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We all have our cross to bear
Member Name: spacelamb
Date: 04/04/01, updated on 04/04/01 (852 review reads)
Advantages: the fundamentals of religion are about being a 'good' person...
Disadvantages: ...but it rarely works out like that
Trickier than a Paul Daniels magic set, this one.
What if someone told you - no, swore blind - that there was a chocolate hob-nob on the table in front of you, but you couldn't see it? Or smell it, or touch it? But this person was SO sure that it was there. You know how tasty chocolate hob-nobs are, but would you reach out for it and try to eat it? Probably not. What if that person was wrong? How foolish would you look??
I apologise for the slightly crap and Alan-Partidge-esque analogy, but this is the principle of faith. In a world obsessed with information and image, there is no actual *evidence* to suggest that there are higher powers than man (humanists believe that we ARE the highest power, though I think this is slightly arrogant when people are killed by wind and water). It’s remarkable really that anyone still believes in something that can’t be advertised or sold – well I guess technically it can (“I feel like church tonight, like church tonight!” – complete with dance), but I’m just digging myself a hole now, so I’m going to lumber out and begin a new paragraph.
Although it would be nice to believe that we are being watched over and that God (or his non-Christian equivalent) will see you through life’s hardships, it is perfectly reasonable to question the word of the various 'good books'. I wouldn’t like to suggest a ratio of truth to myth within their pages; I don’t suppose it even matters. The danger lies in taking them literally.
Personally I don't think they should be accepted at face value - most of the stories are moralistic illustrations of how to live a 'good' life and not factual accounts of events. I don’t think anyone can have proof-read the Bible! – there are glaring inconsistencies. There’s all that man-shall-not-lie-with-man nonsense early on, which presumably is why a large number of lunatics in the
US take part in marches carrying “Thank God for AIDS” placards, and apparently believe that it was the Lord’s intention to wipe gays off the face of the planet with the disease. (Hasn’t quite worked out that way, has it?) But then of course one of the Commandments is “love thy neighbour” – are these bigots paying the slightest bit of attention to that? No. They have made religion a vehicle and an excuse for their horrific attitudes. The problem is not in the Bible itself (a volume of fables) but in people’s interpretation of its lessons.
Thankfully there are a lot of sound people out there who treat the Bible as a kind of guidebook (rather than rulebook) by which to live one’s life – because let’s face it, the fundamentals of Christianity make a good deal of sense. I don’t think it would hurt to update it a little (the bits about coveting thy neighbour’s oxen aren’t getting the message across to the yoof of today) and I don’t subscribe to its theory, BUT it’s a nice idea. A really nice idea.
My best friend is a practicing Christian and has got the whole thing down. She has a totally non-didactic attitude, is a hoot to be around and sees good things in everyone and everything without being na´ve. Maybe this is her natural temperament, but I put it down to her faith. Sadly, as much as I admire her and would love to be more like her, I can’t quite get over the obstacle of having to be answerable to God (because this certainly does affect her day-to-day decision making).
Some people manage to construct their own ethical guidelines, others like to have them set out in front of them. Some people like to amend existing moral codes, selecting the parts of religious texts that they believe to be right. This, to my mind, is fair enough. No one denomination has any more value than another. Here comes my own theory: if anything still has power today i
t is art, not religion. Films and music affect people no matter what their background or beliefs.
I think someone already wrote an op in this category about consumerism and religion, and there was also one mentioning that Marx quote about religion being the opiate of the masses – both of which I agree with. My own personal theory also includes (yes there’s more) the suggestion that the media are the new Gods (a scary thought), and a full endorsement of John Galliano’s recent clothing collection which suggested that David Beckham is the ‘God’ of our time. There was uproar from the Christian community of course, but think about it – kids worship Posh and Becks. Okay they’re kind of trashy but you couldn’t pick much better contemporary role models. They are both uber-successful and beautiful, but more importantly they are married, in love and are raising a child seemingly well (Victoria has always refused to employ a nanny). And I know I have based all that information on Hello! magazine articles but hey, if the media are the new Gods, I am simply following the word of my Lord and master.