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Tony Grist

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Being Religious [Jul. 14th, 2005|09:39 am]
Tony Grist
It is said of one of the London bombers that he had recently "become more religious."

I grew up in a society where "religious" was always a praise word.

Going to church a lot, being a pal of the vicar's, helping to run some militaristic church youth group- these were all, in and of themselves, things worthy of praise. They were moral. They were good.

Morality and religion were all scrambled together. You could be sour, nasty, intolerant, ignorant, snobbish, small-minded, cruel, power-mad, not to be trusted round children, but if you were also "religious" you were automatically on the side of the angels.

It has taken me most of my life to undo this early conditioning.

And to realise that "being religious" is just a compulsion, taste or hobby like any other- and that "religious" people are no more to be counted on for moral behaviour than football supporters or stamp collectors or any other gang or group.

[User Picture]From: cdpoint
2005-07-14 03:33 am (UTC)
It's always the bloody people that ruin a religion.

Ergo, the best religion is one with no followers.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-07-14 04:03 am (UTC)
If you read the gospels as a text full of morally provocative- not to say- cheeky statements, that's fine, but if you then try to convert them into a rule book and raise an organisation on the back of that rulebook- well, you're in exactly the sort of mess we're in at present....
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From: sunfell
2005-07-14 05:41 am (UTC)
This might sound awful, but of late- in both Islamic and Christian senses- 'getting religious' is almost akin to becoming mentally ill. With the aggressive recruiting some of these churches (and mosques) do, where they suck in newbies and spit out fanatics, 'getting religious' is rapidly becoming a negative thing.

In my own life and encounters, 'religious' no longer automatically means 'good'. In fact, it means quite the opposite: a warning to mind my words and watch my back. The ones who are faithful and who do not wear it on their sleeves are OK- they are confident and comfortable enough in their faith not to have to get toxic with it. Happily, I know more people who are faithful than who are religious. I hope to keep it that way.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-07-14 06:10 am (UTC)
I used "religious" as a word with positive vibes until quite recently and was perfectly happy to apply it to myself. Not any more.

I guess the "War on Terror"- which I see as religiously motivated on both sides- is the thing that has made it obnoxious to me.

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-07-14 10:48 am (UTC)
It is possible for a Nazi to be cultured, but impossible for a Nazi to be a great artist.

Is this true? I should very much like it to be.

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[User Picture]From: seraphimsigrist
2005-07-14 07:09 am (UTC)

Islam and ecstasy and fever

A militaristic
youth group forsooth! seems a value judgment of some sort
unless it was Hitler Youth or something which
normally did not allow church membership..
at the least there is militarism and there is 'militarism'
this last used to mean 'something which I dislike'
But I would like to think of one thing to the side
but not irrelevant to the man becoming "more religious"

It is my impression that the religion of Islam has the
particular quality of being open to ecstasy/fever...
this impression of mine may come in part from having
more contact with the Sufi brotherhoods than with day to
day Islamic life...but it is not contradicted by time
in Istanbul or by other meetings with Muslims.
"Ole" comes from the cries of "Ya Allah!" as the excitment
of God as it were passes like a wind...In Islamic writers
a tendency to aflatus...all of this has a good side and
a bad side no doubt but in trying to understand what is
going on we perhaps need to be aware not only of the good
and in this case that becoming "more religious" in the
context of Islam can mean something like "contracting a fever"
perhaps a low grade one, perhaps not so low grade...

If you wish to say you Christians are disgusting and have
the salvation army or something, fair enough...
we are all human ...for worse as well as better
but I wonder if this is not a specific quality of Islam for
better but also for worse?
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[User Picture]From: seraphimsigrist
2005-07-14 07:14 am (UTC)


rereading I should add that given the ecstasy/fever
category one could also say in a better case that in
Islam becoming more religious might be like falling
in love but I suppose the case of this man to be more
of fever if not of 'falling in hate'

Of course becoming a member of the ethical culture
society for an ethnic I dont know what laplander or something
can also be a fever...not saying fever/ecstasy is anything
other than universally human but wondering if there is not
a particularly Islamic openness to the feverish?
just to share a thought yours
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[User Picture]From: pickwick
2005-07-14 07:51 am (UTC)
I hope morality and religion ARE becoming separate entities. It's the thing I find most frustrating about being an atheist; that people assume I can't have a moral core. Cos why would I be a good person if I didn't have a God telling me how to be? *bangs head against wall*
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From: saskia139
2005-07-14 08:16 am (UTC)
I try always to keep in mind--as a person who would, until recently, have described herself to most people as "religious", at least as a shorthand--that some of the kindest, most compassionate, most ethical people I know are also atheists.
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[User Picture]From: mummm
2005-07-14 09:05 am (UTC)
I noticed long ago that some of the nastiest, most judgmental people attended church regularly. I really hope that did them some sort of good in the long run.

BUT, there were also some really nice people there.

You are most certainly correct, but hopefully not completely. I guess we need to see things in that light?

Note: I am really not very "religious". I believe in some of the basic philosophy but I tend to pick and choose.

I just like... good-hearted, non-violent, love thy neighbor type people!
*Am I a closet hippie?*
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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2005-07-14 09:23 am (UTC)
YOu are a good person. Isn't that what's important?

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-07-14 10:38 am (UTC)
Yes indeed! And what was particularly shocking was the way the Church tried to hush things up and, in many cases, simply moved the offending priests to other posts where they were free to continue their abusing children.
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[User Picture]From: seaslug_of_doom
2005-07-14 12:07 pm (UTC)
"religious" people are no more to be counted on for moral behaviour than football supporters or stamp collectors or any other gang or group
Stamp collectors are particularly amoral. Profligate philatelists.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2005-07-14 01:50 pm (UTC)
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