Wednesday, March 11, 2009

World without religion

Tonight we had a discussion with a friend who started the conversation by saying she hates labels and boxes. Being labeled an African American so that must mean X. Or a single working mother so that must mean your financial situation is X. Or a lesbian so that must mean your relationships are all X. You get the point.

She lobbed the question - "Wouldn't it be great if there was no religion at all in the world?" If people just were free to be who they are and think what they think.

What about those who get comfort and belonging from religion? This, coming from me, who is not a religious person in the typical sense of the word.

Would it make the world a better place, or just a different place?


  1. I suppose it depends on how you view "religion." To me, I connect with religion at a grass roots level. I (sometimes) go to the church of my childhood faith. It's the same church where I buried my father. It's the same church where I taught Sunday school when my children were little and where my daughter was the most groovy angel ever to dance in the Christmas pageant. It's the same church where there's been a little scandal, a divorced clergy, a healthy debate about gay marraige (my mother was on the committee!) and a lot of pancake breakfasts.

    I go there and sing a little, meditate a little, participate in some beautiful, cultural rituals, hug a few people, listen to some moral tales and a little bit of philosophy, and get a lesson in history and morality and common sense.

    My religion (and I use the term rather loosely) keeps me connected to my community, to a sense of culture, and to beauty. It's fairly simple and rewarding when you get down to it, and I would suggest necessary to a healthy society.

  2. That is a beautiful sentiment. Pure and honest.
    Religion is a belief system - sometimes in morality and common sense. Often in community. Sort of like the bowling alley.

    To me it's about believing the spirit is in every one of us. How we show up each day is how it manifests. No ceremony, no rigor. Just how we live our lives.

  3. By the way, I subscribe to another religion that puts its sermons on cardboard coffee cups. It had a relevant sermon on my non-fat latte this morning :-)

    Starbucks: The Way I See It # 21

    People need to see that,
    far from being an obstacle,
    the world's diversity of languages, religions and
    traditions is a great treasure,
    affording us precious
    opportunities to recognize
    ourselves in others.

    --Youssou N'Dour

  4. Too perfect! As I walked through the Street Fair this morning at the College of the Desert with 2 of our poodles in tow, the religion of the canine was in full bloom. Fat people, old people, young people, injured people, athletic people, gay people, baby people, people from this land and other lands stopped to pet the girls. Tailor willing gave kisses and face licks, Olivia stood and showed off her bod. One woman was moved to tears, saying her poodle passed earlier in the year and was so thankful for some poodle time today. That love between human and dog is a unifying force no matter where we are from, or who we are, or how we look at the world.

    I recognized myself in many of those who stopped and shared their stories of loved furry friends. And as I did I thought so many of them may have been people whom I never would have met otherwise - our differences great, but really so small.