November 16, 2007


Let's set aside for a moment the rule of thumb: never talk about religion, politics, or sex. Well, in the blogging world everyone talks about sex and lots and lots talk about politics. I haven't happened across many blogs addressing religious issues, but it could be I just have an instinctual aversion to them.

Today I'd like to give you my opinion of organized religion. That's organized religion, not spirituality, faith, or the actual existence of a supreme being. I've kept my opinions on organized religion to myself in my real life simply to avoid the head shakes of pity coming from my family (one member is a nun!) and other devout church goers; today I'm going to come out with it, even though I'm fairly certain my views are shared by many.

To me, organized religion is nothing more than a bunch of people coming together and practicing rituals, listening to readings, singing songs, and sharing similar beliefs that make them all feel good. It's strictly a psychological phenomenon. A religion gives them hope. A religion inspires them try to behave nicely, whether out of fear of damnation or aspirations to be more "God-like." Going to church makes some people feel good about themselves. They are happy to belong to a community. The fantastical beliefs of miracles and an afterlife give them a sense of peace and security.

It doesn't matter what the religion, from Judism to Scientology, the results are the same. Members belong because the psychological effects of practicing a specific organized religion, for them, are positive.

I'm all for happy people. If going to church once a week makes someone a happy person, then by all means, they should go to church. I'm going to stop here, because the tangents I could follow are so numerous and controversial I would most certainly be unable to articulate them.

The purpose of stating my opinion on this matter was inspired by the news regarding the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I'll spare you my attempts to explain the origins and intentions of this magnificent "religion" and simply direct you to this article.

Intelligent design vs. science: what do we teach our children in school? A little of both, the general consensus has been. Where is separation of state? Intelligent design, in my opinion, should be taught at home, at church, at catechism, at least when it comes to kids grades K-12. The Pastaforians argue that their Flying Spaghetti Monster is just as conceivable as God, Buddah, Allah and all the other supreme beings responsible for the inexplicable, and should be included in the intelligent design vs. science teachings in school, if indeed it is determined intelligent design remains in the classroom. They will present that point to the scholars attending the American Academy of Region annual meeting in San Diego this weekend. And what is even more encouraging is the fact that the Academy of Religion is actually allowing them to present their views. Will the Academy come to any conclusions to the question of what actually defines a religion? Will that definition determine what is taught in schools?

I think it is brilliant for someone, a group of people, to approach these heavy and controversial religious issues with a sense of humor. I'm also quite partial to their rendering of the Almighty Flying Spaghetti Monster.

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