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Sun, March 13, 2011
What Does It Mean To Be Religious?
By Rabbi Alan Lurie
The Religion section of The Huffington Post is a unique site, where people from diverse backgrounds and positions can openly discus issues of religion and faith. In reading many of the comments it is plain to see how these issues arouse heated passions, and while there is much intelligent and respectful interchange, there are also those whose stated goals are the elimination of religion (or, at least, the Abrahamic faiths), and the denigration of any approach to the existence of a Creator. And there are (very few, for some reason) commentators who take the opposite position that their religion contains all truth.
Most of the religion writers that I've read on HuffPost, including me, are moderates -- if not liberals -- in our approach to religion, faith, and God. Yet, based on many, many comments there often seems to be an assumption that we, and by extension, all religious folks, share a common view of religion and faith that is essentially fundamentalist and literal. Below is a list of these assumptions, culled from many comments over two years of blogging:
- Faith means blindly accepting dogma, even in the face of contrary evidence.
- Belief in God means imagining that there is a "man in the sky", or some kind of physical superbeing that watches and judges us.
- Religious followers believe that every word of holy texts is literally true, and that all characters and actions in the Bible are set forth as examples of the right way to live.
- Each religion, by definition, claims that its way is one Truth and only "path to salvation".
- Religious folks reject and condemn the tenants of other religions.
- Anyone who prays is either asking for physical objects or obvious miracles.
- Religious folks want to convert all others to their religion.
- Religion, by definition, is antagonistic to science and reason.
- Religions focus primarily on reward in the afterlife.
- Religion conveniently ignores the reality that bad things happen to good people.
- A religious person has stopped struggling with life and claims to have found all the answers needed.
- All religious folks condemn homosexuality, sex before marriage, interfaith and interracial marriages, and other progressive societal advances.
- God is a hypothesis to explain natural phenomenon that we do not currently understand; the so-called "God of the Gaps" theory.
- Different religions worship different gods.
- All religious folks condemn atheists.
It is time to raise the bar in the conversation about religion and faith, with the knowledge that most people, whether religious, agnostic, atheist, or whatever-ist, truly do want to do what is right, to find and express love, to live a life of purpose, and to be in meaningful relationship with others. It is good to question and challenge those with whom we disagree, but we deserve more than pithy catch phrases, caricatures of those who we have defined as our enemy, and the childish need to win. Human beings can be glorious creatures who, through conscious choice, can bring healing to the world, and we need to all do this together.
This is an interesting and timely article, worth reading, and worth comment by Urantia Book readers. Please click HERE to see the whole article...it seems that there is a great need to re-define religion.
The Urantia Book is a valuable resource to discover what real religion is, how it works in the individual, and its value in human life and civilization. Please click HERE to explore the many facets of religion in Truthbook's topical study
Link to External Source Article
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