Labels belong on cans, not people

labelsDuring a recent breakfast date with my friend Dee whose belief system differs from mine, I was given the suggestion of posting about the concept of labels in regards to human beings and their beliefs.

“I don’t consider you my Buddhist friend,” she said. “Do you consider me your Christian friend?”

She has a point.

Being the spiritual eclectic that I am, I have always had trouble with labels because aspects of different belief systems resonate with me.  I’ve mostly called myself pagan for the past 20 years, it being a broad term meaning “a person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main world religions.” Now, having joined a Buddhist organization, I still refer to myself as a spiritual eclectic, since I recognize validity in varying belief systems.

My favorite quote from Buddha is, “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”

I never did well with doctrine and dogma. “We are X so we believe in Y without exception.” Why? Because “that’s the way it’s always been”? Or because it nourishes your soul?

I am a big fan of diversity and to me that’s what makes the world interesting.

The suggestion given by  Dee has stuck with  me, and has even inspired a post series idea; I’m blessed to have friends of varying faiths and belief systems and would love to interview at least one of each. These interviews exercise my atrophied journalism skills once so sharply honed. So I will be putting a call out for interviewees. I don’t want to stir up any controversy or promote one faith over another, but rather showcase the similarities we share.


2 thoughts on “Labels belong on cans, not people

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