Religion, like politics, is hard to write about from a global perspective. Religion is, and should be a deep personal experience. Notice my chosen word, not belief, not faith, but experience. If religion is based on faith alone, the bond between one’s belief and their God is lacking a needed personal daily experience. That bond for me is steeped in the spiritualism of life as in, my wonder of the universal being. You know, the ability to be awestruck as I’m watching the Milky way weave through the clear night sky or perhaps feeling a sense of oneness with nature as I watch a leaf blowing across a country road, calling out the end of our summer days.
I try not to write about religion because of that deep seated personal respect I have for religion and the belief systems of people around the world. More, I just have a general respect for the beliefs of others whether I agree with them or not. Of course, there’s also some truth that every time I write about religion, I piss someone off, usually a good friend. For some reason, if you ask a question, the question is taken as an attack on their faith? If you disagree with their point of view, it’s an attack on their faith, if you question a recent biblical archaeological discovery, it’s an attack on their faith.
My takeaway, people of religious faith yell and stomp their feet demanding I respect their faith yet give my belief system no credibility. They fail miserably in giving me one iota of respect for my beliefs while demanding I bow to theirs, and it’s getting to be old hat.
I’m getting tired of the religious ilk playing the victim card.
Now, the above said. I also know people who are deeply, spiritually religious, meaning that their faith is one of experience, open to questions, to debate and the pursuit of knowledge. While I might not agree with them, I respect them and their beliefs religiously.
There is a huge difference between having faith and having a personal experience with your faith. Having a personal experience means that one’s essential being, who they are as a person, comes from having that personal experience that is based in a certain spiritual relationship. A relationship that is free from the context and trappings of organized religion. Not that, that context is a bad thing. It’s not, in fact, those trappings of organized religion serve to benefit humanity in the form of social justice, community, and as a central belief in the goodness of man and woman. These are not evil things! Yet they become evil when the spiritual oneness of whatever God you choose to believe in, is missing. They become evil because without the accompanying spirituality, the closeness of God, they become hollow facades behind which people hide and yell, proclaiming the greatness of their god and the belittlement of all other beliefs.
I find little actual religion in those hollow voices. They are not who they claim to be and when they stand before their God, they will be standing as who they are.