Migrants to the West #7 Religions

Lots of people are looking for meaning in their life and several of them look into many religious teachings in the hope to find somewhere there a place where they could feel themselves comfortable.

Friends Joining hands

Multicultural Friends Joining hands

According to Leighton Knapp in his article on multiculturalismFundamentalism Today” most zealots and proselytizers who serve as religious gurus demonstrate a staunch commitment to forming others in their own image.  They sell an ideology.  He has reason to say that most people would prefer to find something they can easy grasp onto in 30 minutes or less. This because not many people do want to put too much effort in building their character and their thinking. Everything has to go smooth and easy. Something that provides a self-contained worldview which snuffs out anything that doesn’t conveniently fit and comfortably can be taken over would suit them best.

English: Religious symbols from the top nine o...

Religious symbols from the top nine organised faiths of the world according to Major world religions From left to right: 1st Row: Christian Cross, Jewish Star of David, Hindu Aumkar 2nd Row: Islamic Star and crescent, Buddhist Wheel of Dharma, Shinto Torii 3rd Row: Sikh Khanda, Bahá’í star, Jain Ahimsa Symbol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The problem with the contemporary quick-food, the spiritual hamburger, is that the BigMac has lots of variation which confuses people. The “certainty” they are looking for is more complicated than they at first wanted to believe. They are confronted with the request to lay their soul bare and to show their true search and will to grow personally. Many religions do offer lots of mystery and demand that people would think about certain matters. They have to look at their own deep self attentively, which frightens them. A superficial religion would be best for the majority. To think seriously about certain situations and actions to undertake is for many too much demanded. But those who seem to be able to easy contemplate confronts them with their weakness of not being able to come to such a meditation or study. This form of jealousy triggers a form of head wind. Lots of opposition against the Jews and Muslims can be found on the grounds that people can see in them very religious people and as such consider them conservative. To embrace mystery, meditation, contemplation and self-correction seems for many something out of this world and not realistic for a modern society. They are afraid this religiousness would hinder further development of their habitat.

The citizens of the capitalist world love money and modern gadgets, plus all the advantages contemporary technology can bring them. They are afraid that a direction of the mind to the spiritual take those advantages of the modern world away. Undeserved they degrade the religions and dishonour the religious people.

Leighton Knapp utters that the New Fundamentalism of our time is that of Liberalist Human Rights.  According to him it shuts down questioning, seeks totalitarianism and celebrates the presupposed triumph of banal humanism.

Fundamentalism is about so much more than strict adherence to religious doctrine.  I think this is where the confusion begins.  I believe that it’s perfectly possible to affirm without compromise the beliefs of a given religion without being a fundamentalist; in fact I’m convinced that if people actually did this we’d see the end of all religious extremism.

Throughout history there have been religious teachers who have misused their religious or holy writings for their own benefit. Also politicians in the past where often very happy to make use of certain (right and wrong) religious teachings and to use the religious leaders to put them in front of their cart. They used the ordinary civilian to carry the load. Also today some want the easy brainwashed people to do the dirty work of creating division. The rift in the political world is also used to bring disunity under the people and religion is therefore a very handy sensitive tool. The politicians and adversaries can target the sensitive subject, to touch the inner soul of the people.

File:Prevailing world religions map.png

Prevailing world religions

In a world that is nothing short of unstable many people will sell their souls in order to live with the pretence of “certainty”. Today therefore we can find many zealots and proselytizers who serve as religious gurus demonstrating a staunch commitment to forming others in their own image and selling an ideology, assuring their profits and regular income. Faith which requires the inner soul to contemplate, and to become at peace with the inner of the self, is for many of those ‘false teachers‘ a danger, because it would undermine their authority. That is for example one of the reasons why the Catholic for such a long time prohibited their followers to read and study the Bible, because those who really intensely study the Bible would come to find out all the teachings which are not according to what is written in the Holy Scriptures. Many protestant pastors therefore also use more their own words in service today and bring a lot of entertainment to the service, so that people would not read so much in the Word of God, but will enjoy the service and will come back. The client tie has become more important, and people are pressed to an obligatory denomination.

Several religious leaders try to make their followers afraid of other teachings so that they can insure their own denomination its regular income. In Belgium the few attendants at the services are not sufficient any-more to cover the costs so the Roman Catholic Church has put her hand in its hair and is crying for help on the media.

Many churches have put the attention on the outer form and like to show others the external elements to compare. Superficiality is common trump.

Leighton Knapp says that religion has historically served as the most basic means by which to justify “isms”.  We can not go beyond that the institutions of authority and tradition were and still are easily hijacked and distorted by the threatened mob as a means of living in wilful ignorance and aggression.  After a golden time of full churches, of which many forget that the women also had to have their head covered and had to sit on the left side of the church and man only on the right side of the church, there was a revolutionary movement bringing the worship in the own language instead of Latin which many did not fully understand.  What we see today by several Islamic communities is the same thing we could see by the Roman Catholic communities of the 1950s.

After the opening up by Pope John XXIII the people got confused and did not feel such a strong hand any-more. The power given unto them became to difficult for them to handle and got them going nowhere. By all the mixing of libertarian theological writings people got jumbled by the foggy teachings. Entanglement in the own ranks of the church brought with the temptation of the leisure time the decline of religion in our culture.

The mob increasingly adopts the language of left-wing politics.  We live in the age of Human Rights and no cause has failed to appeal to the new sacred cow.  Mutual dialogue and inquiry have been shut down in the name of liberal agendas which seek to transform society into a monoculture of blissful ignorance.  Old certainties are being traded in for new ones.
says Knapp.

5 religions

5 religions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The creation by the media of demigods, film and sports gods, made that people got their eyes more on human being and the pleasures of life than in the heavenly God and the fulfilment of spiritual life. The stories handed down generation after generation where put aside for the modern fairy-tales of human beings trying out how far thy could go with intermingling with each other. It became a sport to try to go as far as possible and to use as much as possible words or terms of abuse and imprecations as if the cursing could make this swearword user more important.

Baby In His Mothers Shoulder

Love – Baby In His Mothers Shoulder

The frivolous way of life, with superficial thinking and excess of debauchery, love-game made the people enjoy their lawlessness but finding in others who preferred to live with more moral sense a threat. Therefore the people who react against the immoral behaviour and are seen as moralisers are bullied to bring them on other tracts. Chastity is not any more seen as a good virtue. It is not any-more considered to be a merit to be a man of integrity. Everywhere people try to make as much money as possible and all mean are good for it. And those who steal openly from the ordinary people get even a bonus from their employer. the banks got the right to rule in their advantage and made well use of it to ruin the citizens.

The capitalist spirit made the people grow away from each other, having less time for parents, children, spouses, friends, though for this last category they found a trick of creating lots of virtual ‘friends’ on the social media. Love became confused with like, lust, sex, admire, wish, respect, friends, and so on. The Agapè has become something foreign, not to say odd. Those people who talk about love and peace are considered queers. For the majority it is weird that people could find spiritual matters more important than material matter.

That humans would like to see a behaviour that supports unconditional love seems alien. It are those people who call for such long-suffering and kind love which  is not jealous and  does not brag or does not get puffed up, who are considered undermining the modern evolution. They are also considered a danger for the local population because they would be the sort who would not mind taking the enemy in house to offer them a peace-meal. It also makes people unsure when they do not want to behave indecently or do not want to join in to have impudent unashamed outrageous illicit fun. They can not understand why Muslim people react so hard against their unavenged unvarnished crude loose life. The debauchery for many western people is something where they are proud of and do not feel ashamed for.

This licentious attitude creates the difficulties between the more religious people, be it Christians or Muslims. The Jews have learned their lesson not to interfere with others, so they stay behind the curtain and do not say much.

The real Christians and real faithful Muslims do not look for their own interests and do not become provoked. They do not keep account of the injury which is brought many times unto them. But they also do not rejoice over unrighteousness and do not always consider it right to stay silent and to let everything happen just like that. As the world is going deeper and deeper in the abyss they would like to warn those who stand on the ridge of the ravine.

This witnessing by Muslims and for example non-trinitarian Christians is considered by many a danger to their liberty, and therefore they want to bring up a smoke screen with all sort of blasphemous stories and want others to focus on the extreme cases of fundamentalists which can be found in any religion and in any atheist or secularist community.

The media give a helping hand by magnifying the differences between the different groups and by blowing up the extreme cases of hard reactionaries. And people love more to find themselves not tampered with personal questions and able to have a close attachment to, and eager zeal for the many public traditions. When immigrants come into their community and do not want to join those traditions they feel it like an intrusion on their own liberty, not understanding that they want to impose their traditions on others and taking away their freedom.

Derico is right to say that it is unfortunate that the media—although providing colour TV for years now—only provides coverage in black and white. In his Review of god is not Great he recognises that there are shows from the far left and shows from the far right. So too do we have religious extremes: either fundamentalist extremists, or atheist not wanting to know about other people who believe in matters they do not want to grasp.

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Preceding articles:

  1. Migrants to the West #1
  2. Migrants to the West #2
  3. Migrants to the West #3
  4. Migrants to the West #4
  5. Migrants to the West #5
  6. Migrants to the West #6

To be continued

Group of faces of many different kinds

People of different professions and races finding each-other

Uniting with other Peacebloggers

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Please do find also to read:

  1. Love Ain’t What It Used To Be
  2. And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers.
  3. Therefore God exists and Christians go Bad
  4. Thirst for happiness and meaning
  5. God of gods
  6. Childish or reasonable ways
  7. Liberal and evangelical Christians
  8. Vile language and behaviour plus little secrets
  9. Alternative four letter words
  10. The Y generation in conflict with itself
  11. Judeo-Christian values and liberty
  12. Manifests for believers #5 Christian Union
  13. The World framed by the Word of God
  14. The world is but a great inn
  15. Seeing the world through the lens of his own experience
  16. If we view the whole world through a lens that is bright
  17. Self inflicted misery #9 Subject to worldly things
  18. Don’t Envy the World
  19. Words in the world
  20. How should we react against the world
  21. Blaming their circumstances for what they are
  22. Knowing where to go to
  23. Muslims should also Fear God
  24. An Ex-Muslim’s Open Letter
  25. Discipleship way of life on the narrow way to everlasting life
  26. The dark side of our earthly existence
  27. Last day of Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI
  28. No time for immorality
  29. Sexual Immorality
  30. Adulterous Divorce
  31. How To Abide [Plug In]
  32. If you have integrity
  33. Paradox of Religious Toleration

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  • Frans de Waal: Morality Without Religion (ingeniouspress.com)
    A long tradition of thinking tells us that due to man’s animal nature we need to have order imposed from above, in the form of religion. Without religion, we could not live together, and that is why all human societies believe in the supernatural and have developed one religion or another. This view, which the biologist and primatologist Frans de Waal calls Veneer Theory, is an essentially pessimistic view “that morality is a thin veneer over a nasty human nature.”
    +
    In northern Europe the majority of people are not religious anymore. When you ask them they say they’re nonbelievers. And they still have a moral society as far as I can tell. And so there is a sort of experiment going on there — can we set up a society where religion is not dominant at least? It may be present but it’s not dominant anymore, there is still a moral society. And until now I think that experiment is going pretty well. And so I am optimistic that religion is not strictly needed. But I cannot be a hundred percent sure because we’ve never really tried — there is no human society where religion is totally absent so we really have never tried this experiment.
  • Fundamentalism Today (leightonknapp.wordpress.com)
    There has been much talk about “fundamentalism” in my lifetime. And while Islamic extremists and Christian ignoramuses justly qualify, I think it’s important that we seek to broaden our understanding of what constitutes a fundamentalist worldview. Fundamentalism is about so much more than strict adherence to religious doctrine.
  • Buddhism’s Inner Peace (stockfessor.wordpress.com)
    Since childhood, I have come to know Buddhism through practice and observation. Later, I was enrolled in a Catholic high school and got baptized three years hence with no objection from my mother.
    +
    The Buddhist church respects other religions and harbors no bias toward any of them. It never insists its Gods are the only true gods. It never says that only Buddhism can save your soul. It never calls people of other faiths gentiles, pagans, or infidels. It never advocates violence or injustice toward people with beliefs that conflict with its own doctrines. It never insists its Gods created the universe and the human race. Hence it readily embraces modern scientific discoveries about the universe and evolution rather than being hostile to them.
  • “I’m OK you’re not OK” – Understanding religious exclusivism (bennasmith.wordpress.com)
    Christians claim that Jesus spoke the truth about God. Jesus, in turn, claimed “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:7 NIV). This certainly comes across as very exclusive.
  • The Meaning of Life: the Alpha Course vs. Philosophy (stephenlaw.blogspot.com)
    It is sometimes claimed, with some justification, that religion encourages people to take a step back and reflect on the bigger questions. Even many non-religious people suppose that a life lived out in the absence of any such reflection is likely to be rather shallow. Contemporary Western society is obsessed with things that are, in truth, comparatively worthless: money, celebrity, material possessions, etc. Our day-to-day lives are out often lived out within a narrow envelope of essentially selfish concerns, with little or no time given to contemplating bigger questions. It was religious tradition and practice that provided the framework within which such questions were once addressed. With the loss of religion, we have inevitably slid into selfish individualism. If we want people to enjoy a more meaningful existence, we need to reinvigorate religious tradition and practice (some would add that we need, in particular, to ensure young people are properly immersed in such practices in school).
  • The Myth of Religious Tolerance (jkw00d.wordpress.com)
    coexistI recently had a friend express to me the hurt he felt that his Christian family did not accept his alternate religious beliefs.   He then went on to explain that his own religious views did not require everyone else to abandon their views in favor of his.  His consternation at the closed-mindedness of Christian proselytizing was clear.  The pain and distress experienced by my friend was real and evident, and I expressed my sincere sympathy with what they were going through.So why can’t we all just get along?  I’m sure you’ve seen the “Coexist” bumper sticker before (see the image above): each of the letters are formed to represent a religious or other ideological view.  The implication is that these ideologies have not been doing a good job of peacefully coexisting, and that world would be better if we all just got along.  Is that a fair interpretation of the message being communicated here?  Isn’t this also the message expressed by my friend?
  • Why Religion Got It Wrong (druidsanctuary.blogspot.com)
    in studying some of the more modern religions, such as Wicca, I’ve also come to find that they as well have parallels to the ancient religions that one would think a far more educated mind would have realized, doesn’t make too much sense.
  • Religious People that Actually Practice their Religion (expertscolumn.com)
    There are many thousands of religions in the world today. We expect religion to teach people how be better people, how to be people with good morals and high standards. The question is: how many people actually practice their religion, how many people put religion is action, how many religious people do we actually have to whom their religion is more than just words?
  • Uncle Eric is back! (whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com)
    religion, at its worst, is a form of ideological zealotry. This is what drives religious belief. No one who thinks of the scriptures of any religion as “teeming with quarrels, follies, jokes, reversals and paradoxes” will ever capture the religious imagination, which teems with unreflective passion and fervour instead, and looks to holy writ to support actions prompted by such religious emotion. Anyone who has managed a congregation of religious believers knows this. Academic discussion of the complexities of the scriptures is all very well, but it doesn’t bring in dollars, and it is dollars and numbers of ardent believers that allow religions to flourish or to be seen to flourish. And this leads to people who murder abortion providers or blow up people who are enjoying the exhilaration of watching a marathon. And dismissing those who do such things as outliers, or as individually radicalised, simply overlooks a central feature of all religion: that it is driven by a universalising enthusiasm that gives meaning only to the extent that others share it.
  • Is credit card debt like religious proselytizing? (nationaldebtrelief.com)
    evangelists hardly ever demonize people they hope to convert. Instead, they use a positive message of love. On the other hand, people who have serious credit card debt are often portrayed as weak-willed, stupid and morally bankrupt. For that matter, heroin addicts can get more sympathy. This is why a lot of people who are deeply in credit card debt just stick their heads in the sand instead of facing up to their problems and risking society’s displeasure.

About Marcus Ampe

Retired dancer, choreographer, choreologist Founder of the Dance impresario office and archive: Danscontact-Dansarchief plus the Association for Bible scholars, the Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" and "From Guestwriters" and creator of the site "Messiah for all". - Gepensioneerd danser, choreograaf, choreoloog. Stichter van Danscontact-Dansarchief plus van de Vereniging voor Bijbelvorsers, de Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" en "From Guestwriters" en maker van de site "Messiah for all".
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21 Responses to Migrants to the West #7 Religions

  1. Derico says:

    This is an incredible article, one which I’ll be returning to frequently!

    Like

  2. leightonknapp says:

    Thank you for the references, Marcus. I greatly appreciated your post.

    Like

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