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Author Topic: Is Being a "Religious Tourist" Bad?  (Read 1856 times)

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Nymree

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Is Being a "Religious Tourist" Bad?
« on: October 06, 2016, 03:07:27 PM »

I only recently came across the term "religious tourist", which is why I use the quotation marks. This is the idea of an individual taking parts of different paths and religions that they like, and weaving it together into their own religious path.

Now, from what I could gather, there's a lot of disapproval towards this. However, I haven't been presented with an actual argument as to why it is a bad idea or wrong to do, and the only thought I can gather for it is that it may be somehow disrespectful towards those of the set tradition, maybe. I'm not opposing the idea of it being bad, nor am I supporting it - I just haven't been given much of an argument for either side other than my own experience.

This way of being spiritual and religious, though, has always suited me, and until recently didn't know it was approached with an amount of contempt or disapproval - it has been working really well for me, and I've found a lot of happiness and fulfillment following a very eclectic, almost patchwork-quilt path that has been researched into and carefully considered.

However, I really don't know if I'm missing something here - I'm new to the world of religion and spirituality, and although I've fallen in love with the path I've begun to develop for myself, I am hesitant to live it if it really causes this much conflict or contempt within a community. However, rather than anything else I'm hesitant more because it's all new to me, and so naturally I suppose I'm afraid to mess things up or do something naive or ignorant.

Apologies if my overwhelming ignorance on the topic (or religion in general) radiates out like a ball of toxic stupidity  ;D I'm doing my best, but want to reach out into the community like the social being I am to gather some opinions and then come to some conclusions on my own thoughts.

Again, apologies for any offence and/or slip ups.

Blessed Be!
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Alchymist

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Re: Is Being a "Religious Tourist" Bad?
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2016, 04:59:09 PM »

Religious and/or spiritual eclecticism has an honourable pedigree. Almost all religions and spiritual practises have built on pre-existing traditions. Gerald Gardner's Wicca, for example, incorporated many elements from Crowley's OTO (or at least it did before Doreen Valiente removed some of them), mediaeval magical grimoires, notable the Keys of Solomon (so-called), Freemasonry, perhaps some bits and pieces from genuine but half-remembered earlier Witchcraft traditions, woodcraft, naturism and possibly even odds and ends of Indonesian magic picked up from Gardner's sojourn in what was then Malaya. The Golden Dawn was, by any objective standard, a mishmash, incorporating Quabalah, John Dee's Enochian studies, elements of Egyptian religion and even some bits and pieces of Hindu and Buddhist traditions (notably the Tattvas). Good heavens, even some parts of the Old Testament of the Bible, especially Genesis and the Song of Solomon, derive from earlier Babylonian and Canaanite religious traditions.

It was the 19th century poet William Blake who said "I must create my own system, or be enslav'd by another man's". So I wouldn't worry too much about other people's disapproval of so-called "religious tourism". If others want to stick with one pre-existing tradition, unadventurous and uncreative as it may be, well, let them; but they should at least extend the same courtesy to we few who possess the Questing Gene and cannot be content with what we feel is a mind-numbing orthodoxy. We must each choose our own Path, whether a broad well-trodden highway or our own twisting forest trail.  By all means, create your own spiritual path; you'll be in excellent company.

Blessed Be Nymree, and all who follow "The Road Less Travelled."

Alchymist.
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Mystik Witch

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Re: Is Being a "Religious Tourist" Bad?
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2016, 05:38:58 PM »

Bravo... Bravo...Bravo...Alchymist! And VERY well said. I couldn't agree with you more. I do have a very hard time conforming to what other religions and people of those religions dedicate. I ended that spiritual path almost 12 years ago. Yeah I have had my doubts just like Nymree has. I have gone back hoping I would find that little bit of something that would shed some kind of light on that type of religion. It just isn't there for me. When I go out to my circle its like coming home every time! So I think I will stick with what I have found here. Even if I am the only one that understands what I believe.

Thanks again Alchymist. I appreciate your words very much. BB! MW
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Amberhawk

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Re: Is Being a "Religious Tourist" Bad?
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2016, 05:11:50 AM »

Very much bravo! When the words "Religious Tourist" comes to mind for me, it seems more of a willy nilly, flighty testing of various religions without really giving any one of them the time or effort in real study and practice they are due.  I think we've all seen or know people who are buddhist this week or month and Jewish next, bouncing from one to the next, discarding the old and fully submerging to the best of their own knowledge as they can. I really do believe some people can be eclectic and respectful, studying more carefully certain aspects of various religious materials and do so honestly, however I also feel some others really to get way too light and flip in attitude when "visiting" each religious ideal.
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Mystik Witch

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Re: Is Being a "Religious Tourist" Bad?
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2016, 07:00:48 AM »

I really do believe some people can be eclectic and respectful, studying more carefully certain aspects of various religious materials and do so honestly, however I also feel some others really to get way too light and flip in attitude when "visiting" each religious ideal.

I would have to totally agree with you. It is amazing how people will flip from one religion to another one. I wonder if it is just to please the people they are with at the time? BB! MW
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Amberhawk

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Re: Is Being a "Religious Tourist" Bad?
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2016, 09:42:45 AM »

I would have to totally agree with you. It is amazing how people will flip from one religion to another one. I wonder if it is just to please the people they are with at the time? BB! MW

You know what, I wouldn't be surprised. There are a lot of people who will bend any-which-way to be with someone, change everything to fit in and then abandon it all when it either doesn't seem right with them or they get pushed aside for not knowing themselves or being themselves. Eventually others seem to figure that out and step back when they see it. With that in mind I  cant be terribly surprised it happens. I only hope they find something that fits enough that they can stick with, to find and be their true self eventually.
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Mystik Witch

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Re: Is Being a "Religious Tourist" Bad?
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2016, 09:49:43 AM »

I'm sure there is a lot of truth to what you are saying Amberhawk. I hope they can find their way and be happy in their life. BB! MW
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blue

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Re: Is Being a "Religious Tourist" Bad?
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2016, 06:28:51 AM »

 Whether being a tourist is a good thing or a bad thing is really a matter of a another person's perspective.

 It really doesn't matter if you're an adventurer or the most ardent fundamentalist because somebody out there will say that you don't quite measure up to their personal standard.

 You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't.  ;)

Edited to add: You're probably better off to be true to your nature and not define yourself by the opinions of others. After all, the person that you are is the person that you are right now at this moment in time. It could be no other way.

 Some people need the structure and discipline of a well defined path and unchanging ritual. Things need to be black and white. That kind of consistency provides them with a sense of comfort & security in life. They can't imagine how another could possibly do without it. Non conformists like travelers upset them because it can introduce and element of doubt into their belief system.

 There are others with a more adventurous temperament that wouldn't be able to tolerate that kind of confinement. It would simply be too limiting. It's hard work though. Those who have put in their time and paid their dues might find those who float about like a feather on the wind with little or no depth of understanding to be a bit of an annoyance.

 I suppose there are different kinds of tourists when you think about it. Some take a few snaps for their Facebook page and are on their way to the next stop on the bus tour. Others take the time to immerse themselves in the richness and depth of another culture for a time before moving on to the next destination that beckons their curiosity.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2016, 08:45:03 AM by blue »
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cheese

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Re: Is Being a "Religious Tourist" Bad?
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2017, 10:25:40 AM »

As others have said, this phenomena exists in different traditions.  When I was a Catholic, people that didn't "measure up" in the eyes of (usually very conservative) Catholics were called "Cafeteria Catholics" because they pick and chose which doctrines to follow. 

Usually it was things like artificial birth control or voting for pro-abortion politicians. 

To my mind, it's just another way that they can prove their superiority or enforce social order.
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Alchymist

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Re: Is Being a "Religious Tourist" Bad?
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2017, 02:45:19 PM »

Quote
"This above all: to thine own self be true,
 And it must follow, as the night the day,
 Thou canst not then be false to any man."
                   Polonius, in "Hamlet", Act 1, scene 3, 78-80
                   By W. Shakespeare, or perhaps F. Bacon,
                   or possibly even C. Marlowe.

I tend to react badly whenever anyone tells me "You can't do that", about something that isn't either illegal or physically impossible,  or "You're not doing it right." Who's to say I'm not doing it "right"? What is "right", and what is "wrong", in such a context?

As blue says, some people seem to need the structure and discipline of a well defined path and unchanging ritual. Fine, for them, and structure and discipline certainly have their place; but, for me, and others like me, they represent a starting point only - a basis for exploration and innovation. We who are blessed, or cursed, with what I call the Questing Gene, must leave the marked highway and venture into little known, neglected, overgrown paths, and see where they lead (please note, I don't mean there is an actual "questing gene" in our DNA; it's simply a useful metaphor).

When someone tells me "You can't do that", I take it as almost an invitation to do that very thing, in a spirit of inquiry if nothing else; "What do you mean I can't do it? Why not? What are you afraid of? What terrible thing will happen?" And nothing terrible ever does happen, of course..... Our pioneers, like Crowley and Gardner, were innovators in this sense; too often their followers are mere imitators, it seems.

It's like those labels you find on electronic equipment: "No user serviceable parts inside." I usually regard this as a challenge - and quite often there are in fact "user serviceable" parts inside. I've brought several electronic items back to life by merely cleaning switch contacts.

So..... if you feel like mashing together bits and pieces from different traditions to create something unique, by all means go ahead. Some people might be angry with you - but, ultimately, it's their loss. But others might be intrigued, and who knows, you might end up with followers of your own ..... if that's what you want, of course..... not all of us do.....

Blessed Be all you innovators out there,

Alchymist.
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Firesong

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Re: Is Being a "Religious Tourist" Bad?
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2017, 05:50:02 PM »

I tend to think it's hard to just "decide" what to believe.  How is this belief at all?  Can I take one from column A, one from column B...? 

I'm not speaking about eclecticism, which I love, but rather jumping from religion, cannon and all, to religion looking for a connection seems a long road, unless you've thought a lot about where the gods are leading you... I found spiritual perspectives and compared them to existing philosophies; I made things match what I believed in at my core, rather than trying them on like shoes...

What would you like best.. a company that made one kind of pizza and sold it to everybody or one which sold a variety and catered to wheat each one needed?
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Alchymist

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Re: Is Being a "Religious Tourist" Bad?
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2017, 02:10:36 PM »

I suppose the term "eclectic" applies to me, simply because I don't think anyone has all the answers - and whenever I meet someone who claims to have all the answers, immediately alarm bells start to jangle.....

It seems to be almost a law of nature that the more stridently someone insists that their way is The One And Only True And Genuine Way (which can be usefully abbreviated to TOAOTAGW), the less of a connection to reality they generally seem to have. Genuine Mages tend to be quiet, retiring, reflective types, who listen far more than they talk, are invariably respectful of other people's beliefs (even though they often might privately consider them a load of hooey), and are painfully aware of how much they have left to learn, and how much of what they currently believe, or at least suspect, may turn out to be wrong when new information comes along.

This is one reason why I tend not to "believe" anything. I suspect a great many things; I suspect that some of them might even turn out to be true, in some sense; but I don't believe any of them. I take it as a basic principle that All human-originated OR HUMAN-MEDIATED systems of thought, philosophy and belief are at best partial, and at worst, dead wrong; including, most emphatically, my own. The words "human mediated" are in there because some people seem to think they have received their own beliefs direct from the gods, or God; but before those beliefs enter your conscious mind they have passed through your own (human) nervous system, and are thus human mediated to begin with; and as soon as you try to explain them to someone else there's another level of mediation, and so it goes.

All this is just a long winded way of saying that I don't think anyone, or any system, has all the answers; whether it be one of the recognized religions such as Christianity, Islam, Buddhism or Hinduism, or anyone's own personal beliefs. Thus, I'll take bits and pieces from other people's belief systems if I feel they make sense and add them to my own - and perhaps some day, in the far future, in this life or some other, I might come close to some kind of truth..... possibly...... probably...... or not......

One helpful sign I've noticed, over the years I've been searching; if a person has a sense of humour, or better still a sense of the ridiculous, about their own beliefs, they're usually worth listening to.

Blessed Be everyone, Mages and others,

Alchymist.
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"Truly I say to you, he who seeks, shall find. And sometimes, he shall wish he hadn't."

Believe nothing: question everything: think for yourself!

cheese

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Re: Is Being a "Religious Tourist" Bad?
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2017, 09:22:15 AM »


One helpful sign I've noticed, over the years I've been searching; if a person has a sense of humour, or better still a sense of the ridiculous, about their own beliefs, they're usually worth listening to.

Quoted for motha' scratchin' truth.
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Vigdisdotter

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Re: Is Being a "Religious Tourist" Bad?
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2018, 10:13:20 AM »

I've never heard the term "religious tourist" to mean eclecticism.  Eclecticism--real eclecticism--is a HARD path, since there is no guide book or "master" to follow.  You have to figure out how things do and don't fit together on your own.  So Eclectics are hard workers taking the bath less traveled.

Sadly, many don't actually put in the effort and slap things together in a pile of superficial nonsense.  These people don't tend to last long since their "path" lacks any kind of substance.

A "religious tourist" on the other hand is someone who decides there are Taoist this week.  Jewish next.  Hari Krishna the week after and so on.  They try and sample but don't commit.
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