Our perception, and faith, is not measured by what we say we believe, but by how we behave in the world around us. We, as individuals, evolve by a pattern that is easily extrapolated to communities, societies, and civilization as a whole.
- Paganism – When we are toddlers, regardless of what we may say, we are all pagans finding mystery and magic in everything around us. There are monsters under the bed, pixies and angels in the forest, and imaginary people walking around everywhere.
- Polytheism – As we grow up, we learn more about our environment and the magic begins to disappear. We become polytheists who see all the adults in our lives – parents, teachers, grandparents, and so on – as masters of our world. Everything we do is about the adults in our lives; pleasing one adult, avoiding others, lying to some, and manipulating others.
- Monotheism – By our late teenage years, one adult remains as the one with the most power over us. It is usually a parent, but it does not have to be. Sometimes it is because they are the voice of our doubt and insecurity, and sometimes it is because we aspire to be like them most.
- Atheism – Eventually, we all rebel against this one adult as we try to overcome the doubt and insecurity, or complete frustration of not being able to live up to the standards we set for ourselves. It is a brutal phase where we battle ourselves and everyone around us.
- Ipsotheism – When we finally stop fighting ourselves and simply accept responsibility for who we are, accepting that we are no different from our parents, we become ipsotheists. We see all those experiences, good and bad, as necessary lessons along the path of our unique lives.
(Ipsotheism is a word I made up for this.)