Lindsay (dragonzuela) wrote,
Lindsay
dragonzuela

Religion thoughts

This has been in my head and I don't think I've posted it yet. Maybe bits of it.

People generally do not like to talk about religion and spirituality, except perhaps if they already know they share their beliefs with the person. About six years ago I had an experience that helped me to understand why. I won't go into too many details, but the rule of not discussing one's beliefs with someone who believes differently was broken. One cause of the resulting tension, I believe, was that both parties were forced to internally acknowledge (boy I'm getting wordy) that someone they respected believed something drastically different, and that there was no way to prove that one was right and the other was wrong. There are a lot of scary mysteries about our existence, and faith is a way of pretending to know the answers; no one likes to have that comfort shaken. Another cause of the tension was the assuptions about what the other must feel, based on the revealed faiths. So and so thinks I'm going to hell, so and so thinks I'm an illogical sap, so and so thinks I lead a cold and meaningless existence, etc.

So that's why I think people don't like to talk about religion and spirituality, even if it's really important to them. I think this relates to the problem of public religious displays. The display speaks silently to everyone who sees it. It says, "The majority of people who come here believe X." People who believe X are comforted, and people who do not are alienated, for the same reasons as above.

I think religious displays would be fine, but only in an ideal world in which we could all openly discuss our beliefs. It would be wonderful if people could be self-assured in their own faith, yet truly tolerant and open-minded about others. Maybe we are getting to that point. I suppose if you look at history, we're a lot better off than we were.

The majority of Facebook flyers for the UC Davis network right now are from Campus Crusade for Christ. When I've followed the links, the websites have been nicely worded and not pushy. But still, when I see those flyers again and again, I can't help but feel a little uncomfortable knowing that there are people around me who (would) think that my beliefs are flat out wrong and that I should convert. I suppose I am immune to some of the potential discomfort because my beliefs include the idea that many different belief systems can simultaneously be correct. But still, you know, I can't help but feel a little alienated. (So, I'm not claiming to be like one of the people in my ideal world, but I try.) Christianity is open and welcoming to everyone. I get the picture. It is appreciated. Stop bugging me about it.

I also think it's funny when people are asked what they believe and they give a one word answer, their religion. (Not that I've experienced this too many times, it being a taboo topic. But I can think of at least one time it's happened.) So you're telling me to go look it up and assume that everything I read about it pertains to you. Similarly I think it's funny that Facebook gives only one line for the "religious views" field. Religion can fit on one line perhaps, but the sum total of one's spirituality shouldn't. I guess it's because I was raised without organized religion, but I feel that all of my beliefs should come directly from my own feelings and experiences. I'll be damned if I put a label on myself, because that says that my beliefs are static and all fall into a category that someone else has defined. Not to insult anyone -- if your religion really resonates with you and is personal to you, I think that's wonderful and I have a ton of respect for you. It just isn't for me.

Hmm, I hope I don't sound too harsh. My own spirituality is a lot of fluffy happy white light, as non-conformist as it is.

**************

Another thought, not religion-related.

I've never met anyone who wasn't messed up psycholigically in one way or another (myself included... many times over). Friendship is deciding that what you like about a person outweighs what's wrong with them.
Tags: observations_and_ponderings, spirituality
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