Thursday, January 19, 2012

Religion isn't the problem... (A Rant. A Response. Not Spoken Word.)

I suppose because I'm not as on top of things as I'd like to be--or because I just don't have time for this kind of B.S.; I didn't catch this video until recently. It's the spoken word video called "Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus."
I know a lot of people have responded to this...and , well...whatever. But this whole spiritual but not religious thing that has infected society is really something with which I have beef. So, in the event that anyone reads this, and you disagree with me, here's my premise:
*cue overdone artsy video footage in sepia*
Jesus didn't come to abolish religion.
In fact, we read that he was faithful in attending synagogue, and even participating in synagogue worship. His family made trips to Jerusalem (a religious necessity for God's people). And, aside from the few times we see him challenging the cultural norms that oppressed people, he was an authority on midrash and Torah. whoops.
Guess the revolution is over. Edginess and angst (a word often misused) aborted.
Here is my point. Our relationship with God is not only our own. If it were, that would be a great excuse for isolationism. Isolationism as we know from the DSM IV can easily lead to socio-pathology. Isolation is also a result of sin. So, what we can derive from this is that our vocation as Christians is based solidly in relationship and community. God as Trinitarian is the model for perfect union in community, and as creatures created in God's image, perhaps we should strive to live more fully in community...?
Now, the tricky part about relationship is that there needs to be more than 'feel-goods' holding us together in community. What I mean is that we need more than just orgasmic worship experience and fluttery hearts to keep true relationships going. If there isn't something more, we become gigolos or whores to false religious experience--maybe even junkies. We always need the next fix, but are never transformed by the experience.
So, this is where we come to the issue of religion. Religion is not the problem. It has become a scapegoat for us to ignore our responsibility to God and one another--you know, a mature relationship?
Sure, people abuse religion and power--but we already know that. And to say that wars are started over God and religion is only to say that we don't want to take responsibility for our own actions and in-actions. That said, I refuse to stop driving a car because of the number of bad drivers, drunk drivers, or other causes of vehicular deaths... Get my point?
Here's my point about religion. I'll use my marriage as an example.
When I married my wife, it was because we love one another, we're attracted to one another, and we get all of the 'feel-goods' and heart flutters that come with relationships. At our wedding, we invited people to hear us take vows. Those people help us to live into those vows. We took the vows because the truth is that there are times when I'm pretty tough to live with... I'm not quite as attractive as I was in my twenties. I've gotten worse about doing cute little things to commemorate stupid little events in our relationship.
I'd imagine it can get pretty tough for my wife to dig up those feel-goods when I'm short tempered, or otherwise insufferable.
Luckily for us, we have these vows. We have this covenant between the two of us, and with God and with our friends who were there to keep trying, even in the tough times.
The problem with being spiritual but not religious means that we can have as many partners as we want... When the magic of celebrating those sentimental little events lose their appeal--we go to the next fuzzy-wuzzy...
Where's the relationship? There sure as hell isn't any responsibility.
That's all for now.

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