Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Belief-O-Matic 2007: The Best Way to Find Out If You Indeed Are Going to Hell in a Neo-Pagan Handbasket

My world has been well and thoroughly rocked.

A friend of mine stopped down to the library Monday and told me I had to take this online religion quiz she had just taken, and that she found her own results to be so interesting she wanted someone else to take it so she could talk about it. Well, this was right up my spiritual alley; I love to explore my own religious beliefs, and am open to a lot of different religious ideas and points of view, so I spent part of my lunch that day heading over to the Belief-O-Matic to see what church this little converted Catholic girl really belongs to.

My friend had as her number one match "Orthodox Quaker", which shook her a little bit as she feels like she's a pretty good fit at her Methodist church. At least her results were in the Christian circle, though. Now, I am the first to admit that I am probably not a true Catholic. I have had many crises of faith in my life; a Philosophy of Religion class I took my freshman yeare at Centre pretty much convinced me there was no God, and it took me years of soul-searching to come back into the Christian fold. When I did return, I converted to the Catholic faith, which my sister had converted to years before, and which my husband was raised in (though he seldom practices), and I felt good about that choice. I know that my true religious and moral beliefs are a little granola and a little too liberal for the Catholic church, but I love the Catholic sacraments and rituals; I truly feel at one with God after mass, and I am often moved to tears as we remember the crucifixion each Sunday. So I wasn't quite ready for the results I got back Monday.

According to the Belief O Matic, I am a 100% match for...wait for it...Neo-Pagan! What exactly is a Neo-Pagan, you ask? I don't really know! And neither do they, according to the links attached to the results page. They're kind of open to everything. But they sure as heck ain't Christian.

I initially laughed at the results. Me, a Neo-Pagan! Hilarious! Guess I'll have to quit shaving my armpits and drag out my Birkenstocks and peasant skirts and start talking about the Earth Mother. But as I started trying to learn more about this faith, and about some of the others in my top 5, I realized that I do share an awful lot of similarities in what I truly believe and what the pagans believe...and Reformed Judaism...and Universal Unitarianism...and the liberal Quakers. I even found myself shaking my head in agreement a little with the Ba' hai page. (Though I have a hard time trying to spell it.) Any type of recognizable, traditional Christian faith was way down on my list, and my Roman Catholic brethren were way down at my lowest match. Holy crap.

I asked Jason to take the quiz that night, and by the time I had come back from running (I needed a night-time jog to try to clear my head of the thought that I was going to hell) he had taken it and told me he was really an Orthodox Jew. Neo-Pagan was nowhere in his top 5, though we did share an awful lot of our top ten. And like me, traditional Christian faiths were not ranked very highly. At least I'll have company in hell. (Just kidding! None of our top faiths believe in hell!)

I let myself get so worked up over this that I re-took the quiz. Talking to Jason and to my friends who have taken the quiz, I realized I really didn't read some of the questions right. To my relief, my results the second time were more what I expected. "Liberal Quaker" was my top choice this time, and reading about them, I think that's a fairly accurate assessment. And given that the friend that recommended this to me was labelled an "Orthodox Quaker", it absolutely makes sense to me that I would be the far-left sister to her beliefs. Though reading about both, I have a hard deciding whether or not you can say either is an exclusively Christian faith. Reformed Judaism was also still high for me (number 2), and I welcomed the addition of "Mainline to Liberal Protestant" to the top 10. But that darned Neo-Pagan was still my 3rd highest match. Roman Catholic was still way down in the bottom 5.

I always knew that I am accepting of other faiths, and I've never believed that Christians have all the right answers. Who am I to say that because you're Jewish, or Muslim, or Hindu, and live your life trying to be a good person in accordance with the guidelines your faith have given you, that you're not going to enjoy a peaceful afterlife in the presence of the deity you worship? I can't (unless you murder innocents in the name of your God, in which case I think there just might be a hell for you. Just sayin'.) The God I believe in doesn't work that way. But I have always felt like Christianity, the path I choose, was a pretty good fit. Now I'm not so sure. I feel another crisis coming on.

Take the quiz and come back here. Does it label you pretty accurately? Any surprises? And if you're so inclined, swing by the Cranky house someday to discuss over a little wine. That really is the best way to tackle the subject, you know. And maybe that's why I enjoy the Catholic faith so much.


wanda y said...

Um, Yeah.....Your handbasket awaits you!
The Belief-O-Matic nailed my religious background on the head!!! It identified me as (Liberal) Protestant....exact same faith in which I was raised. The descriptions of the smaller topics read like we used to discuss in Sunday School and each sermon! So, I am going to say that the first results you got were pretty accurate!
Now, if you ever feel the need to dance in the moonlight with your Pagan friends...since I was identified as "liberal", I would be more than happy to join you!!!! And that would be OK with Him! hahahahahahahaahahahahaha, Well, at least that is what I believe! :-)

Shan said...

Great minds think alike...I got your result, Cranky.

Who knew I was Pagan?

Anonymous said...

Oh, Lord help you, Cranky. Nothing turns this left-leaning Protestant's crank like talking theology. And I don't even need a glass of wine. It helps, though.

I probably would've been Neo-Pagan but the religious legalists at BHCS (that's Christian school, not county high school with dyslexia) got their hooks into me pretty early.

And Wanda, of course the pagans will be there! It won't be half the fun without them. Besides, I think they've got it spot-on in some respects. At least, I hope all the old hymn-writers are wrong about Heaven's being a _city_!

And that the religious legalists are wrong about it being devoid of dancing, a good buzz, and music with any kind of a groove to it. I hope that Rodney Carrington's wish will come true. Just not from me, of course. I mean the first one. There are too many fat Baptists for even them to argue about the chocolate-chip cookies.

OK, I'm going to hell.

Karen said...

I'm not quite sure how I can be a liberal/mainline/conservative Christian and Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic all at the same time. Aren't those contradictions in terms? No wonder I feel so conflicted all the time. Oh wait, maybe all those added together just equal Lutheran. Lutherans love wine. ;)

Anonymous said...

Ok, since I'm "the friend" that introduced this to you, I'm now feeling a tad guilty for actually introducing this lovely quiz to so many of you and my friends, friends' friends, family, etc. It seems as though we've all had our own little crisis, Crank. Myself included. Quaker? I can't figure them out yet or why that was my top. Also, I'm still a bit disturbed by the fact that I'm 35 and still don't know much about my own beliefs. Oh well, I guess that's pretty much me though....undecided and confused. Oh yeah, and mix that with a nagging sense of guilt over something I've inadvertently done or not done, and you've got a pretty accurate description of my life in general.