My latest post was a review of Markos Moulitsas new book American Taliban. Although the point I was trying to make was society’s inability to hold ourselves to the same standards we require from others, I believe in Latin its called hypocrisy, the diary itself sparked a discussion about religion in general. Not growing up with religion, I’ve always found the concept of faith in God to be a fascinating insight into the human thought process. So I want to open up the discussion to just religion and see where we end up. First, let me tell you about my experience.
My paternal Grandmother was a faithful churchgoer and she was content to be the sole representative for the family every Sunday to reserve our place in Heaven. That is the extent of my exposure to religion. It seems the mainstays of most religions are universal, love your neighbor, don’t steal/kill/lie/cheat, etc. I didn’t need the Bible to teach me right and wrong. I believe in live and let live and the idea that if I don’t adopt your particular ideology I’m going to burn for all eternity, just doesn’t stick for me. I am pro-choice and anti-death penalty. I believe in same sex marriage because if someone is lucky enough to find a person they want to build a lifetime with, who am I to tell them they can’t just because I’m straight. I believe borders are arbitrary and in a perfect world we would recognize that we’re all human beings regardless of where we were born and we all deserve to live without fear of arbitrary arrest or unlawful prosecution. In other words, I’m that bleeding heart liberal can’t we all just get along types that your mother warned you about. But after 20 years working in human rights and 10 years in politics, I’m also a realist.
I have the deepest respect for those who know the difference between religion and faith. Those who practice true faith represent the best of what God teaches. Those who act as they wish 6 days a week and think their sins are washed away every Sunday are the posers who hide behind the concept of religion. I don’t intend this diary to be any kind of judgment on what you believe. Religion is a very complicated and personal choice and if it helps you to be a better person, more power to you. I recognize the powerful hold religion has on a large number of people and not being part of that influence, I am anxious to learn why that influence is so universal and can inspire such joy and such hatred. So I’d like to open the discussion with the many questions I have. I’m just going to list them and feel free to answer as many as you can. This is strictly for my education.
What did religion teach you that you couldn’t learn from the people you choose to make part of your life?
What religion are you and how did you become part of that belief system. (i.e. you’re Catholic because your parents were, you married someone and converted, etc.)?
Is your faith a guideline for your decision making or is it an absolute?
Do you feel your religion is the true religion and those who follow other belief systems will suffer consequences? What and why?
As a religious person, what are your thoughts about Jehovah’s Witness and others who feel they need to recruit new followers to confirm their own faith?
I know these are really deep questions and not likely to be summed up in a blog comment. But I really respect this community and I feel comfortable sharing my ignorance on this particular subject. And I love starting discussions. So in the immortal words of Linda Richmond sitting in for Paul Baldwin, discuss.