Sunday, January 03, 2010

Religion And Me

Since I've made a couple posts slamming theocratic impulses lately; I thought I ought to give some kind of back story so the color of my views is clear. I do not practice any religion, though I was raised in a fairly liberal version of Christianity. I have read the Bible cover to cover several times, Old and New Testament. I have read some of the history and teaching of several other religions. I don't practice them because I find their exclusivity and narrow rules contradictory to the idea of a Creator Of Universes. Real frankly, I don't find the faith of atheism that there is no god any more appealing than the faith that god writes the rules these religions adhere to.

I understand the difference between faith and reason and I have no problem with the practice of either or their melding. What I do have a problem with is the application of faith to others not concerned with it. I will not pretend to tell you anything about your faith or lack of it. I am quite willing to state that the words that are written down may contradict your version if you make it an issue with me. Since some sort of Christianity is the most common religion in this country its practice gets the lion's share of my criticism - that and it is the one I'm most familiar with.

Despite the radicalism and theocratic impulses of some people, religion has benefited a whole lot of people; they live better lives for it. One can take the excesses of any religion and the warfare and destruction waged under its cloak as definitive of that religion. That's scarcely honest. The fact that Catholicism participated in the Inquisition doesn't speak to Catholicism, it speaks to the misuse of religious power as it does with Islam or any other. The very fact of faith makes religion an extremely potent force and any time there is power available someone will go for it. That is about some people not the thing itself.

I don't find myself the least constrained in criticizing the spreaders of hate and the advocates of theocracy - whatever their religion or lack there of. If you do that I will cut you wide and deep. Brit Hume would be an asshole and jerk if he were an agnostic but when he tries to cover his jerk-itude with something as respectable as religion he's given me a huge green light to mock him unmercifully - right along with his employers.

My respect for you doesn't depend on your religious views, it depends on your behavior.


Phil said...

"My respect for you doesn't depend on your religious views, it depends on your behavior."

Amen to that! And I say that without any religious overtones.

Micgar said...

Chuck-I agree with you here-vehemently! As a non-religious person, I find it despicable when religious people couch hateful, meanspiritedness, and even racism with their particular brand of religion. I actually would have a teeny bit more respect for someone who didn't care about the poor, free speech, supported war-making as opposed to diplomacy; without using their religion as a basis for those beliefs, than someone who says that "their" god tells them so. I am like you-as long as you don't try and hurt me (or my country) with your religion, I am ok with you.
I know lots of people who are quiet and private about their religion say that their practice is good for them and assisted them in times of crisis or need. Its when religion is the justification to hurt others, make war, and take away freedom, then those purveyors of religion will have a problem with me.
Thanks for a great post!!!!