Monday, October 13, 2014

True Religion vs. True Politics

Where are the boundaries?

Faith and belief are personal, I suppose.
We acknowledge truth and build our personal convictions as an issue of good conscience; they can't be required of us by others.  True?

Then there are rules.  Imposed, mostly.  Rules for membership, for being 'in' the religion.
And there are rules about everybody outside the group.  But these don't have much to do with faith and belief.

Then there is the money for government of the group and its rule.  There is a lot of money required for salaries and buildings, governing bodies and meetings and mountains of literature; all business and corporation-type things that cost money.  It's big business, or it can be.

Then there are the speeches and policies to keep people in line.  Politics, really.
And then there are more speeches and policies to persuade others into compliance or out of the way.  Is that like propaganda?

Then there are the campaigns and conquests, harsh activities where religion says people have to get on board or die.  At the extremes, it's deadly.

It first occurred to me to ask these questions as I sat on a hillside in Spain watching our softball game.  A bunch of young folks from several churches had informally started playing on that sunny afternoon.  Everybody was hot and sweaty and laughing a lot as we only occasionally made a good hit or a good catch or play.  The exception; the ladies from one church sat on the hillside in their long homemade skirts and head scarves.  Their rules didn't allow them to wear sports clothes or play baseball.

That's okay, I suppose, but how far do rules and rule makers get to go with that thinking?  Is there a known limit?  And is compliance with such rules the choice of the believer?  Or are such rules imposed on the group by those who rule?

True religion's heart, we're told, watches over those in need and works hard to avoid being corrupted by the culture in which we must live. 
(The culture's ways?  The culture's governance and rule and intolerance and its willingness to deprive another of life and of a chance to find the good part?)

"Real, true religion from God the Father's perspective is about caring for the orphans and widows who suffer needlessly and resisting the evil influence of the world."
I recall being told that the practical work of the catholic church, things like hospitals and schools and charities to feed the poor, those are all secular and don't count for anything because they're not spiritual.  

It requires a bit of a sense of humor to make a place for such thinking, perhaps.  It's not funny, though; not funny at all.