Choosing My Religion: Being Okay With A Little Bit of EverythingRosie Stoff

Ya, I listen to R.E.M., and “Losing My Religion” might be one of my go to car sing-along songs. Not the point of this article.

I was raised Jewish. Not kosher or going to temple more than twice a year Jewish, but still Jewish. I was held captive in Sunday school for years and years, celebrated some of the holidays (Passover, Hanukah, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur) and had a Bat Mitzvah. But I never felt any sort of real connection to the things I know the Stoff people have been doing, well, for as long as I can imagine! Maybe my stubbornness got in the way. Something someone was telling me to believe? I just had to reject. Maybe I would have felt a connection if I didn’t feel it was push down my throat for my childhood. Who knows. I’ve always wanted SOMETHING to believe in, though. Not necessarily a higher authority, but something! Religious people seem like happy people.

So after thinking long and hard, I realized, I did have my own religion. It was my own hybrid religion and it was okay with me! I realized I didn’t have to be what my family was telling me to be; I could be an “Agnosciuddist”. Oh it might sound crazy, but I promise you it’s not.

Let’s break it down here. Agnosciuddist.

“Agno” for agnostic. I don’t say “no way” to there being a higher authority; there is just no way to know! I say, “If there is, there is. And if there isn’t, there isn’t!” I just don’t know and I am okay with that. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

The “sci” for science. I am a firm believer in evolution. Some people aren’t and I won’t and don’t judge. Here comes maybe the wacky part: I am also a firm believer that we aren’t alone in the universe. How would it even be possible? We are one planet. In one galaxy. We barely know what is outside our own. Space is infinite. How could there not be other life out there? I’m not saying the look like us or have our intelligence. They’re probably not green and slimey. Maybe they are single celled, maybe they are far beyond our intelligence. Maybe maybe maybe. Someone once told me the definition of a genius is someone who can fully grasp the idea of space and the infinity. No idea if that is true, but if it is, I am far from it.

The “uddist” for… Buddhist, sort of. Some years ago, I felt a calling to Buddhism. After plenty of research, I found it interesting and a beautiful religion. But yet again, like my Jewish roots, couldn’t find the deep connection. Sigh. But I did take one thing out of it: my belief in reincarnation. I don’t know how, I don’t know why. I cannot justify it in any way. But I’ve always felt like when we die, we don’t cease to exist. We come back some way, somehow! I’ve spent many a rainy afternoon daydreaming about who I might have been in past lives. My interests vary. Maybe I was Amelia Earhart. Does that where my love of maps but fear of flying stem from? Could I have been a hippy teenager who ran away from home and went to Woodstock? I love the ’60s counterculture and in high school I had a dream of having a vintage VW bus. And I am OBSESSED with The Who. Maybe I was a pioneer in medicine? I think it is a fascinating subject. If I had the stamina, or could stand the sight of blood, I would have loved to become a doctor. So many things.

I didn’t need to conform to a standard religion to find one of my own! I still love celebrating the Jewish holidays. Even though I haven’t been to temple in maybe a decade, I regularly attend Passover, Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur celebrations with family and friends. I participate and keep my lack of connection to myself. Religion can be a slippery slope. You never know whom you might offend. Tread lightly.

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  1. I´m an atheist.
    Treading lightly? I dunno. I belive in democracy. I do´nt think there would be freedom of speach if we were allways treading lightly. Well… you might around someone who is foaming at the mouth. Like rabies. But, do open your mouth when you have made a little distance.
    Now, if you have some marketvalue of your own your agent or your lawyer might have a word or two to tell you.
    Constructive critsism will change the world – a foul mouth wont.

  2. I relate to this so much. I was raised jewish in the same way you were and went to a quaker school. I defied Judaism in the same way you did ( post awesome bat mitzvah of course) . As I got older I came to really respect the culture and traditions of Judaism and found my self drawn to both Quaker and Buddhist values ( which are amazingly simliar). I too am a firm believer of science ( though it depresses me that I have to state that rather than it being assumed). It was so great reading about someone going through such a simliar journey, thanks for sharing!!

  3. I love, love, LOVE this! I feel the exact same way about religion! Thank you for sharing with us :)

  4. It’s great that you’ve found a label for your belief system! :) But I probably would have put ionist at the end for “reincarnationist” rather than “uddhist” for Buddhist. Simply because in most forms of Buddhism, the personality is not transferred when you are reincarnated, only the energy. Personality is seen as something material and undesirable. When you achieve moksha, your personality will not be the thing that is enlightened, just your energy and being.