Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thoughts on religion…

In the world religions that I have studied, members are not supposed to treat people differently because of their financial status, social status, ethnicity or place of origin.

According to religion, people are basically the same, wherever you go. Oh, they may have a different way of doing things than you do, but they still want the same things that you do.

Safety, for themselves and their families
Clean food and water. And enough of it.
A way to provide the necessities for themselves and their families.
A way to provide for their children to not have to suffer the hardships that they did.

The list goes on, but you get the idea.

What I found most confusing, is that people who are considered the most fundamental in their religious group, don't adhere to the basic tenets of their faith. They are very good at the letter of the law - the dress and prayer codes, but not so good at the spirit of the law - how others/new people are treated.

I have both experienced this, and watched it with others. What is very funny (strange) is that many groups spend a lot of time and money to proselytize/evangelize the 'unsaved', yet, when they 'get' someone, they are not welcome at the church of the people who 'saved' them!

How do you know this?

-- New people come in to the meeting place for service, no one talks to them, and members whisper and stare.

-- No one finds out anything about the new people directly; it is gossip and innuendo.

-- They are not invited to anything going on at the church; if they are, it is a last-minute thing, so they can't attend without dropping everything else.

-- There is no teaching or discussion outside of official church functions; I have noticed that there is a spiritual hunger among people to *integrate* spiritual teachings into day-to-day living. This does not happen at churches that I have been to/observed.
After service, it is discussions of the latest movie, or soap opera, or hurtful gossip.

-- Newcomers are expected to know 'the code', without any exposure to, or explanation of it, and are punished when they break it, no matter how innocently, and are not told *why* they are being punished.

It saddens me, because, no matter what you decide to become a part of, whether it is a religion, or a club, you will need some guidance from senior, more experienced members of said group, to avoid committing faux pas, or breaking the unwritten 'rules' of the group.

Instead, what I have seen are minefields that you would have to be a mindreader to get through, because when you make an error, you are shunned, or ridiculed. And the overt racism that I have seen would be enough to infuriate even Mahatma Gandhi.

*NOW* I understand why religion specifies that this must not be done... it is because human nature will do it, even with a strong prohibition not to (just look at the adultery/fornication thing, eh?).

Now I also understand why many people are anti-religion, because of the abuses that people have seen/experienced.

It is because their 'religion' does not line up with what they do. And that is why those whose spiritual path and behavior line up are so rare.

Know something about this that I don't? Is there a (good) reason that this kind of stuff happens? Am I crazy? Let me know! Comment below!!


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5 opinions on this post:

richgold said...

I'm in a mixed-faith family. DH is our "heathen" I'm of a particular faith persuasion.

I've got two siblings who have followed a fundamentalist route to mixed "success".

DH and I discussed this particular issue on a regular basis, because it comes up. I find there are a lot of hypocrites who call themselves members of a particular faith group. I also find there are a lot of prejudices against ME because I label myself from a particular faith group.

I do try to lead more by example (regular acts of kindness to those around me, being generous when I can, exercising patience when differences are encountered), as does DH.

DH regularly comments that it is the fundamentalisms that provoke fights and wars. It's this believe that one is right/versus one is wrong based on literature that was written at a different time and place.

Through our vivid discussions, we've come to some understandings that yes - it's people's interpretations (good, bad, right or wrong) that do cause disagreements.

In the end, we all are human. We all have foibles. If we could just be a bit more patient, wouldn't that help?

Just Jen said...

You are absolutely right!
I think I'm the only Christian in the area that doesn't attend church cuz I don't want religion...just God. Skip the crap go to the source...anyway, got side tracked...I was just stopping by to wish you a good Christmas!

LaVeda H. Mason said...

@richgold:

I know exactly what you mean! Patience is definitely called for, all the way around!

@jen:

LOL!! Remember, Religion ≠ Spirituality!!

Merry Christmas to both of you... don't work too hard :-)

Anonymous said...

Religion is retail. Sometimes you catch a sale, but someone always has to pay for the help...

LaVeda H. Mason said...

@Anonymous:
You know, that's exactly right!! The problem is, the help doesn't always get paid :-(.