Моята религиозност / My religiousness

(Find English translation below)

Сутринта  четох  книга за Карл Юнг, един от най-любимите ми мислители, и отново се замислих за това, което винаги ме е карало да го харесвам толкова много – фактът, че той е изследвал света в толкова много различни посоки, че макар и познанията му да са били толкова много и разбирането му така задълбочено, той никога не е заявявал, че има теория, още по-малко теория, която да обяснява всичко.

Освен това си мислех за религия, както  често правя напоследък – откакто започнах доброволческата си работа с бежанци, не съм имала време самата аз да се занимавам с религия, но някакси съм въвлечена в религиозните мисли и практики на други хора.

Самата аз съм израснала като атеист в атеистично общество, но от доста години не съм атеист и уважавам религията – всички религии, които по един или друг начин съм опознала досега. И все пак порасването ми без религия някак оформя сегашната ми религиозност, и ми се струва, че по някакъв парадоксален начин май вземам религията по-насериозно от тези, които са родени с нея. Аз не вярвам в спазването на определени религиозни практики, а в това да живея според това, което вярвам, че Бог иска от мен. Всеки ден, не само по време на Рамазан или около Коледа / Великден.

Не ми е лесно да разбера какво иска Бог от мен. Вярвам, че любовта е най-важното изискване, но не и единственото, защото водени от любовта, хората могат да вредят ако не са наясно какво е най-доброто, което може да се направи в определена ситуация. Така че смятам, че трябва да учим колкото се може повече за света и за себе си, така че да можем да намираме по-добри решения.

Религията ме извежда навън от своите доктрини, навън в света и ме кара да вървя по пътя. Тя няма всички отговори, но ми дава основа за изследване. Нещо подобно на Юнг, който не е създал единна теория, но просто инструменти за изследване. Уважавам религията, но съм наясно с нейните ограничения.

Наясно съм и със своята ограничена способност да разбирам религията. Изглежда, че Бог ми се разкрива бавно, така че ми се струва, че би било доста самодоволно, дори и ако съм изучила всички книги от някоя религия, просто да спра да се опитвам да го опозная, убедена, че знам достатъчно. Може би когато стигна до него, той ще ми даде знам или някак ще разбера отвътре, или пък тези две неща са едно и също.

Връщайки се към Юнг, аз му завиждам за увереността, с която отговаря на въпроса дали вярва в Бог: „Не вярвам. Просто знам.” Сигурна съм, че е знаел, тъй като е бил смирен и честен човек, така че не би излъгал.

(ENGLISH)

In the morning I was reading a book on Carl Jung, one of my most favourite thinkers, and I thought again of what has always made me like him so much – the fact that he explored the world in as many directions as he could and that no matter how comprehensive his knowledge and understanding was, he never claimed he had a theory, much less a theory which explained all.

I also thought of religion as I often do nowadays – since I started my volunteer service with refugees I have had no time to be involved with religion myself, but I have somehow been involved in other people’s religious thoughts and practices.

I myself have been brought up as an atheist in an atheist society, but for many years I have not been an atheist and I do respect religion – all the religions I have somehow got to know so far. Still growing up without a religion has somehow shaped my religiousness now, and paradoxically in a way I seem to be taking religion more seriously than if I had been born into it. I do not believe in special observation practices but into living my life according to what I believe God wants from me. All the time, not just during the Ramadan or around Christmas / Easter.

I do not think it is so easy to figure out what God wants from me. I do believe that love is the most important requirement, but I also believe it is not the only one as people might be motivated by love and still do something harmful as they do not have the understanding what is the best thing to do in a situation. So I believe that we should learn as much as we can about the world and ourselves to be able to figure out better solutions.

Thus religion takes me out of its own doctrines into the world and sets me onto a journey. It does not have all the answers, but it gives me a foundation for research. Or as Jung puts it, he has not developed a unified theory but just tools to explore. I do respect religion, but I am aware of its limitation.

I am also aware of my own limitations to comprehend religion. It seems that God is revealing himself to me slowly, so I feel that it would be too complacent to just stop trying to know him, believing that I know enough, even if I have studied all books of a religion. Probably when I have reached him, he will give me a sign or somehow I will know it from inside, or maybe these two are the same.

Going back to Jung, I envy him for the confidence with which he answered the question whether he believes in God: “ I do not believe. I just know.” I am sure he knew as he was a humble and honest person, so he would not lie J

 

4 thoughts on “Моята религиозност / My religiousness

  1. In the dominant Western Religious system, the love of God is essentially the same as the belief in God, in Gods existence, Gods justice, Gods love. The love of God is essentially a thought experience.

    In Eastern religions and mysticism, the love of God is an intense feeling, experience of oneness, inseparably linked with the expression of this love in every act of living.

    One does not need religion in order to connect to the divine.
    In my opinion the only way to know and love ‘God’ is to know and love oneself as he/she lives nowhere but inside each one of us.

  2. @Peacock

    First of all I would like to know what you understand under Western Religious System. I have been under the influence of four major denominations: Eastern Orthodox (the traditional Bulgarian Church), German Evangelism (Lutheranism) which is my current church in Germany, Roman Catholicism and Anglicanism. And based on my own experience I do can state that there is an enormous difference between how people from these only four denominations experience God.
    My touch with Orthodox Christianity has never been profound – baptized in Sveta Tritza Church in Haskovo (no memory at all were left in the several month old infant I had been at the time), then the prayer book of my granny, who was of Greek origin, and correspondingly had been more influenced by Greek traditions than by Bulgarian ones, and that was all.
    I remember how we, the boys in the neighbourhood, mocked a friend of us calling him Pious, because his granny had taken him once to the Easter night mass.
    My experience with German Lutheranism happened in a much later period of time and though at first it was just a way to approach the object of my emotions, I was surprised by the way people literally live their religion. I must say that during my highschool years there was an episode when a teacher organised a Christian meeting at school and this made her the object of attacks by both some of her colleagues and some of her students.It was in the early party of the nineties when a number of suspicious sects entered the Bulgarian market. So we were taught caution with any religious practices other than Orthodox Christianity. In short, I was rather cautious when I approached the German church as a student there.
    But I was rather surprised to see how people really tried to live in their daily life up to the principles they hear on Sundays. It is also worth mentioning that in east Germany the Church, mostly Evangelical, was the only place in the GDR where some degree of freedom of speech has been tolerated. Both current German President Joachim Gauck and the father of current Federal Chancellor Merkel have been one of those simple preachers who more or less successfully balanced between the moral standards they have set themselves as well as the expectations of their communities as well as the requirements of one of the most penetrating oppresive regimes in the communist block. So, the relations between the Church in Eastern Germany and the common people has been really different between the Bulgarian Church and common Bulgarians.
    The life of a Christian in Germany begins with children – there are many kindergardens run by a Church community. At the same time, it is not penetrating, and no religion is taught in these kindergartens. The Sunday meeting begins with a common meeting for both children and parents and then children have their own child meeting. I suppose preachers have been clever enough to send them way so that they cannot see gasps of boredom while expounding their long preaches.
    So, children start their meeting with religion at a compratively low age, then there are groups for teens, for adults, and for seniors. Each group has its own area of concerns – the problems of the 13-years-old teenie are much different from those of her parents in middle age crisis or her 80-years-old great granny. So a great range of really diverse themes customed to the needs of the respective generation is covered. What does make German Lutheranism different from catholicism is the lack of penetration or the miss of giving instructions on how to live according to Christian principles. It is rather sought to provide help in finding an own way of dealing with the problems considered or as Germans put it „Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe“ – „help for self-help“.
    Besides both German churches, catholic and Evangelical, run a great deal of social activities with their respective organizations Caritatis and Diakonie. Most of the ambulances in Germany have a Johaniter label (Evangelical) or a Malteser one (Catholic).
    So, Christianity in Germany is omnipresent and at the same time it is not penetrating. While Christianity in Bulgaria is somehow cloistered behind the church doors or the monastery walls and there is not much contact outside of them with the common people. From the stories I have read and heard from older generations living a Christian life in Bulgaria before the Communist coup in 1944 has been rather similar to what it is in Germany nowadays. But somehow the Bulgarian Church left the commoners outside of the temple instead of inviting them into it.
    And it is only the Bulgarian Church that can reach to the gentiles – through engagement in social activities for example. There are still some priests who do that – but they are just rare birds. It is still much more lucrative to inaugurate a posh office building than to organize a commune for drug addicts, or collect means for children in less advantageous circumstances.

  3. „So, Christianity in Germany is omnipresent and at the same time it is not penetrating.“ What do you mean by „penetrating“? Could you explain?

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