Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Blogs, Religion and Bumper Stickers

Some blogs can be disheartening at times.

Rednaked Woman recently came out of the closet and admitted something she doesn't normally "mention in polite conversations". She admitted that she is a Christian.

Why the hesitancy? She says "See I avoid saying it cause I don’t want to be associated with those people. For years I told every one I was an atheist just so I wouldn’t be thought of as one of them, those nosey judgmental bible thumping freaks."

Whoa! Hold on. Don't assume you know where I'm going. Stay with me.

Another young lady has a blog entitled "I Have 2 Belly-Buttons -- Just one of the miracles of being BORN-AGAIN".

In a recent post she takes Christians to task. As I read her post I must admit that she has some valid points. My interpretation of her post is that she sees Christians (or is that christians) as frozen, static, deaf, mindless and uncaring. Sadly, many people agree with her.

But, let's not limit this to Christians. From my experience many religious people are open to the same challenges.

I've seen a bumper sticker that reads "I'm doing my part to piss-off the religious right". I applaud this person's honesty and boldness but it's not a constructive statement. The statement is divisive and destructive.

I believe we all have a responsibility regardless of our religious persuasion -- Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Athiest, etc -- to find ways to adhere to our beliefs and values without causing a religious war which is a very real possibility. If you doubt this I would encourage you to read history.

I think the solution to this is love. No, not Hollywood's mushy, gooey, imitation. Love is not an emotion. Love is a value statement. Love is a verb. It's something we do regardless of how we feel.

Do you doubt this? While growing up my children did some things that made me angry. In the moment I didn't feel very loving but I did what needed to be done. I valued them. They were important to me. I loved them. So, I controlled my emotions and did what was best for them.

Bill Moyers speaks of the possibility of a religious war and the need for active love in a recent address. I enourage you to read it. He ends with these words. "But just as the Irishman who came upon a brawl in the street and asked, "Is this a private fight or can anyone get in it?" we have to take that love where the action is. Or the world will remain a theatre of war between fundamentalists."

Where do I stand? All people are my children. I have Christian children and Muslim children and children who are Athiest. I'm angry with many of them now because they are fighting and destroying hope. But, I'll control my anger. That's what love demands. Rather than giving in to my anger I'll control it and look and work for solutions. I have no other options.


Blogger George Breed said...

Excellent Post! Thank You!

10/13/2005 02:38:00 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

The problem seems to be that our beliefs and values are hard to maintain once we accept a religion. I even find this myself despite the fact that I claim to have no religious beliefs! Any belief system, religious or otherwise, becomes a shackle of one sort or another in my view.
My guess is that we have to be wary of belief systems and instead try to connect, however feebly, to that which transcends them. This is why I meditate - not that I am particularly successful at it!

10/13/2005 03:08:00 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

Rob, my personal position is that life is evolutionary -- we change with time. Rather than being shackles, belief systems should serve us in the present but they should change as we change. As we age and change (and hopefully grow) childish beliefs should give way to more mature beliefs.

I have some basic bed-rock beliefs that I can't imagine changing or abandoning. An example is reverence for life. However, I drop old beliefs when I see their weaknesses and I adopt new beliefs when I discover their value. Most of the time I refine my beliefs.

The problem with many religions is that they advocate an extensive detailed static belief system for all regardless of age, education and life experiences. The belief systems are handed to us with the stipulation that we accept them, advocate them, protect them but not change them. For me, this is nonsense.

Most of the religions that I'm familar with use fear to their advantage. I've experienced Grace and am now immune to this manipulative fear. Though it's a slow process, it's easy for me to refine my beliefs. I find it relieving to say "I was wrong".

I plan on writing more about this in future posts and would like to get your responses.

10/13/2005 07:09:00 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

I am vaguely aware that I am still affected by the Christian programming that I received as a child.The trouble is that most of it is buried so deeply that it is very difficult to remove it. I remember a cranky neighbour pointing at me threateningly and saying, "Jesus is watching you the whole time!"
Incidentally I was not advocating abandoning one's belief systems so much as suggesting that there is something within that is far more trustworthy -listening to that ensures that one continues to revere life. In my view belief systems, while they have their uses, are relatively superficial.

10/14/2005 01:39:00 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

Rob, I think we're saying the same thing.

You're right -- belief systems "are relatively superficial". In my opinion, beliefs must be a part of us. If we 'accept' them and hold them mentally then they aren't really internalized and a part of who we are.

Also, I think you are 100% right when you say "there is something within that is far more trustworthy -listening to that ensures that one continues to revere life". I feel that inner something when I say I'm immune to the fear broadcast by many religious groups. I'm not unafraid because of mental beliefs. I'm unafraid because of an inner peace and an inner guide.

10/14/2005 03:11:00 PM  

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