Minimalism is not my Religion
Ok I think it's time we get something straight. I am a Minimalist, yes, but Minimalism is not my religion.
Religion is a dirty word for many of us. It conjures up images of fanatics, of people so zealous in a singular belief that they have caused wars and left a trail of devastation in their wake. History warns us about the zealot. It teaches us the danger of religion. It is still a major cause of much division within our society and within the wider world too. I sometimes wonder if this negative side of religion will always scream louder than any of the positive things faith can bring to people's lives.
This is probably why I would never call myself religious. I do however have faith, and call myself a Christian.
Maybe my Christian faith, and my personal experience of being raised going to church every Sunday, is why I am even more wary of Minimalism becoming a sort of religion for people.
Hearing prominent people in the Minimalism movement being called "leaders" and "founders" sets alarm bells ringing for me. I respect what "The Minimalists" are doing as much as the next person but they are not the next Messiah. They offer amazing advice for anyone interested in breaking free from "stuff", however, (and I'm sure they'd agree with me here) they offer "a" way not "the" way.
That's one of the amazing things about Minimalism. It isn't one size fits all. There isn't a holy book, one set of guidelines that aren't to be wavered from. No initiation, no entrance exam. No magic number of possessions and then you're "in". You want to be a Minimalist? Great. That's the only requirement. You can't fail at it because it is not a religion, it is an idea, a mindset, a way of challenging the societal norms we have been conditioned to see as the only way.
Consumerism has tried to be a guiding light for far too long, and it has fallen short for so many of us. So we pick up the beacon of Minimalism, and try to illuminate what really matters in our own lives. We say no to more, and learn to be content with what we have. We question things others have never thought to challenge;
"Why do I want that?"
"Do I really need that?"
"What value will it bring?"
"What will it really cost me?"
Questions a capitalist society would rather you didn't ask. But by doing so we open ourselves up to a far richer life than can ever be found in a store.
All of those questions will have very different answers for each person asking them. Where religion would try to find you one answer, Minimalism tells you to find your own answer. Embrace Minimalism by all means, I can personally vouch for it's life changing abilities, but be wary of the Zealot, it isn't the only way, and it is definitely not a religion.
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