Category Archives: religion

breathe. can we?

deny. demonize. deny some more. then kick sand in everyone’s face if they express opinions that differ from yours. have we, here in this north american society, grown this small? really? i despair. it feels like we have. where, oh where, have our hearts and minds gone? where has constructive outrage gone? where has compassion gone? oh … sometimes i feel like its all too much. far too much.

did we think the threat of mcarthy-ism dead? think again. maybe not. did we think solving the middle east difficulties would really be that easy? did we bother to inform ourselves of the history of the conflict? did we already forget about lawrence of arabia? did we already forget that 54,000 canadian, 400,000 american, and 25 million in total, soliders died in WW2 – a war that spanned 6 years? the world effectively lost an entire generation of men. do we have a fucking clue? about history? about things that happen on the other sides of the oceans?

do we really think its ok to send adolescents, who have questionably yet to reach the age of consent, into a environment filled with manipulative, power-addicted narcisstists (read:politicians)? OMG. what the fuck makes us soooooo blind and naive? really, its all too much. i wonder if its occuring to anyone out there that sexual deviance and sexual repression go hand-in-hand. or if we are all just going to put another pair of blinders on and get on the ‘indignant outrage’ soapbox?

it saddens me a great deal that people out there still think the collective WE bears no responsibility for all the world’s suffering. absolutely saddens me. that they honestly believe, because they did not pull the trigger, wield the torture device, or hold down that 15 year old girl so 14 others could rape her, this grants absolution and frees them from accountability. why? why, if another human, somewhere – anywhere – out there, suffers would ANY one think they have no responsibility to contribute toward efforts to relieve said suffering?

and why have we attached some sort of twisted ideological entitlement to the relief of suffering?

and what the fuck is up with this culture of retribution and revenge?

breathe. can we?

image originally uploaded by wimedejonge

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Filed under historical analysis, human rights, humanity, ideology, politics, religion, sociology, war on terror

on sexuality and its repression

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repression: attempt to subdue forbidden desire. it speaks to the reality of perpetual conflict that reside within humanity. the forces of our rational thought processes versus our subconscious, primordial desires.

what makes some societies more repressive than others? intuitively, i see an association between repression and monotheistic religions. such religions have sophisticated structures in place to assist with the subjugation of their subjects. and villification of human flesh plays a key role in this subjugation.

the example of catholicism spins through my head. repressive. subjugating. vilifying the human sexual experience and all pleasures of the flesh. if we vilify the process/act which produces the human fruit – read: us – aren’t we vilifying the human entity, ie ourselves? vilify. subjugate. forbid. repress. and then i think.

i think, what’s born in the dark, and grows in the dark, must stay in the dark. and secrets? they erode. and therein lies the cancer of repression. so? where does this lead me, as i continue along this thought trail? it begs me to begin articulating my observations.

observations that the vilification-repression dynamic seems like a self-fulfilling prophecy. like … creating the very conditions one sets out to avoid. does the reality of our sexuality make us villains, or, does our vilification of this sexual nature? i guess i’m asking – does our own sexuality, or our denial of this sexuality, make us villains?

just wondering.

image originally uploaded by benkard

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Filed under humanity, politics, religion, sexuality, sociology

what is religion?

can we define it?

here’s what the oxford dictionary, 9th edition, says about religion.

1 the belief in a superhuman controlling power, esp. in a personal god or gods entitled to obedience and worship. 2 the expression of this in worship. 3 a particular system of faith and worship. 4 life under monastic vows (the way of religion). 5 a thing that one is devoted to (football is their religion) (p 1161)

so? does this definition capture the essence of religion? of what it means to the devout, the doubters, and the atheists? religion affects us all deeply. even those of us who choose to regard it as a mere construct to facilitate social survival.

you know that, more than three decades after my initial indoctrination, i still have a running ticker tape of the apostles’ creed in my head? how these things got drilled into our heads as kids! what i really didn’t get, though, was being told i had to stay hungry and thirsty going to church so i could be ‘pure’ to receive holy communion.

does a 5 or 6 year old kid get that? and why should god care if i drank a glass of juice 20 minutes before mass started? does that really make me bad? too impure to receive god? a disobedient little one? (just so you know … i am not making this up). and yet, i had to go hungry or thirsty because that’s what god wanted. anyway, that’s what i remember about god. about religion. as a kid. the feeling that we are never good enough. for god. and never will be. the notion that suffering has some sort of redeeming, cleansing function.

ok.
i digress.
back on track.
religion – how to define it?
well, depending on your perspective,
there are 3 possibilities.

1. religion as a social construct

  • a manifestation of some psychological or moral pathology?
  • a pernicious and deliberate falsehood, spread and encouraged by rulers and clerics in their own interests, in an effort exercise control over others?
  • seeing religions as marginally useful constructs which encode instructions or habits useful for survival in a society
  • seeing religion as ‘the opium of the masses’

2. religion as progressing toward a higher truth

  • reflections of an essential truth?
  • seeing religious truth as relative, due to its varied cultural application and/or expression
  • seeing prophets as messengers of god — individuals given to extraordinary spiritual insight during periods of social decay and acting as purveyors of balance and social survival.
  • seeing religion as evolving over time in a thesis-antithesis-synthesis-great awakening paradigm

3. religion as absolute truth

  • the exclusivist view
  • one belief system … one holy book … one supreme being
  • seeing all things and individuals incongruent with the one belief system as ignorant, devious, false, misguided
  • a sort of arrogant view of truth (“our view is the RIGHT view, all others are wrong”)
  • providing an unwavering perspective that requires individuals to conform to its truth

so….? where do you fit in? before you answer, though … consider this: it’s clear, isn’t it — that intimate connection between your philosophical view of truth and your chosen religious view?
whatever religious perspective you weave into your cultural matrix speaks to your larger view of truth, the universe, humanity, and how we got here.

regardless which point of the star you are coming from …
its profound stuff, ain’t it? 

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Filed under humanity, religion, sociology