Many choices in life are such that in choosing one thing, one must give up the other. You cannot have both. If you try to keep both, you gain nothing. There are decisions that entail gaining one thing but forsaking another. Sometimes, you can reverse your decision. Just as often, you cannot. If you reverse, you still have to give up one thing to get the other.
Recovering alcoholics are an example here. They have the choice to drink or not drink. For them, there is no “partial drinking”. The same goes for Recovery from other problems. There is no middle ground. It is either all or nothing.
Religion is often a matter of choices. People may get confused because of the eclectic nature of the New Age. However, the New Age is little more than light versions of esoteric, metaphysical and occult teachings. It is “pop religion” for timid people. The reality is that in choosing one path, a person may have to forego many others. While the diluted teachings of the New Age make it seem that all the teachings are compatible, the facts say otherwise. You cannot be a Native American Shaman + Old High German Runecaster + Hoodoo Potion Maker + Kaballastic Numerologist all in one. Each of these things requires a single-minded devotion. Choosing one means that you will have to forego anything more than superficial interest in the others.
There was a woman who claimed that she was both Christian and Pagan. She had bundled together parts of Wicca and parts of Christian and Biblical lore. In fact, she was neither. Christian and Jewish belief both demand singular adherence to the Biblical doctrine. Their own commandments demand that they have no other God. Paganism answers to the spiritual and physical forces of Nature, not a Church doctrine nor a scripture. Trying to be both means not being much of either.
This is not to say that you must jettison all the things you learned along the way to your current spiritual path. All lessons are valuable. You may be able to do some of the old things without a conflict. Still and all, there will be a time that you must make a commitment.
Many have tried to cobble bits and pieces of spirituality together. They dabble in one and the other, but never commit to any one. Such people coast across the surface, blown hither and yon by their own whims and the crossweave of Wyrd. At some time, a person has to commit to one thing and give himself time to get good at it. Once rooted in one tradition, he has the means to better appreciate the others. He can then opt to stay where he is or move on to something else. The difference is that he has learned and grounded himself. He has developed understanding and ability.
We all have stood at the Crossroads, needing to make a decision. Often, it takes time before one feels sure enough in which path to follow. The obvious thing is that only one path can be chosen. You can tread only one road at a time. You may turn back and opt to try another road or you may continue on the one you choose. Either way, you can only tread one path at a time. Choosing a path means not taking the others.
And no, boys an girls, you cannot be Heathen and Christian at the same time. Choosing one means foregoing the other. They are incompatible.
It pays to get grounded in one system to the point you understand it and can apply it. You need not become a high-ranking initiate or expert. The important thing is to know it well enough to explain it and use it. Do that, and you will have something most folks never get: consistent results, experience and understanding. From that point, you can stay where you are or move on to something else. The difference is that you will have already established yourself with a good foundation for future work.
Where I grew up, the dominant denominations were traditional Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopal and Dutch Reformed. They may have used Bible passages in their liturgies, but the Bible was rarely quoted in everyday life. The closest anyone came to that was catechism class as a child. Even then, the quotes were not held up for us to repeat.
Things were different when I was stationed in the Southwest. It was a different kind of Christian religion out there. The major influences were Fundamentalist, mainly Southern Baptist. I ran into people who would make a point by quoting a phrase from the Bible. They apparently felt that the Bible quote added verity to whatever they were trying to say. Mostly, they reinforced their whims with a quote. Indeed, any fool can find a quote in the Bible to support him.
Orthodox Jews, especially the Hasidic and Litvak, are also bound to their scriptures. Most of the men would rather spend all day studying the lore than work a regular job. They seek a scriptural precedent for whatever is on their mind. The strictest among the Orthodox make everything they do gibe with the scriptures.
I get the impression that those who like to quote scripture in everyday life believe that doing so empowers them. Actually, it diminishes their validity. The quote is a crutch to support their own words. If anything, it shows doubt in one’s own ability to express himself. Rather than relying on his own word and his own authority, he has to borrow authority from somewhere else. Ironically, those who do not accept the authority of his scriptures find such quotes nonsensical.
An adult should speak for himself. Quoting an authority, religious or otherwise, undermines his own validity. There are limited circumstances when a quote may be acceptable, but I find that in most cases, they are not. Maybe the religious quoters think their own words are unworthy and they need Jesus or someone else to speak for them.
Before you quote any spiritual text to emphasize a point, ask yourself if you are not actually giving up your power. Speak for yourself. When you accept the validity of your own words, you speak with the authority of one who knows. When you quote a scripture, you cede your authority to the book you just quoted.
After all, who makes your choices: you or a book?