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Discussion 1 to Meditation 233
Identifying Your Religion

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Re: Meditation 233

I want to know what religion I am. I don't believe in heaven and hell. I believe in reincarnation or something similar. I also think that the spirits and ghosts are all around us. I think that the world is all a balance and I'm also interested in wicca. What religion am I?
An email message dated 9 January 2005

I suppose it should not surprise me that the Church of Popeye did not stop people from writing me with this sort of question. So let's try an provide a little more guidance for the lost ones.

First of all, take a test.

Belief-O-Matic is possibly the most well known. In a mere 20 questions it does a reasonable job of classifying individuals beliefs. Be sure to note that it asks you to classify the importance of each question to you as well as provide and answer. There are a number of other quizzes on Belief Net which might help you in your spiritual search.

The California Polytechnic State University offers a set of six online tests designed to measure your religiosity and or spirituality. If you do them all, you'll be answering about 250 questions. They don't tell you what religion you are, they just identify which aspects of religion are important to you. And probably the results are less important than the thinking you do about your beliefs in order to answer specific questions.

Secondly, just do some basic research.

Go to one of the search engines or web directories and identify the web sites that cover the aspects of your beliefs which are important to you. Google, Ask Jeeves, or the Religion & Spirituality section of the Open Directory are all reasonable resources. For example, searching on "wicca, reincarnation, ghosts, spirits" (per the above question) on Google yields a little over 20,000 sites and a reasonable answer for our correspondent is probably available in the first hundred.

Quite simply, there is no reason for anyone to have to ask me what his or her religious orientation is. Nor an reason for me to have to reply to such queries with anything but a link to Meditation 233 and discussion.