Monday, September 7, 2009

Religion is unnatural

I had a thought today that reminded me of a thought I had a few weeks/months ago that I forgot until I'll write it down...publish it even...self-publish, that is.

Religion is unnatural, at least the bulk of them that I have come to learn about. Before I delve into my meager thoughts, I will post a disclaimer that in addition to religion being unnatural, so is shitting into a ceramic bowl full of water. My point is, unnatural does not have good or bad associated with it, it just is, IMHO.

I know that is a very broad statement, bold or not. The part of religion that I think is quite unnatural is the concept that we are "in" something together, like religion unites us above all. One goal of many religions is to differentiate their congregation from the masses, hence the religious organizations, traditions, rituals, rites, etc. Religions like to develop and cultivate community and common bonds. However, this is where religion forks from nature (ok, ok, there is nothing metaphysical or supernatural about religion so that statement has a million holes in it for any sticklers who miss the moon for the finger), but anyway, the only bonds that realy count are blood bonds.

Here's an example. We moved into our house almost 6 years ago. We were happy to meet a nice elderly couple who lived next door (elderly means old...lucky to have 10 more years of life in them). They seemed to be a typical couple with ups and downs. They liked to go out to dinner, go to community events, have the grandkids over, and whatever else old people like to do. It turns out that they weren't married, but lived together. I really didn't care either way. Old people need companionship like anyone else. Maybe even more so. Or maybe not.

A few days ago I learned that the old geezer wasn't living next door anymore because he got the boot (it was her house). It surprised me because only a few months ago he threw an elaborate surprise birthday party for her at the local VFW. He had planned that for months and was very excited about it. It was quite the bash. Anyway, it turns out that his old age problems were too much for her so she sent him to live with his daughter until they could find him an old folks home. Now that sounds cold to me. But it solidifies a point. This old dude, an army vet who I have a lot of respect for, got tossed out onto the street. Where did he end up? With family. When you have no one else to turn to, where do you go? Your church? Hell no. It's either family or you are homeless.

So what does this have to do with religion? Well, a several months ago I went to a talk by Rev. Moon of the Unification Church (moonies). He was emphasizing a point about how he wanted the world to unite as one family under God..."one family." Now that is a lofty goal, but now that I have had time to reflect on it, it is a goal that is even less likely than me growing 6 inches in a year. Family is a strong bond and it should not be taken lightly. Religion is not family. Have you ever seen a parking lot after mass lets out? You'd think it was a Dodgers game, people cutting, sneering, jeering, giving the evil eye, etc. If theory was reality then there would be an argument of who leaves the parking lot first. People would have to be thrown out of the church so as to accept the politeness of others..."after you." "No. After you." "No. After you. I insist!" ad nauseum.

Yet again life wins...nature that is. That bum on the street is a nuisance, not Jesus in disguise. He is NOT my brother. He's just some crazy homeless person. Even if he isn't crazy, he isn't MY responsibility. I have problems of my own to deal with. How would I, how could anyone imagine, that I have the energy or resources to help him. It makes me think of the book/movie, The Soloist. Yes, there are lots of people out there who need help. People like Mother Theresa are an anomoly, unnatural. People like you and me. We are assholes. We are selfish. We are normal.

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