Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Take it on faith...

Thinking about my mother's faith after our phone conversation yesterday. And a picture that my sister posted of Dad where she talked about what a great man of God he was. And thinking about a friend who posted about her religion and how different it is from theirs. Then read a story about the SBC issuing their latest proclamation on "you can't make us accept gay marriage any more than we accepted interracial marriages!" (though eventually they did, after apologizing for the whole pro-slavery stance that they were founded on...but quibbles...) Add to that the news that American Gods is going to be made in to a television series and I have religion on the brain.

Religion is always interesting to me. Not just because I was raised very religious and left the church. Not just because I am the only member of this generation in my family that is not religious. Not just because I have lived in parts of the country that are extremely religious and now live in one of the least religious cities in America. Not just because I have friends who represent all sorts of different faiths. Not just because I find that often I know more about someone's religion than they do. They have the faith part of their belief down, but often have no idea about certain parts of their religion's history or even important passages in their religious books. Or even how closely most of the world's religions hew to each other. How much they borrow from each other. Not just because often someone will say that they are a certain faith and you ask them the last time they went to church and they have no idea...

It's not interesting to me for just those things, but those things add to it. It's interesting to me because I enjoy a good story. And most religions have good stories. Not just the creation myths, but the actual story of why that faith is practiced now. Most religions aren't as old as people think they are. At least not the form that they are practicing. They like to think it's tied in to some ancient belief but most often it's only a few hundred years old. Protestants? You think over 2000 years ago...try around 500. That's a big difference. There is usually a "yes but it CAME from antiquity..." story that goes along with it. Neo-paganism is a big one for this. It's all a recreation of what they think was practiced before, but they don't really know. They just believe. The whole faith thing. And then there is Mormonism which isn't even as old as the United States. Though part of their story includes a visit by Jesus to this part of the world as well as his hanging out in what's now the Middle East.

See? The stories are interesting.

The problem I have with religion is when people want to force their stories on me or in to my legal system. That's when I get in arguments and have issue. But for the most part I think if you have your religion and your faith and your beliefs and they bring you comfort, that's great. What ever you have in your life that brings a level of joy to you that doesn't negatively impact others is excellent. And I know for a lot of people that is their religious belief. But to me it really is just a story. And your story isn't any more important than someone else's story.

That's important to understand. You have to realize that you are sneering at someone else's implausible story while holding on to yours. Why do you think that there is any more chance of Noah's Ark being an actual thing than a tribe of ancient Israelites making it to the new world in a pre-Colombian age? You accept your own stories and reject others. I get it. But it doesn't make your story right and their story wrong. It just means that's the story you believe and the system you bought in to.

That's what it's like to look at religion from the outside peering in. I see that your stories are great for you, and their stories are great for them, but none of them make a whole lot of sense when you break them down. But they are still interesting to read.

I do love a good story.

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