I’m agnostic, should I be walking the Camino?

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The question was:

I consider myself an agnostic, from a catholic family. I have agreed to join my Uncle on his journey.

He has been travelling from Le Puy in several stages. He was travelling with a friend who can no longer continue. The last stage, for which will be joining him is from Santander, along the northern route.

I am doing the journey for several reasons; firstly to accompany my 73 year old Uncle and because i believe i will simply enjoy the journey, the countryside, Spain’s food, culture and north coast. I’m very much looking forward to it.

Am i wrong for contemplating this journey? I will obviously respect other’s travellers faith, but I am a little anxious about undertaking this journey as a ‘non believer’.

I’d appreciate your opinions & advice.

Read the advice given by other pilgrims on the topic of being agnostic and walking the Camino de Santiago.

 

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Posted in From the Camino de Santiago forum
  • Graham

    I have limited religious faith and enjoyed walking the Camino primarily for cultural reasons. However, this did not exclude having a spiritual experience – it’s difficult not to be affected by the trip. Enjoy and Buon Camino.

  • JaneofNorwich

    People walk the camino for many different reasons. Many aren’t catholic and many are agnostic or atheist, but all are pilgrims. For some Finisterre is the destination rather then Santiago de Compostella and for many both destinations are equally important. What I found was that no one really talked about religion or faith, though some people went to the pilgrim services and others didn’t. People did talk about their own reasons for walking the pilgrimage which were many and varied and often to be companions to others who had chosen to do it.

  • stefan

    don’t worry, most of the people i talked to were non believers (including myself)…but that’s not a common subject of discussion anyway.the camino is the best place to feel free,in all the senses

  • my hoboes

    Hello “agnostic”,- there is no such thing as an agnostic, because the truth that agnostics seek in the knowledge of Yeshua is only a diviation from the real truth. Agnostics usually start out as atheists + on the way “became” agnostics. But fortunately the road does not end there. It all changes, when you get baptised in the holy spirit, which is the next stage after the socalled agnostic stage…Remember what happened to Saul before he became Paul? You should indeed walk ALL the caminos, frances, norte, via de la plata in order to find truth that exeeds all knowledge, but it means to genuinly seek + read the word+ pray,- if your intellect+pride permits you to to “humble” yourself to that degree. I promise you,- you will find the truth + the truth will set you free,- it happened to me + it will happen to you if “knock” hard enough …Yea,- knock on heavens door…happy camino+all the blessings…..

  • Leolo

    I DO NOT believe in god, and I walked the Camino Francés. It’s all about experience, I may not believe in god but I do in spirit. Not in a catholic way, to me spirit is the real essence of people, something you cannot explain but you can feel. And I can assure you, the Camino de Santiago makes your spirit bigger, greater, and will open your mind (if you want to. I meant, if you feel you need to walk on your own, do it. Walk alone, you and your uncle will meet at the next albergue).
    Being free, my friend. That’s is all about.
    Buen camino!

  • kea

    Yes, agnostic or not, it is an incredible experience.

  • Laura Basanta

    Absolutely go. The caminomis whatYOU bring to YOUR Camino. It is amazing meeting people from all overthe world, Saturating yourself in the Spanish culture (& food) and having an amazing adventure with your uncle. whatwe found on our Camino is that The Way will show you what it is you need to be shown, go with the flow! or me walking along the Roman Road was amazing and unexpected pleasure finding this history. The flowers, people, land, farms, towns were all wonderful, to named few things and we saw things you would never see without walking…Buen camino

  • Felix

    I’m an atheist myself and have been to the camino to times already (did the north route from Gijon – quite humid and rainy, almost like a jungle – but incredibly beautiful), and I’m planning to return for more.

    There are people walking with all kind of beliefs, and though it’s actually a christian pilgrimage, no belief of any sort is required (okay, perhaps you need to believe in yourself, but that’s it). You don’t have to partake in any religious ceremonies, and noone will question you about your religion or critizise you for not believing in one.

    From a sports point of view, it’s one of the most developed possibilities for long distance hiking. People are friendly (and why not – you’re a tourist and bring them money ;-) ), you can use all of the facilities with your credencial (pilgrim’s passport), even sleep in monasteries (I stayed in Sobrado dos Monxes, very nice, strange feeling).

    It’s a great experience to to a degree give up modern belongings, needs and standards and to be reduced to more primitive, basic needs (water, food, place to sleep,…). Given that you walk without iPod etc., you’ll undoubtedly end up with thinking about yourself, your way of life, decisions past and upcoming, or maybe you’ll think about something completely different. But you’ll be taking something home with you, maybe new friends, experiences, pictures, simply having had a great time.

    I for my part found out that I was able to be more open in discussions/conversations with total strangers than I’m able to with family members/people in the “real life”.
    I don’t know where you’re from (guessing USA for no reason), but in Europe religion is not that big of a topic.

    Do the camino, experience yourself, maybe learn something you didn’t already know (about your uncle or yourself or…?) and have lots of fun.

    Buen camino.

  • Ruby Slippers

    oh YES, you should go. It will be YOUR Camino. Every person and every experience is unique and you will be glad that you did.

  • Ron

    There are no rules about who should/shouldn’t walk el camino. In my own experience, it was rare that anyone asked why or said why they were walking. If that comes up, you can always say something like, “I’m walking for my own reasons.” For me, being agnostic means being open. I went with an intention in my mind and heart, which I didn’t share with anyone, but with an openness to experience whatever came my way. El camino was one of the highlights of my life. This is a wonderful opportunity to be with your uncle.


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