Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Church,State And The International God Complex

              In 1966 John Lennon remarked that Christianity would vanish and shrink. That the Beatles had become more popular than Jesus Christ and,while Jesus himself was "alright" his disciples were thick and ordinary. This comment made in Lennon's native Britain created an enormous stir in the bible belt of the American south-inspiring the infamous hate group the Klu Klux Klan to threaten Lennon. And now four decades later,there is constant worry and concern in regard to the sudden retirement of Pope Benedict XVI,especially amid building controversy surrounding sexual open mindedness and accusations of pedophilia within the Catholic church. Religiosity in America has become such a controversial topic that is thought of to only be worthy of discussion by theologians in an enormous panel discussion. But is there anything that a relatively intelligent common citizen has to offer on the topic. Speaking for myself anyway,I think there is much such a person could and should offer to the debate.
        The main problem I see with religious faith in the modern world is it's continual closed mindedness. As the morality of the world is expanding,and what were once viewed as lifestyle choices based on free will are now being seen as part of the beauty of nature they truly are,the religious community are  linking themselves more and more into the political arena. Of course there was a time where the churches position was that the mixture of religion and politics was "sin". That of course leads to the ultimate wild card with religion in society today-it's growing contradictions. We live in a society that is becoming more and more based in honestly and truth. With concepts such as Intelligent Design,religious groups are struggling a lot harder to rationalize their creationist view of the universe with visually observable scientific reality that humanity is now technologically able to observe. 
        Another factor compounding the debate about religion,in particular Christianity,is the still divided viewpoints on atheism and agnosticism  These sends to be broken down to the simple fact that the term faith itself has been devalued in society as shorthand for religious faith. Basic Christian values such as honesty and good will were at one time very important to a growing culture coming out of the dark ages of knowledge. However as the centuries have progressed,better cultural education has led to a basic and more secularized morality that can apply to all human beings. Included in this is that all religions include some of the same basic precepts. The universalist concept of religion has lead to often religious fanaticism. In particular  Christians and those of the Muslim religion. This has lead to wars and mass slaughter over which ideology is superior. And that position has actually become more and more fixed among the more righteous in society.
        Interestingly enough,this righteousness has been a double edged sword for many cultures. A superb example is the relationship African American's have with Christianity. Having been torn culturally from their native systems of faith from Africa and the Caribbean slaves bought to America adapted Western Christianity almost as a whole. This religious faith led them to positively protest successfully against later forms of racism such as segregation. Though mixed with this was the peaceful philosophy of non violence as advocated by the Eastern philosophies of Mahatma Gandhi  Yet still,if most in the African American community are facing any type of personal or cultural crisis,nine times out of ten it will be the Christian bible,church and prayer that they will turn to for guidance. Though many turns back to  African spiritual roots seem to have come and gone,Christianity has been the mainstay a midst all of that.
         It would seem the majority of people know this. And many of them would like something to be done about it. Yet it seems to continue. Personally I look at it this way. Religious righteousness has created an uncomfortable schism within humanity. One thing that remains true of most humans is their fear of dying. It terrifies them. The personal faith in an afterlife that somehow resembles something beautifully Earthly,such as a garden of eternal life,is appealing when facing that fear. The fear of the unknown is  the basis of all fears people experience. And it is at the very core of human beings ongoing attachment to the continual difficulties and contradictions of religious faith.  Christopher Eccleston in Doctor Who stated it best: that human beings were often so fast to defend something that is invisible yet deny a truth they've seen for themselves. So in the end,the contradictions are not only present within religion itself but also in people's fundamental relationship to it.

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