Walking West – Religion

Day 13 – Atapuerca to Burgos, 17.62 miles

The dark walk up and out of Atapuerca.
The evolution of man, or the path to enlightenment, is somehow related to 1€ draft beer!!
The plazas are the best part of any big city, this place was lively later in the evening!
The courtyard inside the cathedral.

No matter what one’s motive is for walking the Camino de Santiago, the Camino itself is a religious path. Still, many people on the Camino are reluctant to acknowledge its religious aspects. Pilgrimage is a ritual of all the major faith practices (religion) – Christians have Santiago, Rome, and the Holy Land. Islam has Mecca, Medina, and the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Buddhists have pilgrimage sites in Nepal, India, and all over the Asian continent. For Hindus, the big one is the Kumbh Mela, in which throngs of people travel to the river Ganges in hope of blessing.

Religion has gotten a bad rap over time, and in many cases, rightfully so. There have been atrocities committed under the banner of all religions. What is not reported are all the worldwide good deeds done in acts of religious devotion. Religion is just a thing and is neither good nor bad. It depends on how it is used by the human being (i.e., the Pope, an Archbishop, a Mega-church Pastor, a Yogi, a Monk, the Dalai Lama, me, you…)

Religion has been a part of my entire life and I have a love/hate relationship with it. One of my goals for this Camino (a pilgrimage, a religious act) was to reconcile all the religious happenings of my life and to develop a better relationship with it.

The ideas of this reconciliation had been percolating in my head throughout the journey, they began to take shape in Burgos. I’ll write more about this later, don’t want to clog this blog with those ramblings. Part of this thought-cloud is about the inconvenient reality of grace, which rears its head farther down the trail.

There’s not much to commend the walk from Atapuerca to Burgos, it’s routine, but it was made quicker by a couple of good conversations. One with a guy from Colorado, we shared a lot of common ground. The other with a very arrogant (self-confessed) man from Seattle who found humility on the Way. These walking conversations make the hours seem like minutes and the kilometers like meters.

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