Friday, November 14, 2008

Religious Dictates Versus Critical Thinking

One thing I have never understood about organized religion is why, if it's teachings are for the glorification of it's God and His teachings, do they find it necessary to threaten it's members with eternal damnation for thinking for themselves.

When it comes to the blurring between church and state, it seems the thinking individual comes up the loser.

On one side there is the very vocal Christian Conservative movement that has made worshipping God seem like a secondary cause to trying to influence legislation. Trying to translate what they choose to believe into law that we would all have to follow. Dictating from the pulpit how individuals should think, even vote. The antithesis of what this country is about. Freedom of religion is also freedom from religion should one so choose.

Now, I'm not a student of the intricacies of the various religions but I know overkill when I see it. There is the categorization of "sins" by the Catholic church from venial (forgivable) to mortal (a complete separation from God leading to eternal damnation). There is confession and penance which usually involves praying the rosary.

Now let's have a look at critical thinking. By definition:
Part of Speech: n
Definition: the mental process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information to reach an answer or conclusion
How can a person who chooses to think be faithful to his/her church? Take the example of the South Carolina priest who told his parishioners that if they voted for Obama they had taken a spiritual risk. This is what he said, "Voting for a pro-abortion politician when a plausible pro-life alternative exists constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil..." and "...the unholy slaughter of children in this nation is the greatest threat to the peace and security of the United States and constitutes a clear and present danger to the common good."

Talk about having nothing to fear but fear itself! That's all there is. Fear. Are religions so insecure in their beliefs and so afraid themselves that their members may actually think, all they can do to keep them in line is to instill fear?

What I don't understand is how a thinking person can buy into something as blatantly symbolic as praying the rosary to exonerate sin. Does it, in the eyes of the church, exonerate a Catholic who practices birth control then receives communion? Or for that matter, one who voted for Obama for a multitude of reasons more important to that individual than the fact that Obama believes in a woman's right to choose?

I understand, full well, why I have opted to exercise my spiritual side by recognizing and appreciating everything that surrounds me is so because of a power greater than my ability to understand. I'm quite comfortable with my little place in the universe and all that may be beyond. I've thought it through.


Word Tosser said...

This is why I don't fit in any commercial(for lack of a better word) religion .. see I don't believe that God is a vengeful God, I believe he is a loving God. Who watches us humans, who sin from time to time, and shakes his head, and yet opens his arms to those who try to do good..

Linda said...

I grew up in the middle of religion abuse. It was the source of a lot of pain in my life. The thing that keeps me going is that people like us still recognize it and resist. Unfortunately it's been present since the founding of our country.

Rinkly Rimes said...

As an unbeliever since 14 I find all religion distinctly odd. If God made me He made my doubting mind! Odder and odder!

joared said...

I think you make some excellent points any thinking person might want to consider when choosing a religious association or if they want one.