A link symbol  Neocities has been getting more and more drama-ridden by the day, I feel. People being exposed, then the people exposing THEM being exposed, and whole communities falling apart because of it...! Well, I'm over it!! So, today, I want to talk about a subject that nobody EVER gets mad about online: religion!

Yeah, okay, obvious sarcasm aside... I've always had a complicated relationship with religion. I talk about this on and off on this site, but, in case you haven't run across me talking about it yet, I was raised in a small, very religious town in the Southern USA, by very Christian parents. (My mom quite literally ran a church.) I was a devout Christian, aaand I'm sure you can guess how the story goes from here. I'm a by-the-book queer; one day, a God-fearing, straight-A good little Christian kid, and the next, an anarchist boygirl bislut atheist with pink hair and pronouns. (This is what transsexualism will do to your kids!! Shock, horror, etc.)

But, obviously, this transformation didn't happen overnight. And growing up queer in a religious community and in a religious family is so uniquely traumatizing. I won't ramble for too long, but for my whole life (even before realizing I was queer), I made myself miserable for the sake of God. I considered myself unworthy, and inherently sinful. Dirty. Not to mention the atrocities that others would commit around and even to me, with God as their justification.

All of that, and more I won't mention here (for fear of getting too dark), I'm still healing from now, so many years later.

So, yeah, not a great start with religion.

When asked what religion I subscribe to, I say I'm an atheist (as I did earlier), because that is the easiest to explain to someone shorthandedly. Also because, where I'm from, if you say anything even remotely like, "I'm open to the concept of religion," people will immediately start frothing at the mouth at the chance to convert you. So saying, "Yeah, I believe there is no God or gods," is the easiest.

That being said, to claim I hold no religious beliefs is untrue, technically speaking. I've always been partial to Paganism and witchcraft, ever since introduced to the topic. I have a whole digital grimoire, actually. I don't know if I believe in any Pagan deities, per say, but I do believe in the power of thought and belief. The very act of putting energy into something, like rituals or worship, imbues it with meaning and, in a sense, gives it power. A sort of spiritual take on the placebo effect, I suppose. So I guess that I don't really believe that crystals and herbs and such hold the qualities that witchcraft says they do. But I do believe that, by adding them to one's life with the intention of it bringing certain qualities forth, one will begin (intentionally or not) to embody and feel those qualities more, because of the power of belief over the mind.

Not exactly how I think I'm supposed to think about witchcraft, if I want to be a proper magic-user... Plus, I only really have that digital grimoire I've mentioned. I've done hours of research over the course of years now, but I've never actually applied any of it except for 2 or 3 attempts at very basic spells (like warding and protection spells). Because of this, I don't really consider myself a proper witch or Pagan or such... Maybe, once I get out of this stuffy Christian town, I'll be able to experiment in the craft a little more, but for now, I still consider myself largely an atheist over a Pagan.

I believe in misc religious theories. I don't believe a God or gods exist, but I do believe that believing in one makes it real, in a sense (as talked about earlier). Reincarnation is a big one. I believe in the multiverse theory (the theory that there are infinite universes for every possible outcome), as well. That's usually considered more scientific in nature, but I view it as a part of my religious beliefs.

That's the end of all of my "normal" beliefs. And it's now that you notice that this article isn't done yet. And it's now that you remember the mention of being interested in otherkinity on my about page, and a feeling of dread overtakes you.

Well, how I view alterhumanity / otherkinity related to my spirituality actually, more or less, all directly correlates with the "normal" religious beliefs I've talked about already. The multiverse theory proposes that there are infinite universes for infinite possibilities. So, in theory, there are universes which are identical, and almost-identical, to the ones presented to us in media. Reincarnation is multidimensional, so one can go through multiple reincarnations across multiple dimensions (including fictional ones) before arriving to their current life. Obviously, it becomes easier to remember a past life when it's directly being played out in front of you, so people who are reincarnations of characters tend to only recognize that life when presented with this information. My belief that believing in something makes it real, in a sense, is also why I feel a connection to merchandise of characters from my kintype's sources, and why I can feel physically ill if one gets hurt. (Specifically, I remember feeling a sense of dread when my Sylveon plushie was being chewed on and torn up by my dog in the other room, without knowing why I felt like something bad was happening. Bede moment.)

So, all of my 'whatever you say, go take your meds'-type beliefs are based in more normal ones. They're just applied to pop culture and media.

Whenever religion is tied to pop culture or has roots in the modern age at all, it tends to be seen as stupid, and, to be honest, I don't think I understand why. Maybe I'm just an autist, but the creation of fiction-based religions and spiritual beliefs is an inevitable part of a society where identity can be found in fiction, I think. Other religions are considered 'valid' and 'real' because, what? They've been around for a long time? Christianity is considered the base standard religion because of its age and the seriousness with which it is practiced, and all other faiths are compared to it. But is that really fair? Why can nothing sacred be born from the modern age? Why is one fictional text so much more ridiculous as a basis for a religion than another?

Or maybe I really DO just need to take my meds. Who's to say?

"Can one not faithfully reproduce sacred words on a website? Why is one artifact less sacred than the other? Am I missing something here, or is parchment really more sacred than a monitor? A quill more sacred than a keyboard? A candle more sacred than an electric light?"

- Christopher Partridge