- 8 years ago
- Wedding: July 2013 - UK
Summary: I believe that FAITH is not a choice. You have it or you do not. This is at the core of my religious politics because, quite simply, if faith is NOT a choice then one cannot discriminate on the basis of it’s presence or absence. One could argue that RELIGION is a choice, but it is one which is enormously culturally mediated. By this I mean that, provided you have faith, you are vastly more likely to channel it into the religion of the area you grew up in. Therefore… how much of a choice are you really expressing?
To criticise the expression of that faith can, therefore, potentially be a racist act, seeing as the believer’s country and culture of origin help to shape their religious path. People realise this, to an extent, when they criticise religion, because they tend to shy away from criticising religions which have non-white majority followers (eg Sikhism). I also remember from the other thread that a poster made a valid point: over the centuries, people who have attempted to expunge Judaism have usually done it by trying to expunge the Jewish race. There is certainly an intertwining of race and religion which makes it a very sensitive topic to unravel. One needs to tread carefully.
2. “Having an anti-religious reading doesn’t reinforce hundreds of years of institutional oppression and discrimination.” The problem with simply existing in this world is that one has to interact with organisations and individuals in order to survive. For example, I have a bank account, despite the fact that almost every bank is associated with amoral business practises in multiple ways. I simply cannot survive in the 20th century without dealing with at least one of these institutions.
For those with faith, dealing with a religious institution, no matter what mistakes it has made, is often considered essential for their spiritual wellbeing. Sure, you could choose not to attend a church, but you could equally choose not to wear clothes made in sweatshops, or made in ways which affect the environment (ie use bleaches and chemicals). The fact is that people do choose to wear such clothes, and they do choose to attend church. It is very hard not to. In the same way, it is very hard to make 100% ethical choices all the time in a world which is, in many ways, profoundly unethical.
If one cannot disengage, the ethical choice is to improve our organisations through constructive critique. I have learned throughout my life that picketing banks for their unethical business practises, or saying that we should “smash capitalism”, is an empty and unrealistic rhetoric. A more intelligent approach is to focus our energies on positive reform. The power of global capital can be used for good or evil, much in the same way that the power of global religion can be. Don’t forget that religious organisations have worked for centuries championing the poor and feeding the needy, for all their faults.
When was the last time your bank did that?