My apologies to those that were accidentally offended. The moral of this story is never to write on less than four hours of sleep.
SLIGHT CORRECTION AND REBUTTAL
Firstly, I’m hoping I’m interpreting the comments correctly. Secondly, I hope what I had to say came off correctly.
I wanted to go into specifics, about how, for example, Catholics have a certain culture of attending church, the Days of Obligation, like Ash Wednesday and seasons like Lent and Advent that separate them culturally from other sorts of what is otherwise the same religion.
Compare that to the Southern Baptist folk who spend almost their entire Sundays at church in some kind of study, and then go home to humongous family suppers.
Have you ever met a Korean Southern Baptist? Religion makes a culture as much as the behaviours of people in the region in which you live, meaning that it’s as much a part of your life as your local climate, and growing up with a religion, whether you believe in it or not, makes certain notions stick in your behaviour forever. This behaviour has a very little to do with belief, which cannot be measured by a second or third person.
With that in mind, I can say I’ve never met a converted pagan that didn’t behave as a Christian would. This could be a learned response to avoid culture shock or ostracism.
Londo: One of the prime drags in Catholic doctrine, which I proved I don’t believe since high school, is that whole ‘we’re the only way to salvation’ brag. They are not alone in attempting such a claim, but theirs is one of the stronger ones. Because of this, you are indeed given the impression that there are no other fish in the sea, that it’s not okay to think any other way, and that you should just listen to the homily and everything you need to know about life will be there. This dates back to a kind of social control practiced in the Middle Ages, the likes Jesus probably warned about.
Religions fascinate me. I wish it was easier to talk about them without people getting offended or instantly angry. When I was an older teen, I put myself on a kind of quest to study as many of the world’s religions as possible, because thanks to a Joseph Campbell book a friend showed me, I was convinced he was right- most of the world’s religions are in fact so similar that they are one in the same- and I decided to go through them all and figure out what was right (the path to enlightenment/salvation) and what was probably wrong (insert stuff we hate about our churches growing up here) for myself.
There is no scientifically empirical evidence that Jesus was as important as most of the folks that wrote about him say, though there are little pieces of evidence that show that he was alive once and existed. (You know that big wall that separates England from Scotland? Roman soldiers built that… It is said Pilate’s soldiers built that- he was sent as far as they could move him from that part of the world to make sure there’d be no political unrest there.)
Something about which you are uncertain is called doubt, and when you recognize the doubt and believe something to be true anyway you have faith. Faith and doubt are not bad things.
Orientals say that people who cannot percieve the divine are ignorant, and when you recognize the ignorance and seek to be cured of it you are enlightened. It’s not that different really.
lazarusrat: Does anyone in your family keep a shrine? Most of the older women in my mother’s family do. The only thing each one has in common is that Mary is in the middle and there’s a shitload of candles everywhere. Ever seen that sort of thing?
It is said the dominance of Mary worshippers in places like France and Spain (and the places these people’s decendents would eventually end up, like Puerto Rico and Mexico) is because when Christianity was imported there, they leaned towards it as side effects of their original matriarch worshipping behaviour. If my point hasn’t been made yet, these people continued to practice the same religion with different characters in place. If you have any folks that pray to saints, you probably know what I mean.
If you lose your car keys and say a little prayer for some spirit thing to find them for you, you aren’t much different to me from my mother who would say a little rhyme to St. Anthony. Changing the image to whom you pray doesn’t really mean much to me, the same function is served.
I understand now, though, why you don’t like to talk about religion or politics.
I’ve already said that I like to know that my friends believe in something, and aside from an episode with some dude saying he was a fox in a previous life, I usually don’t 100% reject things that other folks say they believe.
In Linus Torvalds’ “Just For Fun” (which I’m also not Currently Reading- I read it about eight months ago) he says some stuff about how Americans are very uptight about certain subjects- in Finland you can talk about gun control or abortion over a beer, it’s no big deal.
However, I also know that the zeal that generated the GNU project is the same as the zeal that causes friends to split up over thoughts on abortion, or how important Jesus is in your life.
In a way, I can’t win.
Everybody feel free to keep commenting, and comment on the other part of the post too, where I talked about Indi- I mean *clears throat* Native Americans.
This is the point in the evening where I watch the opposing team play basketball while the Bulls… are on TV.
See you next time.