What is it about some people and their ultra-right-wing religiosity and their insistence that everyone around them convert to their chosen faith? Not only is it inappropriate, it’s downright annoying!
I have my religious beliefs and I hold them very dear to me. However, I am not one to preach to all who possess ears and even go on to subject people to my lectures, all in a social setting. People who are supposed to be friends come together for a meal, for conversation, to relax and enjoy, not to be harassed into submission about someone’s born-again rants.
I find also that many people have become so preoccupied, even obsessed, with the rituals developed around a religion—for Catholics like us, it’s the masses, novenas, benedictions, adorations, processions, or devotions as they call them, that they have lost sight of the essence of what a religion is supposed to be. We all know that many of the rituals are borne from the need for a routine, influenced by customs and practices that a group, a tribe, or order, can relate to and understand. Many practices were borne out of necessity as identified during some bygone era, where say, there was no running water or where the “pagans” believed its cleansing effect would ward off bad spirits, as in the act of baptism. And in order to colonize and Christianize a newly discovered land and its people, one guarantee for success is to adapt some practices into the ritual that the locals can relate to.
What happens when the rituals lose their significance to you? And you go through the motions, be physically present, but your mind is thousands of miles away? What happens when the sermons have become too simplistic, too mundane, uninspiring if not irrelevant?
And then you’re faced with the ugly truths: The church turning its back to thousands of children molested or raped during their childhood by priests, resulting in troubled lives growing up and into adulthood. This went on for years and the powers that be have known the dirty secret all along. The church actively funding the movement to disallow equal rights for gays and lesbians. (I can understand if the Church disagrees but to actively interfere in state or federal proceedings?) The church stretching its interpretation of conception and the function of contraceptive agents so as to disallow it while the rest of the world starves and dies and they bask in their wealth at the Vatican.
There’s the ugly truth about Islamic extremism giving license to take lives in the name of their god, the persistent disrespect of women and children, the twisted logic of family honor that reduce people to chattel, or the arbitrary rules to discriminate against particular ethnic groups. I could go on and on with the other religions and the hypocrisy.
Don’t get me wrong. I am respectful of traditions. I may not necessarily believe in them but if someone I love or care about wants me to participate, as long as it does not violate a human right—for a man, woman, child, LGBT, or any minority, I can participate. I can go to church to commune with someone I care about. I am present for them. When I enter a mosque, I will remove my shoes and respect those who are worshiping. If someone is burning incense in a Buddhist altar, I will burn incense with them. But all this is just fluff compared to the real deal.
I am also greatly opposed to religious groups using religion to create their exclusive groups, their “cliques.” If you know what these are all about, you’ll know that they come about driven by fear. And so a whole bunch of fearful people get together and talk themselves insane about their fears. So they insulate themselves with their self-righteous goodness and espouse their mission to save and to protect those that need it. Voila! Now you have a religious group, possibly fanatical. And then they proceed to commit acts of inhumanity in the name of their gods. Think Waco, Texas and David Koresh. Think Jim Jones and Jonestown. Think Warren Jeffs and the child brides. Of course, these are all extremes that have tragic endings. What about those around us that are less flashy and dramatic? Same banana! They are all elitist groups meant to exclude, with a huge price tag for membership–you, your life, your soul.
Let’s go back to the annoying friends who decide that an evening with them means you will be evangelized, whether you agreed to it or not, whether you were forewarned or not. One course of action is to call them on their beliefs. Ask them to tell you the deep philosophical existential socio-deistic significance of it all, whatever that means. They might just realize they don’t have all of it together. But, that would ruin your evening of relaxation.
Or, you can look them in the eye and ask, “If you’re so sure of your faith, why do you need me to validate it for you? If you’re at peace about it, keep it to yourself.”
- Religion and it’s Effect (andersonissues.com)
- Question Authority (beyondbelief.wordpress.com)
- Outsourcing Religion (awitchylife.wordpress.com)
- Religious People – The New Arianism? (patristicsinmotion.wordpress.com)
- Deleterious Religions (viewsfromtheoortcloud.wordpress.com)
- The Scrubbing of Religion From Public Life (obpopulus.wordpress.com)
- Other Religions and Churches (thedistinctdot.com)