What’s in a Label?

For me, being a spiritual person is second nature. Having been raised in the Catholic church, which I have long left behind me, I have always had room for God in my life, even when I thought seriously about becoming atheist. But, like Neil deGrasse Tyson, whom I very much admire, I have no room for labels. I am neither Christian, Buddhist, Atheist or Wiccan. I am Heather and I call myself a Child of God. I think posts like this are very hard to write, because with a blog called Primal Zen, you might think I’m Buddhist. The truth is, Zen is a call to simplicity. I like my life and the things and people in it, to be as far from complicated as possible. The diversity of life on Planet Earth is very complex and, like human relationships, things can get messy, which is why I like to challenge myself every day, yet leave room for time to think, study, learn and acquire Wisdom. I love science and in fact, I devoured the entire first season of the new Cosmos (hosted by Tyson) in one week. Now, I’m onto Through the Wormhole. Astronomy has always been a love of mine. As a child I used to lie down in the snow and look upward at the night sky, wondering where I fit in this great big Universe. I would also wonder if maybe, since no one seemed to understand me and my teenage angst, if I was, perhaps, an alien from “out there.” I got my first telescope in my 20’s and I remember getting up enthusiastically at 4 a.m. in the morning to peer out at Venus. The same year I got my first telescope I was introduced to the work of Carl Sagan by way of the movie Contact starring Jodie Foster. How odd that she should mention Pensacola, the place where I lived, in the first 15 minutes of the movie. Many years later when I was suffering so much emotional turmoil that I spent 8 hours a day reading book after book on evolution, philosophy, and science I read Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, a book by Sagan and his wife, Ann Druyan. I am currently reading it again, for it left a great impression on me the first time around.

So, I got a little miffed at Cosmos creator Seth McFarlane for purposely interjecting Tyson’s dialogue with a definitive slant toward atheism, yet, Tyson insists he is, if he were pressed to call himself something, agnostic. Which brings me to this interesting video I found today in which Tyson talks about how Atheists are so adamant about their, well, atheism. He says, (and I’m paraphrasing here,) “I’m not a golfer, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to organize a “non golfer” group. I don’t have the time or energy for that.”

And, he’s got a valid point. I honestly don’t care what spiritual path anyone else is on, which is why I don’t see how people find the time to organize sites like Ex-Christian.net (a site I used to frequent when I was really mad at God.) I think if we all picked something we were for instead of rallying around and getting into heated arguments over things we’re against, then maybe, just maybe, we could all stop fighting so much. If we could pool all our collective energy into solving one of our biggest problems right now- greenhouse gases- rather than uselessly trying to convince others that our way of thinking is the correct way, perhaps our species might not be responsible for its own extinction.



2 thoughts on “What’s in a Label?

  1. Rebecca Russell says:

    You bring up some excellent points, Heather! I’m also a huge fan of Cosmos, and appreciate learning about the variety of subjects it explores. I’d never read Shadows of Our Forgotten Ancestors, so I’m adding it to my book list! I, too, often puzzled over how to respond to, or deal with, friends and loved ones who tended to label the glass as half empty. One day, I mentioned this to a wise friend. His response to me was, “So it’s not okay for people to have opinions that differ from yours?” Since our preferences and inclinations differ, the lessons differ. But, in the end, all paths lead to the same place!


  2. Pepper Culpepper says:

    Hey Rebecca!
    I’m so glad you read this post and left a comment. I agree that all paths lead to the same place. During the summer of 2012 I took World Religion and it was such an eye opening experience. I learned that Hinduism is the oldest world religion. I had no idea. I also learned about Sikhism, a very complex path, but those who follow it are very devoted people. I hope to learn much, much more from those who have traveled before me. One of my favorite verses from the Bible is, “In all your getting, get understanding.”

    Love and Light,



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