“PS, I am speaking with you, not at you. I think you and I share a very similiar mindset from the sound of your post”
Yeah, I really hate how all the replies use the @ symbol. It’s so rude. It should really be “to”. I never used to use it, but then the links don’t work properly.
I’m not so sure that religion is used solely to control… I think that anything which causes great emotional attachment can be used as a tool of control. This includes politics, cultural norms, and even things like the idea of family. That doesn’t mean the concept is flawed, but that manipulative people seek to use the things people hold dear against them.
I soon realised in Malaysia that all this “Islam this, Islam that” political stuff had one thing in common… it had nothing to do with Islam whatsoever. What’s more, most if the politicians spinning this spiel didn’t really care about Islam at all. They were just using it because it was something that a lot of people hold dear. By creating a threat… from Christians, from the Chinese, from Western culture… they could push through laws more easily, because people were scared. Then, the minority groups respond angrily… and the majority now feel threatened! So now the politicians can exploit that as well! But if there was no Islam, believe me… it would be something else. It would be Malay nationalism, in fact…
I suppose I’m lucky that the UK is really a very secular society, despite having no official divide between church and state. We’re C of E on paper, but in reality then we are a very mixed/chilled out bag, religion wise. This is why I sometimes get very cross with hardcore UK atheists, because they don’t know how lucky they are (and also because the ones of my acquaintance feel absolutely free be so incredibly obnoxious… obviously so can anyone, but I have several tactless ones in my extended circle, and I find it pretty tough going at times).
I LOVE Francis. He’s such an inspiration, and I love how he stands up to the religious right. I honestly think the sun shines out of his arse, and I’m not even a Catholic! DH (who is Catholic) doesn’t get it… I never rated Justice of the Peace2 really, so he doesn’t understand why I prefer Francis. Stupid DH… give me a caring ministry over academic dogma every time!
I really hope that there will be serious changes inspired by him.
What I find interesting about your reply is this: how connected should politics and religion be? I think they shouldn’t be connected to party poliitics at all… but if we take every action to be a political one (in the small ‘p’ sense of the word), then a form of religious living which is a whole lifestyle choice (not just something you do on Sundays) would automatically be a political act.
I was always really impressed by how Islam is a whole lifestyle thing, and I think Christianity should be about making ethical choices as well… buying local, seasonal produce… supporting ethical companies… considering how to spend their time and money to help others. The problem is that there is so little widespread support out there to facilitate this. My religious community has always been all about the ethical choices… the UK churches were amongst the first to promote fair trade and to try to eradicate vulture funds, for example. But there is very little publicity outside the immediate church community, which I think is a problem. This is why I love Francis’ two fingers up to capitalism… it’s definitely the spirit in which I was raised!
I think churches should have an opinion about everything, but that it should be a compassionate one…
I guess from your POV I’m just as bad as the religious right, LOL! I see the point… but I think there’s more to politics than party politics, just as there’s more to morality than religion.