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06 April 2007 @ 02:01 pm
The other part for the weekend, the Blog Against Theocracy.  
Funny how things sneak up on you like that. Over this weekend, if I want to participate in a blogswarm supporting many causes, such as the separation of science and religion in the classroom, the stopping of discrimination based on religious grounds in the government, against those of differing sexual orientations or religions, or the firm commitment to the idea that the United States should maintain itself as a democratic republic, rather than slide into being ruled by religious extremists, the thing that jumps into my head most is how “Blog Against Theocracy” represents a lot more than it looks at first.

In some ways, being against theocracy could be bad. If the religion in general was benevolent, had members who practiced that benevolence in all aspects of their life, and were moral, ethical, and upstanding people, then there would probably be a big call for them to be enshrined in the government. If they were competent administrators and applied the principles of their religion to their work, for the improvement of all people under their eye, then most people probably wouldn’t have problems with keeping them in government and letting them rule by religious principles.

Where the problems start are in implementation and in our various dispositions as human beings. For various reasons, some people just tick us off, or we’re taught in one way or another that some people aren’t as good as we are, because they lack something, be it fairness of skin, affluence, or the big one, religion and the “salvation” and “morality” that goes along with it. A lot of the influential writers, founders, and figures of religions recognized that this happened, and have teachings that instruct their followers not to do it. The Prophet spoke of the People of the Book, those who weren’t Muslim but worshipped the same G-d. Samaritans, tax collectors, “sinners”, Romans, Gentiles, the poor, and women are all part of the story of Jesus of Nazareth. The message is pretty clear: These people are worthy, too. The rain falls on the just and the unjust. G-d does not play favorites, but he rewards those who do what he instructs and calls them his chosen people.

The Founding Fathers recognized this, too, and thus enshrined into the Constitution a prohibition against adopting a single religion or excluding other religions from being able to practice. They wanted to get rid of the possibility that our own human biases would lead us to systematic exclusions of people based on their beliefs.

Right now, much of the world thinks they are G-d’s chosen people by virtue of the place they were born, the family they were born into, or the religion they follow. And they think they should shout from the rooftops about their special status. They expect to be obeyed, to be given special treatment, to have their view enshrined in the laws of the land, because G-d demands it of his people. Jesus had words about them, too.

“And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.” (Matthew 6:5, NSRV)

“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by the host, and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, ‘Give this person your place’, and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that wen your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke, 14:7-11, NSRV)


People are telling the world about their religion every moment of every day of their life. Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Fred Phelps, George H.W. Bush, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, King Abdullah, the barista at Starbucks, the preacher on the street, the vested priest celebrating the resurrection festival, the hooded priestess celebrating the coming of spring. The person that says homosexuals go to hell, and the person that defends the right of homosexuals to be married. Everyone says “This is what an X is”, whether religious or not, in everything they say and do. Some people are much more subtle about it than others, and some are much more in tune with the teachings of their founders than others.

So, I suppose my parting question is just this - which would be more in tune with being a good member of your religion - enshrining it into law and forcing people to worship the same way you do, making loud and public proclamations of your faith (under penalty of imprisonment or death if you don’t), and displaying your faith as conspicuously as possible to everyone, or by doing works that bring about a better quality of life for everyone, regardless of faith?

“But whenever you go pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6, NSRV)
 
 
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Michaelnebris on April 6th, 2007 07:42 pm (UTC)
Maybe you should post this is dark_christian.

~M~
Silver Adept: Dragon Bombsilveradept on April 9th, 2007 05:41 am (UTC)
Eh. For the most part, it's just a ramble about the interpretation I think is best for those pieces. I don't think it's anything special or particular. If you want to post it there, with credit, go ahead.
Thornethornesgarden on April 6th, 2007 07:47 pm (UTC)
Great stuff...
"by doing works that bring about a better quality of life for everyone, regardless of faith?"

Yes.
uncle_pervyuncle_pervy on April 7th, 2007 08:31 am (UTC)
There are so many ways I could go off about religion & theocracies but I'm gonna refrain from that and not necessarily post anything about it in my Journal. Besides...as far as pretty much any G-d loving or fearing person thinks, due to me being an Atheist I'm considered even lower on the trust, morality & someone to be loved scales than doctors who perform abortions, homosexuals and heathens among others.

Oh and Al...have you been able to get that Latin translation of "Blind Faith is the Enemy of Truth" I asked for or are you still too swamped with your final semester?
Silver Adeptsilveradept on April 9th, 2007 05:39 am (UTC)
My translators are still tied up in other projects, honestly. I don't think I can deliver on this for you - if you can find someone else to make it happen, you should. Although, there's one other person I could ask...
Plain Rebecca Jane: anneannaonthemoon on April 9th, 2007 06:29 pm (UTC)
I do not know if I am the person you had in mind, but I believe it is something like: Caecus Fides et hostes Verum, however please do not quote me on that. You know how long it has been since I have studied Latin and Greek.
uncle_pervyuncle_pervy on April 10th, 2007 09:31 am (UTC)
Thank you so much. I took that and worked it through a couple online Latin <-> English translators to get a good idea. I'm figuring on this:

Caecus Fides est Hostilis Veritas.

I think it sounds pretty good, matches the main inflection & setup I was going for. Thank you for at least pointing me in the right direction.
Plain Rebecca Jane: anneannaonthemoon on April 10th, 2007 12:38 pm (UTC)
You are quite welcome.
Silver Adeptsilveradept on April 14th, 2007 03:32 pm (UTC)
My local Latin translator got back to me. You'll get the results in person if you're at the meeting. But she says it's

Cauca fides est hostis veritatis

with macrons (lines, d00d) over the e and a in veritatis.
C2dlife on April 7th, 2007 09:35 am (UTC)
Huh? What's sad is that people are misappropriating terms to make not even thinly veiled attacks on the American government. (Seriously. Theocracy is NOT basing law on religion -- it's political rule by leaders of the central religion.)

There's nothing wrong with law based on religion. There's no country that does not do this in some form or another. Even Henry VIII, a "divine" ruler, couldn't escape without establishing a new central religion, the Church of England.

What the current administration is trying to do which is objectionable is actually something quite different. They're codifying into law not based on the tenets of the religion but on a common fringe interpretation. This would be equivalent to an Islamic country deciding that they'd use sharia for this crime or the other, bypassing secular courts, but not practice zagat (or giving alms to the poor). The American government is even worse in that in the same breadth, they assert religious freedom.

Maybe there should be a law against hypocrisy.
C2dlife on April 7th, 2007 02:33 pm (UTC)
breath, not breadth. Ack.
Silver Adeptsilveradept on April 9th, 2007 05:35 am (UTC)
Mmm. Thanks for the clarification. Does that make my post shift somewhere important and meaningful? I think a lot of what was said still might apply, even under the correct definition, but if there are changes that need to be made...
Plain Rebecca Janeannaonthemoon on April 7th, 2007 04:56 pm (UTC)
I may be misinterpreting, but it looks like in your Jesus quotes Jesus is saying to NOT flaunt your religion and to keep it private, the exact opposite of what people tend to do...or was that your point and I totally misread?

If people don't share their religion, then some people might never find out about those religions that are in existance, let alone if they want to participate in that religion. I think the larger problem comes in when people are over zealous about their religion, and I think it applies to every religion out there -- however, it's obvious that the Christian based religions get more exposure to begin with, since you know, anything that's not christianity is bad. or something.
Silver Adeptsilveradept on April 9th, 2007 05:38 am (UTC)
Re: Jesus quotes - ya nailed it on the head. That's what I was aiming for - J says "d00d, stop showing off."

Re: Sharing one's religion - there's only one class of person you should share what religion you are with - someone who asks. And even then, you need to judge whether they actually need to know that information, are allowed to know that information in the context, or are planning on doing harm to you with that information.
Plain Rebecca Janeannaonthemoon on April 9th, 2007 05:51 am (UTC)
True enough. I mean, if someone asks me about my religion, I usually will answer with my standard "mostly druid, slightly witchy, a little bit Buddhist, too." and then if they really want to know more, I'll try to explain it farther. But if I hadn't asked my friend where he was going for church on sundays, I might not have discovered Druidism.

I don't think I'll ever be ok with street corner preachers. And I always hate it when people try to hand me propaganda as I'm walking down the street. I usually refuse their papers for several reasons, one being that I don't want to waste their paper on someone (me) who won't read it and just toss it. Then later you see all their papers littering the streets, and do they go pick any of it up? Noooo.