The Middle Path; or, “Religion… Ur doin it wrong!”

So, I was thinking about religion, and how bizarre it really is. On the one hand, I see all these people who claim to belong to this or that faith, but who clearly don’t have any real grasp of what their given faith is actually about.

It almost seems to me like, if you’re going to be religious, and you aren’t a fundie whackjob, then you’re doing it wrong. If you aren’t going to cleave to the precepts of your chosen religion completely, literally, and without compromise, then what’s the freakin’ point?

On the other hand, if you are a fundie whackjob, please go somewhere else, because you’re scaring me and my friends with your crazy talk.

Is there a middle path?

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~ by oberon the fool on January 15, 2009.

2 Responses to “The Middle Path; or, “Religion… Ur doin it wrong!””

  1. I think about this a lot when I’m on OKC and looking at people’s profiles that have religions listed, but also say “laughing about it.” It seems odd to me that you can identify with a faith (and say you are a belonging or practicing member) while at the same time not really believing in it at all. I’m not sure what they’re trying to express – like, “I was raised this way, but I’m not anymore?” It sometimes annoys me. When I think about it. But it’s probably habit. One that a lot of folks don’t question. Just like they don’t study their own religions to find out what it is that they’re supposed to believe. Is that dangerous? Signing up/on for something you don’t even really understand to begin with? Or is that just another component of faith?

    It goes along with that show I listened to about religion (I forget whether that was TAL or Radiolab), where the evangelist preacher started studying the Bible and religious history/tradition and found himself believing the opposite of what he’d been preaching (and consequently lost his following). I’m fascinated by that. And impressed. I wish there were more people who educated themselves similarly.

    So, I think a middle path would be saying broadly that you’re Christian (maybe encompassing a lot of viewpoints up to and including Jesus being an important prophet/messenger – the resurrection and the miracles and transubstantiation and the son of god being other particulars you could throw in). Or Muslim (which seems a lot stricter to me for some reason). Or maybe just spiritual (in that you have some religious beliefs but they aren’t necessarily enough to make up an actual religious community, or you haven’t spread your net of proselytization far enough). And then there are some religions which, to me, seem less dangerous – like Buddhism.

    And…it is now late and I must rest. *rests*

  2. This post was inspired by exactly the OKC phenomenon you mention. Except in my case it’s the ” and serious about it”, with a profile full of profanity, sexual references, etc. Not that I have anything against profanity or sexual references, as anyone who knows me can attest. But I know they are frowned on, if not forbidden, by most organized religions. I personally don’t think that a supreme being would care about those things, but if you’re going to join a faith that says the supreme authority does care about those things, how do you reconcile your behavior with your beliefs?

    It was TAL that that story was on. It was pretty interesting, yeah. I respect that guy a lot for taking on his beliefs on the intellectual plane, and studying the scriptures of his faith until he understood them in context. Maybe that is the middle path.

    I’ve heard that a lot of would-be priests lose their faith during seminary, when they are confronted with the blatant inconsistencies of the bible, and cannot reconcile them. I dunno how true it actually is, though.

    I think, and this may be a dangerously ignorant thing to say, but I am nothing if not dangerously ignorant; that as a rule, christians are less likely to kill you for straying than muslims. Not that muslims are all violent or crazy, but that there are more violently crazy muslims than christians; in large part because I think there are just more muslims, statistically, in the world.

    I meant to look up, at one time, if there were atrocities in history committed by groups that are traditionally thought of as either victims (Jews) or peaceable (buddhists), but I don’t remember if I ever got around to it. I’m willing to bet every creed, culture, and country has some black marks on its human rights record somewhere.

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