“So what is the best religion?”
There´s a question people will fight wars over. Of course I couldn´t answer it.
One day a fellow Londoner had arrived at our hostel, and after talking about my degree in English Literature and Philosophy, he decided to ask me what the best religion is. I was surprised by the question, partly because ranking religions was not a part of my degree, and partly because I didn´t expect this guy to ask it. He was a skinny chain-smoker, covered in tattoos, and dressed in a tracksuit and hoodie that was unnecessary considering the heat. He looked like he would happily burgle your house for heroin money. But after talking to him for a few minutes I could tell he was a very nice guy who had just chosen not to adapt to the superficial culture of Colombia.
“I don´t know what the world´s best religion is, but I think it´d be nice if people worshipped the Earth like the olden days.” I answered
“In Peru it´s kind of like that – I think they call her Pachamama.”
It was the first time I´d heard that name, but would continue to hear her mentioned in every country I´ve visited up to now (currently in Bolivia and have been part of a ceremony for Pachamama where she was given tree bark, cigarettes, coca leaves, baking soda, and “Indian whisky” – she definitely likes a good time).
For me, Pachamama represents Mother Nature, which is close enough. I think there are more complicated interpretations, but this one works for me. I wouldn´t say it´s the best religion, but it seems as valid as any other. And is more necessary in a way. If all remnants of Christian, Jewish and Muslim history and beliefs disappeared tomorrow, we´d probably still get along just fine. If nature disappeared, humanity would swiftly follow – probably the reason I felt worshipping the Earth would make a valid religion.
Plus, Pachamama doesn´t seem to get worked up about homosexuality or eating shellfish or pork or drinking alcohol or how inherently bad human beings are, which makes a pleasant change.