Ruminating On: Religion and Politics

Ah, religion and politics, the two things you shouldn’t talk about among friends. So why is it that we seem so drawn to do just that? If we know that our views may butt heads and risk tarnishing our relationships, why are we so adamant about being heard? The simple answer is because we all would like to believe our opinions are the good and just ones. The harder answer to accept is that we all know, at our base levels, that we might be wrong. I will be going over factual information as I see it. In other words, my opinion. Your thoughts should go into the comment section below. I listen. I read every comment I receive and respond 99% of the time. If you’re comment is nothing more than, “Great post, E,” or “You’re a darn fool, E.,” don’t expect a reply because all I can say is either “Thanks,” or “I told you so.” Give me something to respond to; I beggah’ya!

We’ll start with religious text because this is where I’m going to lose you as a reader if you’re easily offended by beliefs and views that do not coincide with your own. Pick your text of choice; be it Bible, Koran, Book of Mormon, whatever, just pick one. They’re all the same to me. That is, they are all the word of your chosen deity as perceived by man. Assuming your god, or gods, are the real and true thing, they are not the ones who wrote the book that guides you. Man did. “But, E., my god(s) directed Man to do so!” Okay, once again, let’s say that is true. But who translated it? I have a King James Version of the bible sitting in front of me. There is actually a disclaimer within the first few pages that states those who transcribed this version may or may not share your own personal beliefs. The publisher did this for the same reason television networks add the statement, “The views of this “so and so” may not be the views of this “blah de blah.” to all infomercials. They’re covering their own rear-ends in case something hits the fan legally, or, in most cases, someone does something the viewers will not agree with. Now, if you’re text is thousands of years old, you certainly do not hold the original document in your hand. If the original text even still exists somewhere, its probably in a museum, out of your reach. Sure, your god(s) may be infallible, but Man is not. We are creatures of error. This is why, no matter what religion you believe in (but especially with the Christian bible) there are so many different ways of viewing the same stanzas. Because of this, thoughts are based on allegorical writings that may not have meant anything, much less the concrete belief structure you have set into place surrounding metaphors and similes. Could a burning bush be a copse of red and orange Fall vegetation? Yes. Could someone have lit their pubic hair on fire? Maybe not, but you can always assume. I know if I caught my crotch ablaze, I’d hear the voice of God, too. Here comes the argument that I’ve been building to. The Bible is the greatest selling book of all time because it inspires hope, teaches of a hereafter, of meaning. That’s all religion is, my friends, a comfortable place in which to reside before you take your final breath. As far back as Man can be traced, we’ve believed in something bigger than ourselves, because in not believing we see our existence as minimal, or completely useless. Religion spurs hostile debate because no one knows the real answers and nobody wants to believe we all just simply turn to dust. Christians argue with Christians all the time. You have many extremes (The Westboro Baptist Church is one that comes to mind) that believe God can’t stand us hairless apes, yet they’re reading the same bible as the ones that preach love and kindness and forgiveness. How can one God be all these things? Because people choose to believe He can. And nothing stirs a good debate like belief. One last thing about religion. Ever play the game of Telephone. You stand in a line and a person at one end whispers into the ear of the person beside them, then that person passes the message along to the next, and so on until it reaches the other end. The last time I played this game, the starter message was, “A man in a car drove to Toledo.” There were seven of us in line. By the time the message reached the last person it had become, “A mantra drove a torpedo.” That is the best possible analogy for religion that I have found. By the time the message reaches the end, it will be far different and will make much less sense because human beings were involved.

If any of you are left, we’ll now turn to politics. Who created politics and why? Once again, Man, Man, Man, and also, Man, ad infinitum or nauseum if you have a weak constitution. But why? Why does Man seem to need a government body? Ah-ha! Because, once again, we need to believe in something greater than ourselves. In a way, politics might have been created to bring us all together. Of course we all know that’s far from the case nine times out of ten, but I firmly believe whoever created the idea of government had the best of human intentions in mind. Politics is just as touchy a subject as religion for many of the same reasons. Beliefs and fallibility. Everyone wants to believe that their views are correct, when in fact they’re just blind to what makes them wrong. We humans have an insane talent for looking the other direction when someone challenges our beliefs. We don’t want to hear any clear, concise debates proving us to be in error. What would happen if we all just thought for ourselves, kept to ourselves and minded our own business! We will never find out because of politics. All politics boils down to is this: The crowd feels that their throng is not being treated right and would like change, so they put someone in place to enact said change. Well, there’s always a group that will disagree. Because we’re humans, and that’s what humans do. We. Fucking. Argue. We’ve been brainwashed into thinking that if our belief structure and our governing bodies were to just disappear (see reference: Anarchy) that society would just fall apart. Why? Are we all a bunch of rapey, murdery, robbing thugs that can’t act civilized without some sort of theological reason for living or some set of court mandated rules? Because that’s what we’re assuming. We theorize that, without religion and politics, our better judgment would vanish overnight and all would fall to chaos. I, for one, have a stronger faith in humanity. We’re all frightened of change and revolution and being only just ourselves. I know we’ll always look to religion and politics for answers – I’m not so jaded that I believe we should all just throw away our indoctrination – but maybe, if we could stop being so terrified of proving ourselves wrong, we could find the change we all want.

Belief in yourself is strong; it builds passion and new ideas and creativity and lust for life. Religion is what we seek because this all ends. Politics is what we hold onto while we’re still alive to save us from ourselves. One another is what we reach for when times get bad. Mistakes are how we learn. Being wrong is a splendid thing because we chose to take a chance. Never stop questioning. Never settle. Don’t believe everything you read. And more importantly, don’t share your politics or your religion unless you’re ready to be challenged.

In summation: I don’t want less government or religion because people seem to need both equally. I would only like for you all to see that you’re going to be wrong, on both accounts, because in either matter, facts rarely come into play.

E.

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5 thoughts on “Ruminating On: Religion and Politics

  1. Oh dear, E.! How can I resist?! What I have to say is not intended to belittle or in any way critise another’s belief in their religion. It is purely my own personal thought and experience so far. I was brought up to believe in God and Jesus, not in a strict overbearing way, but in a low key, God is good kind of way. I had a short phase of attending Sunday school and learnt hymes and prayers during my school years. As for practicing faith though it was simply something you learned and accepted blindly. I only went to church on special occasions and even then, not with my family but with teachers. I was more of the ilk of thanking God if something good happened and praying for help if something bad happened. My mum never hit us and rarely shouted at us. She was a wonderful, kind and loving person. She was so lovely we never wanted to do anything wrong and if we did, the look of hurt disappointment was enough to make it that we didnt do it again. The odd time she would say that God was watching us if we we’re naughty and in my case it worked in influencing my behaviour. For a time at least, (I was a complete rebel once I turned 16 even though I still believed in God. I think my point here is, religion had a fairly mild effect on my emotional development compared to a lot of other Christians. Even from a young age though, I was drawn to the mystical. Native American philosophies and the supernatural and magic. I had a vivid imagination and learnt about these things mainly through books. Also through the limited tv program’s of the time, which I think played a massive part in the ‘education’ on these subjects on my generation. There was no Internet then so I for one was happily drawn in to the beliefs around me and that I came across. All these beliefs sat comfortably along side each other until I reached my late twenties. Looking back I was so naive and more closed minded than I thought I was at the time. My belief in a Christian God was still my main stay. I remember the day I stopped believing in God vividly. I was in fact devastated to think that God didn’t exist. My only thought was what’s the point then? It took me ages to accept I may have been wrong all my life. I never realised until that time how hard it must be for some from a very strict religious back ground to change their views. Even mild religious teachings taught to children influence their thoughts on the world. Extreme views on unproven philosophies are in my opinion harmful to the mind. I respect the rights of others to practice what they believe but only if it is not forced on to others and is not used as an excuse for bigotry, violence, wars, pain and suffering. Unfortunately all to often that is not the case. Countless lives have been lost or ruined in the name of someone’s God. Children have been abused by the very people representing God. People are denied contraceptives and catch aids because religion forbids birth control. Same sex couples are vilified and treated like outcasts in the name of religion. There is nothing anyone on this planet could say or do to me that could make me think that treating people in this way, is a Godly thing to do. That it’s right. Because it isn’t. It’s wrong, wrong, wrong. I have my own private religion now, one I’ve adapted to suit me and that I believe is morally acceptable. I do post Buddhist quotes on Facebook a lot. I’m not trying to convert people, I’m not even a Buddhist myself. I post them because I like them and I personally find them inspiring. I lean more towards the meditation side which is proven to be good for both physical and mental well being. I also truly believe that kindness is my religion. I like to think I am a kind person as much as I can be. Kindness in my experience is the greatest thing to give and receive. Iif you take the main ingredient from all the major religions you will find they are this; Be a good kind person, do unto others as you truly would have done unto you, love thy neighbour and if you can’t love him at least let him be. Be thankful for what we have got and don’t do any harm. That’s it. You can scrap all the rest of the words. To me they are pointless. It doesn’t matter who said this or who said that or what you are supposed to believe. Of course it will never be that simple. There are billions of people in the world with varying degrees of religious fervour. As we speak there are wars and atrocities and unfairness being committed in the name of God, all around the globe. As far back in history as you can look its been this way. Even Druids and ancient ancestors acted cruelly to their own people. Nothing’s changed really. Not in that sense. All we can hope is that because of our knowledge of the world today things could change for the better in the future. I truly hope so for the sake of our children and grandchildren. Also there are non religious people who commit atrocities too. It seems to be ingrained in certain members of society. I will continue to learn with an open mind as much about my world as I can. I will always try to be kind, I don’t always succeed but I do try. This doesn’t make me a goodie two shoes. You can be nice and kind and still have a laugh. See the funny side of things, be a bit naughty, hell do all sorts of things, so long as you don’t purposely hurt anyone in the process. Or embarrass anyone. I believe in the power of the mind, in the energy of the universe and in the goodness of human nature. It’s always been good verses evil, be it religion or in ourselves. We have to hope good will always triumph. We can’t really do anything else. I’ll leave politics for another time. I’ve not got much to say on that subject. I’m lying of course. 😉

  2. For the love of Ewen McGregor, that was one hell of a riff, Audrey. You know I agree, but I think you managed to touch on some key topics I left out. For one, the atrocities of war in the name of god(s) appalls me to no end. A bunch of “My invisible man is right and yours doesn’t exist,” is what most of that rubbish is. Another side, though these aren’t your exact words, is how similar God and Santa Clause are. Once we figure out that Saint Nick isn’t real, we’re heart broken. We’ve been lied to and that always hurts. But then we grow older and we realize that Santa Clause does exist in his own way – in our hearts an actions. At least, it did for me after I had kids.

    Well put, as always Audrey Carden. I do love your comments. 😉

    E.

    1. Thanks E. I actually restrained myself! I had sooo much more to say! I agree about Santa. Then there’s the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny…. But used with good intentions. As you say, Santa always lives on in a hearts and minds, because Christmas really is a ‘feeling’. A special time like the Winter feasts of old. Just as goodness lives in us. I’m off again…. Thanks for letting me ramble, I feel like had a good old work out! Ahhh, I feel so much better for it! 🙂

  3. Hi E. I know I’ve said probably far too much on this subject but after reading through my comment again, there are a couple of things I would like to clarify. The first one is that in no way am I anti-religion. I’m only against wrong deeds committed in the name of God. We all have our own Gods to which we turn in times of crisis, and until it is proven that one of these is the true God then none of us can say we are right or wrong. I do in fact wish I was more religious in a sense as I still love to sit quietly in a church at times as they are beautiful peaceful places. I also pray at these times. I know this sounds contradictory but it’s true, I do. I also love Jesus. The man he was and the kind things he said and did. Sorry if I sound like a complete oddball but although I personally follow religion in a formal organised, man made sense doesn’t mean I deny or lack respect for others that do. Although there are a lot of nuts out there, there are also millions of lovely caring people from all religions. Peace and love.

    1. I have a saying, Audrey. If you take the word “religion” out of the phrase, “religious nut,” you still have a nut. Religion doesn’t make one crazy, as you say, crazy makes someone crazy. 😉

      E.

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