Wednesday, October 24, 2007

On the Need for Religion: Tenets in Common

This essay by JCM is a highly articulate argument for the oneness of religion by a Christian and a religion student who describes himself as "an individual and wonderful creation of The One." For his critique of Christianity as currently practiced, you may want to click over to his site to read this in its entirety. -gw

The Need for Religion: A few disclaimers are necessary before the beginning of this post:

(1) I am a religion major, and a religious individual. I call myself a Christian--mostly because that is the religious tradition in which I have been raised--but draw from many different religions and philosophies.

(2) As a religion major, I am facinated by the presence of religion in society and at awe at the myriad religions of the world, always respectful of each in their own unique circumstance.

(3) I refuse, even though I call myself a Christian, to accept that there is only one "true" religion. I FIRMLY believe it is the believing that is important. The religions of the world hold many of the same tenets in common (namely: truth, justice, peace, love, you know the "biggies"), and no one is better or more "correct" than any other; it is a true question whether "God" created man or many created "God." In either case, the worldly, temporal interpretation of God is incredibly limited and mortal (read: given to fallibility).

(4) This post is not meant to be a rant, or to push a cause. It sprang from several lengthy discussion I had with a friend of mine, which I am terribly greatful for if for no other reason than they made me think twice about why I believe.That said, here is my essay (which may be shaped or modified in the future, check back!) on the need for religion and why I am a "Christian."

First it should be said that the title we give ourselves, be it religious or otherwise, is closely related to the circumstances in which we are raised. I, raised in a religious, Christian family, call myself a Christian. Yet, my interpretation of Christianity is very much different from many people I know and certainly from the "norm." Am I any less Christian? I do not think so. I think that whatever the believer calls himself (in my case) is what he is. I call myself Christian because that is how I was raised, that is what is comfortable; and yet I draw upon several other religions and philosophies: meditation techniques from Buddhism, many prayers from Islam and Judaism (they are far more poetical, much more beautiful to listen to and say than most Christian prayers), acceptance from Baha'i (actual, the more I read on this, the more I like it). Yet, I was raised Christian, and believe that Jesus and I are tight, which is important to Christianity; and yet at the same time whatever you believe is good too. Again, it's the belief not tenet you believe. ...

Why any religion. That is a very good question and has led to vey lengthy discussion of religion vs science; Christianity vs. Humanism; etc. My answer is, again, several fold:

(1) Religion is the opiate of the masses. It makes people happy, it answers the unanswerable, and people like that.

(2) Science is very important. I firmly believe in evolution. Religion should never be at odds with science. They can be reconciled. Yet science can answer the what, the when, the where, the how, but not really the WHY. Why are we here? Why do we exist? The whole "what is the meaning of life?" question.

(3) There are two distinctive ways of looking at the world that push people's buttons. Religion and Science. They are both ways of interpreting the world and yet they are two distinct views. I do not think they need to be at odds with one another, though many people do. They are both relevant to today's society and should both be respected.

classi_college_dude, "The Need for Religion ,"An Empty Vessel
"Behold, Lord, an empty vessel that needs to be filled. My Lord, fill it." -Martin Luther The musings of a progressive-thinking Lutheran college student as he explores what his faith is really about.

{Re-posted with permission}

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