« Flagged | Main | Adam »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I'm a religious Jew. very religious. Chassidic. We keep every rule and then some. You'd find my way of life archaic, but it's full of beauty and happiness. I keep the Sabbath, I keep family purity, eat only kosher, and keep secular culture out of my life. You can't call me a hypocrite :) (Hey, I shouldnt be on the internet then ;) )

Maybe the more interesting question is why are the "purists" attractive to you? What is it about set rules that you find more valid than less rigid faith systems? I like to think there is room in my faith for doubt. I believe the so called "rules" and "rituals" are just different paths to spirituality. I've come to think "rules" should not be rigid. Usually religious rules are created out of complicated historical tradition. To me, that doesn't make them beyond our ability to question. There is a difference between convenience and serious critical thinking about religioius practice. It is also "convenient" to simply follow rules because you are told to. It is easier not to think for yourself if the church, synagogue, mosque .. tells you what to think - to me - that is the conveneint path.
As always, thanks for food for thought. Love your blog.

I am a very secular Jew, and don't stick to the rules, so I guess I'm in no position to pass judgement on what other Jews do/don't do. Why then does it annoy me so much that my in-laws will not allow non-kosher meat into their house, but will eat bacon and eggs/pork sausages if they're eating out? There are plenty of other religious 'rules' that both my in-laws and I don't observe (e.g we don't keep the
Sabbath), but this one really gets my goat.

First of all, I think it's interesting that I think you're going to get a lot of Jews commenting on this post. This probably has to do with the fact that Judaism is a very rule based religion and the decision as to what rules must be kept and which are no longer valid/no longer necessary to keep is at the crux of all of the rifts that exist between all of the Jews of the world.

For the most part, what stream of Judaism you belong to is determined by what rules you feel are necessary to keep and why, and what rules you feel may be questioned . The streams run along the spectrum from you must keep everything with no questions as to whether they can be changed (all of the rules in the bible as well as things that Rabbis have decided along the years), to you can change things as long as you can find textual basis, to you can change any of the rules you want if you find it is no longer applicable to your life. There's lots of stuff in between but that's the general gist.

Homosexuality is actually a real sticking point for Jews who say you can change things but only with textual basis (i.e. Conservative) mainly because of all the laws it is obvious that it no longer is appropirate in our lifestyle to descriminate against homosexuals. At the same time, of all the laws it is the one with no loop holes what so ever. What's written against homosexuals is in the old testament and kind of unchangable (religious law wise) unless you just start picking and choosing what to practice. Basically it just indicates the slippery slope you can fall down, and as a result lots of people are stuck there. Though I must say your unconstitutional argument is very valid (you're not allowed to do anything that breaks the law of the land as well). Hope someone figures that one out soon.

Hope this wasn't too long winded. This issue is pretty much the bain of my existence. I live in Israel where I must co-exist with lots of Jews with lots of different beliefs. And sometimes following the law to the letter comes before love thy neighbor.

In persuing my degree in History I have found that no religion comes out of the gate packaged in its total, dogmatic form as seen today. Take Christianity for example. Out of the Jewish tradition, Roman structure and the teachings of one man, his immediate disciples and those who came after, Christianity has mutated into DOZENS of different rites, sects, communions, whatever term you want to use. Greek Orthodox priests are allowed to marry; Roman Catholic are not. During communion, one uses leavened bread, the other unleavened. Church A follows the first four church councils, others the first seven, and so on. There are a myriad of differences between them (and other Christian churches) and each has their dogma and what constitutes being a "rigid" or "pure" practicioner.

But it didn't all start that way. It changed. It evolved. Why should it stop? If we're going to draw a line in the sand and say follow all the rules in use at this particular point in time in order to be a pure follower, where do we draw the line?

Frankly, as long as it is thoughtful, in my opinion religions have an *obligation* to evolve and change with the times. I think the situation in the Middle East today would be a perfect example of why change is necessary.

There is something to be said for constancy but not to the point where it stifles positive growth.

Excellent comments so far

Yes, evolution must take place, that makes sense. But how should it happen? who drives it? does politics play a role, should it?

I think change will come from all levels of a religion. Religious scholars and religious leaders know a lot about their religious doctrine, where it has been, where it is going, the state of their religion today. Their wisdom on how best to keep the religion alive in the changing world and cultures will be very important, but so will the local and individual level. Some congregations or individuals will start abandoning things as no longer practicable or perhaps they will just come out and say it is no longer in step with the spirit of their religion.

Part of the problem is change is often coming about from the bottom, and with much struggle. Religious leaders shouldn't be accepting of every little change that comes up the pipe, but I wish they wouldn't be so resistant. But really, that's just human nature for pretty much any issue you'd care to bring up.

What's wrong with it being convenient? My own take on my Judaism - following certain things (Friday night and festival dinners with my family, challah and wine, etc.) while not following others (kosher, etc)- greatly enhances my life, my identity, my feeling of belonging, of having a cultural heritage. If you look at it in these terms, what is wrong with that? For me, it's less a religious issue, and more of a cultural issue. When looking at it in these terms, it promotes far more tolerance. So someone keeps kosher at home, but eats non-kosher food outside - so what? It's how they choose to relate to their cultural heritage and retain parts of Jewish life they feel are important to their identity.

i think religion can be seen as a cultural thing on the one hand, in which case it is natural for it to change (due to whatever factors) and it is natural for there to be some people that are more 'convenient' about it while others are more strict. (just like some people care more or less about national holidays, flags, etc)

on the other hand, there is the question of whether or not a God/gods really literally exist who love us/demand to be honoured/appeased/will judge us for what we do, etc. if there really is a god who is greater than us, then who are we to not do as he says? (the question being, what does he say? i.e. which religion represent God. or do they all?)

perhaps the difference between 'convenience' and 'purist' believers is based on this culture vs 'this is reality' difference.

I'm not a hugely religious person in that I don't believe one faith has gotten everything right because I believe god/the goddess/whatever is so big and huge that human beings can only perceive that imperfectly and through various lenses.

(Also the Bible and even just the Old Testament is very self-contradictory on the surface of it, which is why Abrahamic faiths have some way of grappling with it whether that's the scholarly body of accepted commentary or Papal edict or Protestant interpretation or other processes.)

So I actually find the fact that people give it thought and then choose what they think will enhance their relationship to that in a careful and thoughtful way - whether that's adherence to a particular ancient code, or a very modern take - to be very beautiful.

I personally am more suspicious about people who don't give it any thought and just do what they're told by one particular leader, like a minister in a local church. Having been abused in a religious context, I find unquestioning following really disturbing.

Oh and just to add, our constitution (Canada's) does too, but an individual religion is not required to permit things that are allowed civilly. For example, a Catholic who married religiously in a Catholic Church and then divorced civilly still can't be remarried in the Catholic Church (but can be remarried at City Hall).

The same idea holds true for same-sex marriage or other issues around gays and lesbians - lesbians and gay can marry civilly and can't be discrimated against for employment, etc. But a particular church is not required to perform same-sex marriage or change its beliefs (although they can't preach something like "go beat up gay people" under our anti-hate laws.)

I personally am not one to take all of the bible literally. It was written by man in a very patriarcal society, after all. I think the overall message is what is important...be kind to others, love your fellow man, etc.

I think if you are too strict with your rules, you don't leave room for individual thought and for one to develop their own spiritual path and relationship with god (whichever god you believe in). "You believe everything I tell you or you are wrong" doesn't sit well with me.

I am a convenience shopper. I believe in God, but in my own way. I have rosary beads and enjoy saying the rosary - it calms me, it's meditation, and it makes me think about God. But I'm no longer Catholic and do not follow any of the "rules".

I think that religion is a personal thing. If being part of a traditional church (or synagogue etc) helps your faith, that is great. Some people love and crave the traditions, customs, rituals and rules. Other people would turn away completely from God if this was the case. A prisoner rotting in jail might give up on God if he had to fast on a certain day or give up a particular food or not engage in homosexuality. But that person may still need God. And my way of thinking is that God (or a person's particular God) isn't worried about what we wear or whether we use contraception or not. If God is a kind, loving, and forgiving God - then surely genuine faith, whatever form that takes, is OK? And if it's not, doesn't that mean that there is only one "right" religion? One group steadfastly following the rules are pleasing God and the others steadfastly following different rules must be "wrong"?

I absolutely respect people who do follow the traditions. I'm just not one of them, and I hope I'm worth the same amount.

Great topic, Tertia! And great comments above.

I agree with you. I find that many of my Catholic friends and in-laws pick and choose what suits them. One of my best friends had a child out of wedlock with her husband (I couldn't care less) but she is a devot catholic who insists that homosexuality is disgusting and that gay marriage is wrong because marriage is a "sacriment". Hmmm, funny - she could live with and have sex with her husband prior to marriage but marriage is a holy sacriment not to be tampered with? My MIL and SIL are even worse examples, going into it would mean taking over your comments. I don't mind so much when people take what they want from religion but to be militant about some rules and not care about others - that is hypocritical.

I'm an athiest (well, almost, I can't even be certain about that) but I'm a really good person. So when you get to heaven, will you save me a seat?

Interesting, I feel exactly the opposite! I'm not a religious person, but I do have my own sort of faith. My feeling is: who are YOU to tell me how my relationship with God is to take place? Shouldn't that be something we work out individually? Perhaps the way I feel about God doesn't fit neatly into your bucket, so if you don't mind, I'll take a bit from this bucket, a bit from that, and throw in some of my own as well. Whatever works.

Many people in churches where women are ordained are working very hard to extend religious (not to mention civil) equality to gay/lesbian/bi/trans people, too. Precisely because it's inconsistent not to, and a reflection of human weakness/idiocy/evil, not God's will. Many Christian denominations understand the Bible in light of the Gospels, or (in the case of Catholics) teach the Bible in light of tradition, and so have a basis for evaluating its purposes in light of history. For theologians, it's truly not a case of "pick and choose." There is theological and philosophical reasoning behind the adaptations.

Christian fundamentalists in the USA do not approach the Bible as an historically created document. They take your stance, of accepting every literal word or nothing at all. It's a different approach, and frankly does not work for me (I cannot ignore scholarly insight into the writing, editing, and compilation of the Bible as book(s), I can't abandon my God-given critical thinking skills), but it's consistent in the way you praise here.

It's much EASIER for someone to say, "I don't think you can pick and choose what parts of your religion to follow.", so "I'm not going to believe it" than to actually look into that religion, use some critical thinking skills, and decide what you believe. Just because I am a Christian does not mean I struggle with those things every day.

And in posting that you wonder why some people pick and choose, but you are choosing nothing, and why can't we all just get along - isn't the fact that you are posting this causing more derision?

Often saying "let's just all get along; there is no truth" is an easy copout.

Just a thought.

I am a Christian, and I do follow some basic 'rules,' like those articulated in the old testament's 10 commandments (okay, I'm not so good with the coveting one, that one is TOUGH!), but the thrust of Christianity (that many, SO MANY, Christians do forget--and are very, very uncomfortable with): we are saved by grace, not works. So no matter how many rules we follow, it won't get us to heaven. Grace is an astounding concept and sometimes it does clash with legalism...because you can be full of sin, breaking all the rules, and go straight to heaven because you are saved by grace. People, including many Christians who are really legalistic, are very uncomfortable with that concept. Jesus didn't provide a new law. He provided grace.

I believe what feels right for me, and if I find a church or specific name/group/religion for what I believe, that's fine. If not no biggie, no one seems horribly offended by what I believe (though I am not very outspoken unless I see some major inequality.) Until then I am happy pottering around doing my own thing, and letting everyone else have faith in what suits them.

The main reason, despite finding I have some faith in god, is that I can't feel truly at home in a church knowing that gay relationships and sex before marriage are wrong by their practises. I would feel hypocritical (both to the church, for not practising what they believe, and to myself, for going against my beliefs) to attend a church like this when some of my closest friends are gay, and I am a firm believer in 'try before you buy'

I agree with you Tertia, if you are going to declare yourself a particular faith, you should follow those beliefs and practises fully. Which is why, come the next census I will be ticking the "No Religion" box.

Just because I don't love *everything* about my husband doesn't mean I'm going to get rid of him. Same with my religion. I respect every part of it, but that doesn't mean I have to live it word for word. I live by personal choice and my own decisions, within the framework of my own moral code and guided by my religious community. I'm totally comfortable with that.

When my husband and I moved to DC, we tried to go to a Shabbat dinner with other young professionals and graduate students. We mistakenly showed up at the college Hillel, but the dinner was someplace else. With the sun sinking fast, the woman refused to help us find the location of the dinner because she would need to use the computer. As a Reform Jew, who does not follow the same rules that a Chassidic Jew like Mindy does, I was actually offended that not using hte computer on Shabbat took precedence over helping two Jews who were brand-new to the city find a place to celebrate with other Jews. So although my husband and I do not obey the letter of the law, we try to obey the spirit behind the law. Although I don't keep kosher, I try to be careful about what I put into my body--I'll eat lobster, sure, but I limit the amount of non-organic meat we purchase (because my budget won't let me go totally organic). I don't observe family purity laws because I find them offensive (although I understand that many Jewish women have a different perspective, and I respect that). I observe the rules of Judaism that make sense in my world, and I try to understand the rules that don't make sense to me so I can find a way of honoring the intent behind the laws. Judaism is way too important to me to throw over simply because I disagree with some of the tenets. Mindy and I may not express our faith in the same way, but that doesn't mean that our belief in God and Judaism isn't equally strong.

Thanks, Mindy, for letting me use you as an example here. I hope that's okay with you. Even though I disagree with many aspects of how you follow our religion, I'm very glad that we still have men and women who interpret Judaism as you do. Reform Judaism is definitely the way for me, but the world would be missing something incredibly beautiful if Chassidic Judaism wasn't in it. L'shana tova.

I'm a Christian, follower of Christ.
Some people might view me as "religious," since I am very involved in church and giving, etc. But I prefer to think of my faith as a *relationship* with God, instead of a *religion.*

I agree that many people just pick and choose their *favorite* pieces of several different religions. But just because something feels right, doesn't make it true. Just because someone is sincere and follows his religion to the very last degree, doesn't necessarily make it *true.*

Keep on asking the questions! These are fun discussions, and I especially enjoyed hearing from your Jewish readers. After all, they are my spiritual ancestors.

I'm a Catholic chiming in here. BTW, I love your blog, and I don't mind you asking the question and taking the side you are taking. I'm taking the spirit of your blog and writing the other opinion.

I'm Catholic because I was born and raised Catholic. There are things I like, there are things I don't like. What I do like and what I tell my daughter is that "Jesus was born to show us how to love and treat each other." Not that "Jesus was born to die for our sins." That's totally missing the point. Mostly every part of the Bible, especially the Gospel from the New Testament at church is telling us how to honor and respect our fellow man. Considering I feel this is missing from a lot of the earth, I keep going to church and we bring our daughter to church. I also find great comfort in the format of going to church. The routine and prayers are so familiar, as I've known them all my life.

There are things I would like them to change in the Catholic faith. ART is not allowed to have a child (oops my DD is not from ART, right? It could've happened over the weekend and not from that Friday IUI). I would like priests to be allowed to marry. I would feel more that they could counsel on marriage issues if they have a relationship with the opposite sex. I feel women should be allowed to be priests. Women going into the convent and the role of nuns in the Catholic faith is dwindling worse than priests.

Hope this helps!

I think that a lot of this discussion comes down to truth. Do we believe in the idea of truth that is objective and not subjective. I am an orthodox Jew also, and try as hard as I can to keep all the rules. The reason is that I believe that the rules, which we call "Halacha", which literally means the way, are of divine origin. I may not understand all of them, but if I truly believe that there is a G-d, and that these rules are truly from G-d, then I do my best to follow them and understand them. If it is Truth, then it is not up to me. If it is myth, fairy tale, opinion, then of course, I only do what feels right and good to me. I think that society today is one where people feel that there is no truth, and every opinion has a place to exist. I have nothing against people with other opinions, and respect them and find them interesting. Ultimately though, I believe that my lifestyle is right and true. Which by definition means that I think that other ways are false. Other people with strong beliefs are welcome to think the same thing about me (as long as we are respectful and mature about it, not violent or derisive).
Society today is very uncomfortable with that position, and people feel that they need to qualify--this is true for me, this is right for me. But truth, ultimately, is truth. Is there a G-d or not? There isn't really room for more than one answer. If I believe yes, than I believe that someone who believes no, is wrong. I can respect them, but I still think that they are wrong. Once you come from this perspective, than keeping the rules isn't about our own selfish needs and desires, and conforming religion to what we want and who we are, but rather subjugating our own lives to a greater truth. There is certainly sometimes doubt and confusion, but nobody said commitment and religion had to be easy and convenient.

Very interesting topic you've raised here (and some very interesting responses I'm seeing, too). I happen to agree with you; I can't adhere to bits and pieces of a religion, so I don't adhere to any. I was raised Catholic and I sometimes miss Mass terribly, but I will not go unless I can say every bit of the Nicene Creed each week and mean it, believe in confession and go, believe in transubstantiation and accept the Host. It seems pointless to me otherwise. And I AM someone who has examined my beliefs, and the Bible, carefully, to determine what I did and did not or could not agree with. It drove me mad to ask my Mom about some of her beliefs as a Christian and find that she didn't really know or understand what she was professing each week at church. It's interesting that some people seem to feel judged by your saying this; I have a lot of love for Unitarian-Universalists who freely make their own religion and search for meaning in ways that are productive for them.

I couldn't do it myself, though. I'd feel too much like I was just making it up, like I was lying to myself.

Some religions have a provision for conscience regarding how the faithful live the rules of the religion. Catholicism is one of them. Many Catholics in western countries use birth control, and some of them are convicted that birth control has good uses. Of course there is a fine line between an expression of conscience and realizing that your disagreement is so profound you need to change your views or change your religion. Ultimately that is why I am no longer Catholic.

I am of the opinion that we can no more choose our beliefs than we can choose our parents. There's a mix of personality, social norms, and family influence that's going to effect what resonates with us. I don't think anyone wakes up and decides that they're going to believe in god or guardian angels or whatever else.

That being said, I think it's extremely important to sit down and really sort out what we believe and why we believe it. Are we basing our opinions (and that's what beliefs are, really strong opinions) on evidence? On what our parents taught us? On a niggling sensation in the back of our heads?

Of course, I'm Quaker. We don't have any written rules, but we are always in the process of examining our beliefs and actions. It's exhausting sometimes, but I think it's worth it.

I love the comments just as much as I love your post!

I am a Catholic, though my husband is a Buddhist, and because he was very insistent that I not raise the kids as Catholics, I am "ineligible" for sacraments. I can live with that.

In addition to the circumstances of my marriage, I have a number of views on social issues that conflict with church teachings. For years, I didn`t go to church. I was like ASM above, who wrote, "I was raised Catholic and I sometimes miss Mass terribly, but I will not go unless I can say every bit of the Nicene Creed each week and mean it, believe in confession and go, believe in transubstantiation and accept the Host. It seems pointless to me otherwise." Exactly -- it seemed pointless to me.

And then a little friend of my son`s suddenly died, and my son told me he wanted to pray for his friend. I started taking him to church, to the Franciscan Chapel in Tokyo, where a kindly elderly priest offered to baptize my kids, and I took him up on it.

Fast forward -- we now live in San Francisco, and my kids go to a Catholic school. I am no longer on the outside looking back in, but on the inside, realizing that I`m not a very good fit -- but I live with this.

A friend of mine said something once that resonated with me: "I think it`s most important to lead an honest life." I am nothing if not honest -- I don`t pretend to believe in things I question. I don`t hold myself up as an example of a "good" Catholic, and I`m not even sure what a "good" Catholic is.

I believe that if there is a God, he calls all of us in different ways, and it`s up to us to respond according to our individual circumstances. Faith for some people simply means "belief," but for other people (like me), it means the willing suspension of disbelief.

We all do the best we can. Religion is supposed to help us. That`s all.

Morality in constitutions seems to be a bad idea, because it takes away the opinion and choice of good and bad from individuals and imposes one law on a non-homogeneous group of people.

In my book, frankly, all religions are wrong and pretty useless. The general precepts common to many of them—uh, don't kill people, be a nice person, help those in need—make perfect sense outside the setting of religion, so it's not as if religion or faith in a supreme being is necessary for being a good person.

My sister thought I should please my in-laws and my grandma by having my son baptized, but I figured a couple atheists have no business having a kid baptized. Isn't it a far greater insult to walk into a church and mouth words you don't believe for a second than to just stay out of the church altogether?

"Interestingly enough, our constitution protects against discrimination for sexual orientation, so one could argue that the ban some religions have against homosexuality is unconstitutional and an infringement of basic human rights. Now how do you factor THAT into your belief system?"

I factor that in in two ways: 1 I am a Christain first and an American second. 2 I dont belive that humans have "rights". We are allowed to breathe only b/c God allows it. We are all sinners, every single one of us, and have only been redeemed b/c of Jesus, so no rights.

The picking and choosing that you are talking about (at least for Judaism and Christianity) is actually called "binding and loosing". It is a way to iterpret holy scriptures. "Different rabbis had different sets of rules, which were really different lists of what they forbade and what they permitted. A rabbis set of rules and lists, which was really that rabbis interpretation of how to live the Torah, was called that rabbies yoke. When you followed a certain rabbi, you were following him because you believed that rabbis set of interpretations were the closest to what God had intended through the Scriptures." In Matthew 16:19, Jesus gave his followers the authority to make new interpretations of the Bible. People SHOULD debate and discuss and pray and wrestle and then make decisions about Scriptures, and God will be involved.

The above information came from a book called "Velvet Elvis" by Rob Bell. It is a fabulous book about "repainting the Christian faith". I really encourage everyone, especially people who are/have become jaded about Christianity, or anyone who wants to enrich their faith. Since Christians belive that the Bible is the living word of God, that means interpretaions of it are going to change b/c no living thing stays exactly the same for its whole life :)

YES, Chaya, right on!

Jewess here... reform... more of a cultural thing for me. You know... bagels with nova and the New York Times on Sunday morning..!
Seriously... i pick and choose what is convenient to my beliefs and lifestyle b/c there is no religion that fits my needs 100%, but, i do want to part of some organized religion to keep traditions.
I am highly offended by ppl. who are hippocritical about their religion , for example, the jews who keep kosher in the home , but, not outside. Or, the christians who agree with not having women priests, but, pre-marital sex is okay b/c they justify it by saying they are not perfect...
I say live and let live and mind ur own beeswax about the who , what , when and where of other ppl.'s religious choices.
Religion is a highly personal thing and i believe everyone should take what and how much they want from any religion and can still call it their own.
TOLERANCE is the ticket.

Let me start my comment by first saying that I believe very strongly that whatever facilitates someone having a relationship with G-d, is what they should start with (within logical reason, of course. If murdering people facilitates your relationship, well then...).

That said, I believe in the divinity of the Torah (or bible). I believe G-d laid down these rules and very learned sages studied and interpreted these rules and gave us ways to follow them. If G-d said to do it, He must have a reason, and therefore, even if I don't completely understand why, I will do it.

I don't pick and choose, because religious Judaism is the "community" in which I live. What if I decided to pick and choose what laws I wish to follow in the town in which I live? I don't want to stop at red lights, it's not convenient for me. Or, maybe I'll stop at red lights on the north-south streets, but not on the east-west streets.

If everyone else in the town didn't know I decided to not follow that law, I'd likely be responsible for a lot of accidents.

The laws laid down in the Torah are frequently misunderstood, or taken at face-value. Sometimes homosexuality (an admittedly difficult issue) is treated as a bigger item than keeping kosher is in the Torah, when the commandment to not practice homosexual acts is mentioned twice, and the laws of keeping kosher are mentioned 5 times. Which is more important, according to the Torah?

I think a community as a whole functions better, more happily and more successfully if everyone follows the sames rules/laws. There is flexibility and room for individuality in most laws (except for stopping at red lights), just as there is the opportunity to take the laws to an extreme, as in the case of fanatics. And all religions have their fanatics.

Ironically, I experienced my greatest freedom when I took on the "old stuff" - not driving or writing on the Sabbath - it allowed me to have a truly "free" day, without feeling any guilt that I wasn't doing the laundry or running errands or paying bills. Such are "restrictive" laws.

(Sorry to write such a huge comment - I tried to edit, honest!)

Add me to the list of people who usually agrees with your wise observations but disagrees in this case.

While I totally get the value of discipline and "practice" as yogis call it, I don't have any more respect for religious folks who are more letter of the law than spirit of the law oriented. I think this has a lot to due with the strange demands many religions place on people.

If your yoga practice dictates that you do a few backbends every morning, that is most likely good for the spirit and the body.
If you follow a strict vegan diet, that is presumably because you think it is good for the health, or the land.
But if you are Catholic, as I was raised, and follow the letter of the law, it means you don't practice birth control? And who does that help. Religions have many laws in place that seem neutral at best and harmful at worst.
But, that shouldn't mean that people ought not go to a place of worship where they can pray, enjoy community and hopefully get some spiritual guidance. Though I disagree with oh so many teachings of the Catholic church, I still go many Sundays. I live in California where whe have this wonderful priest who disagrees with the church's teachings at least as much as I do but still has a wonderful sense of the scriptures. He provides me great spiritual guidance even though I have very mixed feelings about calling myself Catholic.
Which is not to say I am against ritual. When my neice was sick last year her very religious nanny suggested that fasting might help and my sister organized a mass fast. I was willing to do anything to help. But the thing is, I actually found the fast very worthwhile. My taking my mind off food for the day, I got to a deep spiritual place, you could say I communed with God. And my neice got better against odds that make the odds of IVF at 50 look good. So go figure.
By fasting firsthand, I learned that this tradition was not an empty ritual but a deep spiritual practice. I just doubt that condemning of gays would feed my spirit in the same way. So yes, I think it is very important that we pick and chose which rituals are important -- not necessarily easy for us to practice -- but meaningful.

Oh, that's an interesting viewpoint, Tertia. I hadn't thought of it that way.

I do get very annoyed at people who make a big fuss and yell and scream about things (such as homosexuality) which are FORBIDDEN! in the Bible - FORBIDDEN!!!! - but then don't take everything ELSE in the Bible literally.

I don't get annoyed about people who class themselves as (whichever) religion but don't follow it devoutly. Unless it's something like being a strong Christian who talks about it a lot, but who also shoplifts. That sort of thing irritates me.

Someone who feels close to a religion, but chooses to believe what they feel, and do what they think their higher power would want them to do rather than follow eery little rule exactly, that's fine by me. Especially if they have a sense of humour and don't just talk about their religion all the time!

In my opinion, unless you've grown up in a particular religion and it still feels right for you, what you should do is think about your beliefs. Your principles. And find the religion that suits you best. Not find a religion and follow it exactly for the hell (ha! ha! ha!) of it. Especially since religious dogma comes from people, who might've gotten it WRONG.

I'm not religious exactly, but I do believe in God. And the God I choose to believe in wants me to question. Wants me to think, and feel, and do what I believe is the right thing.

I'm probably what some would call a "cafeteria Catholic" -- one who picks and chooses what random pontifications I agree with. Maybe that makes me not a "true" Catholic.....but I'm more of the mindset that organized religion is a man-made thing. My belief in God is rooted in Catholicism and its teachings, but why should I have to bow to every whim of the Vatican if I don't agree with it?

"* Interestingly enough, our constitution protects against discrimination for sexual orientation, so one could argue that the ban some religions have against homosexuality is unconstitutional and an infringement of basic human rights. Now how do you factor THAT into your belief system?"

If you were religious or belonged to a religion you wouldn't be asking this question.

You do realise you are going straight to hell Tertia? ;) Thank goodness most people don't follow the Christian bible to the letter or we'll all soon be back to stoning and flaying and drowning every women with a wart, love of cats or sexy cleavage - yikes!

Good Day. Just found your home page its great, best site I seen for ages. This is a wonderful wealth of information, it looks like you folks do great service keep up the good work. Help me! Please help find sites for: Dodge five star dealers canada. I found only this - walla walla Dodge dealers. Dodge avenger driver falls short of winning first canadian nascar race by anthony fontanelledodge avenger driver mark dilley failed in his bid to win the first nascar race in canada at the dodge dealers. Our davie, fl dodge dealership always has a wide selection and low prices. Best regards :o, Kale from Mauritius.

Hey. Anyone who has gumption knows what it is, and anyone who hasn't can never know what it is. So there is no need of defining it.
I am from South and now teach English, tell me right I wrote the following sentence: "Also, they are originally portrayed, away american to the time and tightly precise to the dancing that no one decides ross is dropping."

THX :-(, Antonia.

The comments to this entry are closed.


  • Medsitters Au pairs

More Ads

| More


Bloggy Stuff

  • Living and Loving

  • SA Blog Awards Badge

  • Featured in Alltop

  • Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

  • RSS Feed
Blog powered by Typepad
This is the Reviews Design