Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Religious Quandry

Now here's a question. Is religion really just a mechanism for social control and, in particular, for promoting a socially conservative agenda? Is there any more, or other, to it than that?

I'm inclined to think that there is. And I have no sympathy with the standard socially conservative agenda--on sexuality, abortion or "family values." But what else is there to religion now, as it is on the ground? Culture Wars has shaped up into a conflict between a liberal, secular elite--whose "values" I support--and a socially conservative, religious proletariat, with whom I have no sympathy.

What do I do? Oh, yeah. The Episcopal Church is socially liberal. But the problem is that they're a bunch of politically correct dingbats and don't believe in God. So the church scene is just the secular society scene in microcosm. Religious believers who are socially conservative, i.e. they want me typing and filing, nurturing and doing womanshit vs. atheists who despise me for my religious beliefs. What a bummer!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

> Now here's a question. Is religion
> really just a mechanism for social
> control and, in particular, for
> promoting a socially conservative
> agenda? Is there any more, or other,
> to it than that?
>
> I'm inclined to think that there is.

I have always thought that religion, as a mundane thing, had two functions: Social cohesion (whether coercive or voluntary) and psychological integration (a looser concept). The outer world and the inner.

> And I have no sympathy with the
> standard socially conservative
> agenda--on sexuality, abortion or
> "family values." But what else is
> there to religion now, as it is on
> the ground?

"As it is on the ground ...". There's your problem, as they say.

If we can take the bible as reflecting truth about God in some way, He has always had problems with the extant religious establishment "on the ground". It's nothing new.

It may be that you have imprisoned yourself by looking for God where He isn't. I understand the desire for a corporate, aesthetic experience of God, but how far can one expect God to connect Himself to the mundane (which is what any religious establishment is) ? The key may be in your pocket.

> What do I do?

Step outside the false choice of, say, TEC versus the RCC and focus on the choice between the divine and the mundane. They are connected, but the connection has always been much less than perfect. Choose better.

Maybe wrap yourself in something like the Anglican Breviary (q.v.) as a personal devotion and then off to whatever religious music hall when you just need a Palestrina mass.

Or maybe a small home chapel. It's not the same of course, but it's an imperfect world. It may be better than nothing.

"Religion" often has little to do with the divine. Disconnect them, however works best for you.

The above is meant in a friendly and respectful way. Good luck.

H. E. said...

Thanks. Much appreciated.

I still have a lot of thinking to do.