Many people don’t have the option of selecting a religion or spiritual path, so you should consider it a privilege. Choosing the right spiritual path is like buying a hat; it needs to fit. We have questions to help you in this process.
What is the best way to select a religion or spiritual path? Shop around. Shop for a religion like you are on a shopping trip to purchase an expensive hat.
When you try on a religion, look in the mirror, and ask yourself some questions. Do I look silly wearing this hat? What does wearing this hat inspire me to do? How did other customers end up wearing this religion?
Then, it is important to get a second opinion about your choice from an unbiased third party before you sign up. What are the opinions of sources outside the faith? Think of choosing a religion like buying a hat. Don’t buy the first hat or religion you see.
How to Select a Religion
We are sorry if you were born into a family that made you join a religion and wear a funny hat. When you are an adult, you can make your own decisions. You should be free to make your own decisions.
Please don’t pick a hat or religion because someone tells you it will look good. Look in the mirror. Does the hat make you look stupid? When you wear the hat, how does it affect how you think and act? Ask an unbiased friend if it looks ridiculous. Don’t ask someone wearing the same hat or religion because they will be biased and will tell you it looks fine, but don’t believe them. Get a second or third opinion.
It’s A Choice Like Buying A Hat
Hey, if you have the privilege of selecting a religion, you are lucky because selecting a spiritual path is not something which is available to everyone. Many people don’t choose their faith because they are born into one. Their families choose for them and accept the decisions of their parents. Sometimes they live in such repressive cultures they don’t have the option to select another. If you can choose, do it like you are shopping for an expensive hat.
It’s only natural to seek guidance on your spiritual journey. Where do you find a good religion? Hat stores and religions have retail outlets.
People look at the most popular religions first. About half of the 8 billion people on the Earth wear a hat from Abrahamic family (1), of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. These systems are not new. They took everything from older religions.
We can trace them back to the ancient mystery religions of the Mediterranean region and the myths from Egypt, Babylon, Persia, and Assyria.
Remember, a lot of other stuff comes with the head covering. The rest of the outfit includes a bundle of doctrines and dogma. There is a long-standing war between tribal and inclusive worldviews. Some see it as science versus religion or facts versus mythology.
“It’s a curious thing in American life that the most abject nonsense will be excused if the utterer can claim the sanction of religion. A country that forbids an established church by law is prey to any denomination. The best that can be said is that this is pluralism of a kind.” ― Christopher Hitchens, Prepared for the Worst: Selected Essays and Minority Reports
Select a Religion or Do Without One?
No matter which hat or path you choose, test it regularly, because testing ensures you are on the right path going in the right direction. Make sure the hat you choose still fits. If it doesn’t fit or gets worn out, find another. Hopefully, your goals are greater awareness and enlightenment. If these latter qualities are more critical and doctrine and dogma run your life, you may choose a more spiritual path. Above all, please don’t choose a hat or spiritual path because it is convenient or popular.
There is a better option. Instead of selecting a religion, create your own spiritual path. Yes, you can do this! The right tools will open the doors to higher states of consciousness. A lot more people do this. That way, you will be sure the spiritual hat fits.
Test Your Religion Or Spiritual Path
No matter what path you take or what hat you wear, test to make sure it fits. You can apply four tests to help you make sure that the hat you choose isn’t harmful to you or others.
These criteria are:
- Fairness, Equitability, and Responsibility
- Tools for Development
- Equality and Freedom
If the hat or religion you try on fails any of these tests, it isn’t healthy for you or others.
Consistency is the First Essential Test
If God wrote a book, wouldn’t you want a copy? Why sure, but be sure it’s not just a selling tool for a belief system. If you select a religion based on a sacred or divinely inspired text, make sure it is consistent from cover to cover. It seems like every religion has its particular version of what they claim are divinely inspired books. Remember, finding the right path is like buying a hat. If it doesn’t fit right, try another.
Consistency is a major test for any system. Its texts and teachings need to be consistent without contradictions. It should not talk about love and peace while promoting genocide and slavery. Love and hate, peace and violence are conflicting ideologies. It is the mark of insanity. Don’t follow insanity. If someone tells you that the text doesn’t mean what it says, that’s another contradiction. If a book says XYZ, that is what it says; it doesn’t mean ABC. People use this ploy to cherry-pick what they want to make it mean anything they want.
When in doubt, check the origins of the text. Use sources from outside the religion you are researching. That way, you are more likely to find the truth. If something is hiding the origins of their texts, that’s a red flag.
Choosing the right spiritual path means deciding what is suitable for you. If you need guiding principles, you don’t need a religion for that. There are plenty of sources for simplified and non-contradictory platforms.
When someone asks us how to select a religion, the first thing to do is look for consistency in words and actions. This test eliminates the Abrahamic hats.
Is it Fair, Equitable, and Responsible in Action?
Choose a path with a positive mission which promotes inclusive ideals. Reject those sources which promote sectarian points of view.
“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” ― Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion
It should also promote both ecological and humanitarian health and welfare. It should not exclude people or places based on their backgrounds. Everyone on the Earth and every site on the planet is sacred. There isn’t a planet B option.
Many Western religions talk about conquering the world, but this opposes living in harmony.
“We keep on being told that religion, whatever its imperfections, at least it instills morality. On every side, there is conclusive evidence that the contrary is the case and that faith causes people to be meaner, more selfish, and perhaps above all, more stupid.” ― Christopher Hitchens
Tools for Development
A tradition has merit to the extent that it preserves and promotes processes for independent self-development. Again, it’s like buying a hat; it needs to fit. Just because some religion has a fancy or unusual hat doesn’t mean it will help develop your potential.
Look for those that provide processes. Processes open the doors of awareness. It makes the development of your own path a reality. Instead of boundaries of belief to keep you in, it should promote tools to break down the barriers.
Living without barriers is the preferred state. It is our original state of innocence. People who live in this state use reason and common sense. These are freethinkers, humanists, and atheists.
This criterion also rules out rules out the Abrahamic hat systems. They are absent the tools for exploring or developing consciousness. Instead, they offer faith and belief in mythology. Ick!
Promotes Equality and Freedom
The tradition you choose is only worthy if it does not promote sectarianism. Sectarianism is any form of bigotry, discrimination, or hatred. So, likewise, feel you need to join a religion, be sure it does not promote bias or prejudice. Nor should it attach importance to perceived differences.
Your path should not inspire hatred for people who have different spiritual beliefs. It should not promote violence or seek to restrict basic human rights of a group or gender.
“We still name our military helicopter gunships after victims of genocide. Nobody bats an eyelash about that: Blackhawk. Apache, and Comanche. If the Luftwaffe named its military helicopters Jew and Gypsy, I suppose people would notice.” ― Noam Chomsky, Propaganda and the Public Mind: Conversations with Noam Chomsky and David Barsamian
“Nationalism of one kind or another was the cause of most of the genocide of the twentieth century. Flags are bits of colored cloth that governments use first to shrink-wrap people’s minds and then as ceremonial shrouds to bury the dead.” ― Arundhati Roy, War Talk
Select a religion or spiritual path which does not promote artificial man-made divisions and boundaries. It should not promote unhealthy ideologies like patriotism or nationalism. Nor should it justify inhumane acts like gentile mutilation, torture, genocide, or persecution. It should not promote gender superiority or practices.
“The scriptures present a God who delights in genocide, rape, slavery, and the execution of nonconformists, and for millennia those writings were used to rationalize the massacre of infidels, the ownership of women, the beating of children, dominion over animals, and the persecution of heretics and homosexuals.” ― Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined
So, if the religion you are researching doesn’t meet these guidelines, we suggest you keep looking. It’s like buying a hat; keep your options open. Choosing the right spiritual path is an important decision. If you have the opportunity to choose your spiritual path or religion, please take your time. Then, test it regularly to make sure you learn what you need to progress. Finally, if you find you’ve chosen the wrong path, change it.
Please don’t choose a path based on the need to believe or need to belong. Don’t join because you are hurting or in need of help. When you are in crisis, you are vulnerable to self-hypnosis and group hypnosis manipulation tactics. If the religion or path cannot meet the above guidelines, keep looking or live without one.
Remember, select a religion is like buying an expensive hat. You will invest a lot of time with it, so make sure it fits. Don’t settle for the wrong fit. Don’t settle for something harmful to you or others.
If you need one, we recommend you design a funny religious hat of your own. Forge a unique spiritual path. Find tools that expand your awareness and open doors to higher states. Become a freethinker and be an example for others. Show them it is possible.
(1) Abrahamic Religions: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abrahamic_religions