pantheist.' I was ten at the time. I had to go look the word up in a dictionary and I was very surprised to find the description really did fit me. So, I think I've always been a Pantheist really. It's in every way I think and react to the world around me.

3) Would you consider yourself a moderate, conservative or other.

4) In your opinion, what makes you moderate/conservative/other?
Just that the word "other" felt more me when I read it.

5) In your opinion, what makes someone conservative? What makes someone moderate?
I see 'conservative' as someone who does not question and/or does not feel comfortable interacting with others who are different. I see 'moderate' as someone who does ask questions and who is also more open-minded towards other from different religions, cultures, etc.

6) What's your heaven/paradise like?
I don't believe in a traditional style heaven. I'd say I believe the Afterlife is a place where every day feels like the first day, fresh and exciting. For example: every sunset/butterfly you see is like the first time you've ever seen one. You never feel bored or jaded.

7) In your opinion, does everyone make it into heaven/paradise? If they do not, why?
I think everyone makes it.

8) What makes your religion a good fit for you?
It's a good fit because it comes from within me rather than me trying to fit myself into some external belief system with which I might not agree 100%. Pretending to believe was never an option for me. Even if I did pull off lying to other people I could never lie to God.

9) What are your holy days and what do you do to celebrate them?
Christmas, Easter, Samhain, Diwali, and all days of natural importance to the Earth herself, like the solstices. Also days of personal family significance that are only 'holy' to us as a family. Recently I added Ganesha's birthday to my list of days to remember. I've always been fond of Ganesha. I always try to take some time to just sit and think about the significance of the day and what it means to me. Sometimes I light a candle, but not always.

10) Do you consider people of other faiths to be your friends?
Yes, of course. My parents and grandparents had friends of different religions, so I was taught from childhood to treat all religions with equal respect.

11) Would you ever join people of another faith to celebrate one of their holy days? Please explain why?
Yes, I have done so in the past and would do again, if a friend invited me. Why? Because I love sharing in my friends' lives and I love learning more about different cultures. I see religions as humanity's way of trying to reach God rather than the other way around. Religions are one of the most amazing forms of human inspiration and creativity. How could you not want to experience a part of that, especially when it involves getting to know your friends better?

12) What are your thoughts on the burka, and Shariah Law?
I gather you're interested in religious laws that are uncompromising? I'd say that I don't agree with a lack of compassion and compromise in any religion, but I do understand that what seems unbearable to one culture might not seem at all strange to another.

13) What are your thoughts on women not being allowed to become priests?
Pretty much the same answer as I gave for 12.

14) Does your place of worship segregate? If yes, how does this make you feel?
My place of worship is out in Nature. Nature doesn't practice segregation and I feel very happy about that.

15) How much does your religion affect your daily life and how much thought do you give it when making a decision? Does it affect in any way your decision on abortion, gay marriage, etc?
It's not a case of how it affects daily life - my spirituality is my daily life. There's no boundary between the two. I am one whole person - mind, body and spirit. Does that affect the way I make decisions? Yes.

16) How would you react/feel if your child wished to marry outside your religion? I don't have children so I really don't have a right to try to imagine my opinion, but I hope I'd want what was best for my child rather than simply what made me happy.

17) In your opinion, if someone is not of your faith, will they go to hell?
Not applicable for Pantheism. From a Christian perspective... I can't remember any reference of hell in the New Testament beyond Gehenna and that's a different thing. In the Old Testament there is a description of something like purgatory, which makes sense to me. I don't believe God punishes people - I believe people are more likely to punish themselves with remorse, fear, guilt, etc.

18) Who do you think is not a practicing ----- in your religion and why? ie who in the public domain claims to speak for your religion? Do you agree with them or not?
I would say that Pantheism isn't a religion in itself so no-one can claim to speak for it. Who practices it nowadays? I really don't know. I never bothered to find out, but today I did some research and the results were interesting. I found Pantheists I like as well as some I don't. Which Pantheists do I like? Einstein, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Henry David Thoreau, Sitting Bull and Walt Whitman. Which Pantheists do I dislike? Not keen on Stephen Hawking and the more atheist/science branch of Pantheism. Sort of meant seeing God and creation as one, but nowadays there are lots of variations on that concept. For me, being a Pantheist is seeing the spiritual as a natural part of reality and not as something separate from it.

19) Have you ever been the target of a hate crime? Please explain.

20) Do you ever feel like your religion devalues you?

21) Does your religion give you peace of mind?
Not sure what peace of mind is really.

22) Do you believe in reincarnation? Why or why not?
Yes. I've twice found a place (and in another case, a thing) that I remember from a former life. Before those events I did not believe in reincarnation.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Michelle, I really liked that. Things are as they are, how else could they possibly be? Everything expresses it, especially nature.