Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Message boards

There is a message board group that I go to from time to time. It is all mothers who have had their babies around the same time as Mary was born, and they are largely all American. Not that it should make a difference, but I really think it does. For every reasonable American on that board (Goody), there seems to be 3 (or more) religious nutters, who delight in quoting the bible during every debate, and justifying their intolerance and closed-mindedness with said quotes. It is really quite amazing, and oftentimes hard to read for someone who considers herself to be a Christian. There has been talks about homosexual marriage, homosexuals adopting children, abortion and eating meat (one non-Christian poster started a thread comparing eating meat to abortion, and that got hot pretty quickly). Anyways, I have from time to time considered posting to one or more of these threads, but I know that either my opinion would be shot down in flames, or ignored altogether.

Aside from the "hot topics" board, there are several other ones, where these mothers ask advice from each other on feeding, medical issues, they compare milestones, they gripe about their husbands, all sorts of things really. The one emotion I get when I read these forums (aside from extreme irritation) is uncertainty. I mean, these forums are there to help, but I generally come away from reading posts feeling like I am doing things wrong with my own baby. Mary doesn't crawl, but all the other babies do, what's wrong with her, or better yet, what's wrong with me? I don't breast feed, I'm poisoning my baby, what's wrong with me? I'm not comfortable watching a woman breastfeed, what's wrong with me? Mary eats solids, oh no, Mary doesn't eat enough solids, we have a bumper in her crib still, I don't stay home for her naps, I do stay home for her naps...So, I don't think I'm going to go back, no matter how train-wreckish the hot topics forum is.

Anyways, the reason I started talking about this is that in the hot topics forum, there is a discussion about religion (go figure). Someone has posed the question "if you woke up tomorrow to a world without religion, could you carry on? I think that it is an odd question to ask. Is she asking about religion, or about God. Now, if she is asking if I woke up in the morning, and the Anglican church, and all the other churches and religions had decided to dissolve...Well, I just don't think that would happen. So long as there is something to believe in and worship, and people already had a common culture, they would organize to discuss and worship their god - and that in my mind is the definition of religion, an organized group of people with the same set of beliefs and faith, who come together to worship their god (which is why the term organized religion drives me bonkers, religion is by definition organized). Sure, it wouldn't have the same structure as our religions do now, but it would be religion.

If we woke up in the morning and there was no God, well, how would you prove it. So long as people live, I think that people will have faith in something. So long as we do not, and cannot know what happens after death, people will have some sort of mythology about it, and mythology is the basis of religion. The majority of people will always have faith that there is something more, I think, even if they don't know exactly what it is. I have a friend who was working toward his doctorate in bio-chemistry, and instead of letting science prove to him that there was no god, he instead wrote a paper on how science proves that there is a god, and that it is the catholic God at that. There will always be people like him out there, and really, I'm okay with that.

Religion has been the justification for some atrocious acts, and continues to be so today, but I really cannot imagine a world without it, because a world without religion would be a world without faith and hope. In it's purest form, that is what religion is all about.


Raven said...

Wow. Deep.
I really want to comment, but I know I'd hit the character cap wasy too fast. Maybe I'll email - or see you at BP's - and blather then.
You brought up a lot of interesting points.

Goody said...

Thanks ;)

About the milestones-there's a pretty healthy dose of exaggeration going on there ("oh, my super-baby is doing pre-calculus *and* sitting up by himself")and really, once Mary starts crawling you'll forget ever being concerned as you'll be too occupied chasing her.

As for "God Squad"-don't you know that the US is a Theocracy now? And its not the "Sermon on the Mount" type Christianity.

I think I'd hit the character cap too soon as well-maybe I'll take it up at my blog.

Anne R. Key said...

Good to see you still Blogging, Girl! Keep it up!

Sangroncito said...

Your opinions count and don't let any right-wing, loony christian holier-than-thou tell you otherwise. Give 'em hell!

Rodicon said...

It's really neat to hear your side of the issue. Too many of us Razz you and other people who are certainly chirstian without maybe seeing that you have a valid opinion based of smart reasoning and thoughtful observation and not blind faith and narrow minded repeition. That, of course, doesn't excuse a good majority of the still very much bigoted and rose glasses of the others whom I will continue to razz with glee.
Ncely said.


Eman said...

I would disagree that religion is by definition organized, and I'm sure there are many faiths around the world that would be the exception.

And didn't you say that religion in it's purest form is faith and hope. Isn't this a contradiction as most organized religions in their purest form are dogamtic, and blind.

Jenn said...

You can be faithful, you can be spiritual, you can believe in God without belonging to a "religion." Once you organize your beliefs, your mythology, your worship, you create religion.

Yes, faith and hope are the cornerstone of any religion, and people who have a common faith will naturally gather to share that faith. When that happens, they share religion.

Main Entry: re·li·gion
Pronunciation: ri-'li-j&n
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English religioun, from Latin religion-, religio supernatural constraint, sanction, religious practice, perhaps from religare to restrain, tie back -- more at RELY
1 a : the state of a religious a nun in her 20th year of religion> b (1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
2 : an institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
3 archaic : scrupulous conformity : CONSCIENTIOUSNESS
4 : a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith
- re·li·gion·less adjective

You can be faithful, you can be spiritual, you can believe in God without belonging to a "religion." Once you organize your beliefs, your mythology, your worship, you create religion.

Jenn said...

Oh, and as for the argument that all religions are dogmatic and blind, well, all I have to say that is that blindess goes both ways. Your statement there proves that to me more than anything. Yes, religion has caused problems, wars have been fought, atrocities have been committed, that is human nature, whether we like it or not. If you look, you will also find lives that have been saved, people who have been helped, and support that has been given, all in the name of a set of religious beliefs. Seriously, pick a religion, any one, and you can see terrible things, and beautiful things. The sad thing is that most people choose to only see the ugly, it makes it easier to stay blind and keep hating that way.

Rodicon said...

Let's pick on the Chatholics again, because they have the best examples as of late.
The basic principles behind any religion more or less crosses all vectors of human thought, society, economy, politics and survivial. This is, in essence the Spiritual. Religion is akin to the reactions that occure at critical mass. What is nebulous and without out structure suddenly has incredable inertia. Religion is the result of critical mass of spiritual similarity and in taking shape becomes a tool, or force that can be manipulated, worshipped, fought over and so on by human nature.
Two things about religion taht I find troublsome. 1. The good is seriously overshadowed by bad, which seems to result from a basic incompatability of the religion with basic human nature. The divin, is a nice idea, but impossible.
2. To refusal to grow with the Human Race as all other aspects of our lives have. The basics of spirituality still apply but the trapping they are covered in become an awful hindrance and a streatch of the mind. That goes for Pagen and Christian religions, and most likely eastern religions too.

Anne R. Key said...

Hinduism, which is one of the oldest--if not THE oldest--religion in the world, is unique for NOT being organized. While there are gurus and brahmen who have studied the sacred vedas and Scriptures, there is no Hindu pope or Archbishop of Calcutta or Imam.

Also, because the Hindus recognize that each of us comes to the Creator by our own path, worship is intensely personal and private. Therefore, while there are certainly Hindu temples to visit where worship occurs, the celebrant is encouraged to connect with the divine in his or her own home, and it is not necessary either to follow the guidelines. All that is required is that you approach your god with a full and loving heart.

In this way, the Hindus believe that even Catholics can be good Hindus.

Jenn said...

While they are perhaps not as hierarical as many christian denominations, I would still argue that the Hindu religion still falls under the heading organized. They do have temples, and a definate hierarchy. They have a set mythology, although it is fairly complex, and can vary depending on what part of the world you are from, it is still there. There are certain rituals and beliefs which are common to every person of that religion.

I think that alot of people, when they think of the word organized, think - Pope, Cardinal, Priest, Lay person. While that is the organization of the Roman Catholic church, it does not define organized. If you are using that example to define organized, then there are a good number of christian denominations that would not be organized either.

Rodicon said...

I have to agree that even Hinduism could fall under 'organaized'. If a form of spirituality gathers enough believers that come together, hold opinions, and structure their worship that is organization.
Structure = Organization.
Organization = Manipulation of Information?

Eman said...

I didn't mean for what I said to be negative. What I meant was that at it's base level the purpose of a religion is to spread it's particular beliefs, and those beliefs exclusively. The hope and faith part should already be part of that person or they wouldn't be part of that religion.

Fortunately the human element gives us the social aspects of religion. The community stuff, and the tolerance for others that softens it a bit

hanna's halos said...

There is a lot of competitiveness between Mothers. A need, if you will, for their child to be better than yours.

If it's any consultation, I'm sure you're not doing anything 'wrong'. I have 5 kids and so far, 3 of them didn't walk until their first birthday. 2 of them were a good month past their first birthday. 2 of them did not crawl until after they had learned to walk.

Be grateful that Mary isn't mobile yet. Mobility only means one step closer to your baby growing up.

I wont touch the religion issue.