Sabbath Manifesto

shabbat pictureOne of the religions that has always inspired me and has a host of wonderful religious practices is Judaism. One of their primary practices, and probably the reason for the survival of their culture during 2000 years of Christian persecution, is Shabbat, the Sabbath. The Sabbath, beginning at sunset on Friday evening and ending at Sunset on Saturday evening, is the most sacred day of the week for the Jewish people. On this day, the whole family gathers for a special meal, candles are lit, prayers are said and a special meal is eaten. They are forbidden from doing any work on this day as it is a day of rest. It is a time for religious practices, for spending time with friends and family and for celebration.

As a Naturalistic Pantheist, I strongly believe that we can learn from this practice and adopt it to our own needs. In fact, there is already a movement called the “digital sabbath” or “secular sabbath” growing in popularity. With internet addiction becoming a growing problem and our materialist, ever connected, consumer culture wreaking havoc on our social lives and on the environment, perhaps a “Pantheist Sabbath” once a week could do wonders for our relationships, our personal lives and the environment.

But how would it work? The Sabbath Manifesto project has set out 10 guidelines for a modern Sabbath, whether secular or religious. These are –

  • Avoid Technology
  • Connect with Loved Ones
  • Nurture your Health
  • Get Outside
  • Avoid Commerce
  • Light Candles
  • Drink Wine
  • Eat Bread
  • Find Silence
  • Give Back

Using these guidelines, I believe that Naturalistic Pantheists can create their own “Shabbat” celebrations, perhaps weekly or perhaps on full and dark moons? And we can take time out to both give ourselves, and Mother Nature, a rest. What do you think?


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