Religion. It’s supposed to have something to do with belief in God or spirituality or something like that. It may be one of those things but if you ask 5 people their definition, you’ll probably get 20 different answers.
A lot of people say they’re religious and they may even try to explain what that means. Evidently it doesn’t have to mean they go to church regularly except in times of crisis. Then suddenly people seem to go and pray regularly.
I remember a lady I was with who wasn’t close to her mother. We were breaking up and I hadn’t seen her in a while but we ran into each other downtown. I asked her how she was doing. She said, “Not good.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. What’s up?”
“My mom has cancer and she’s dying.”
“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.”
“Yeah, it’s tough. I’ve been feeling like going to church.”
“Really? I thought you gave up the church a long time ago.”
“Yeah, my parents stopped going when I was a kid because the Pope didn’t believe in birth control and they didn’t want to have any more kids.”
“Oh, yeah. I remember you saying that. So, you’re gonna go back to church, huh?”
“Well, I haven’t gone yet but I was thinking about it.”
“Sure, if that helps.”
What I find interesting is that a lot of people who profess to be religious say they want to live like and follow their spiritual leaders (Jesus Christ, The Dali Lama or whoever they may try to follow) and who usually profess to live by the Golden Rule or at least to be kind and loving to other people including people they don’t know, which is what all religions are supposedly based upon but at the same time, the same people believe in the economic system of Capitalism, which is based upon selfishness and greed. How can they believe in both?
What I always think I’d like to ask people who consider themselves religious is, “Would your spiritual leader be a capitalist or a socialist?” Which is not an easy question to ask since the connotation in our society of socialism is usually not good but the connotation of capitalist is not only good but is aspired to.
I’m sure they wouldn’t especially like the question and I’ve never asked anyone that but as I see it capitalism is based upon accumulating wealth as an end in itself and socialism as a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole and not just by the wealthy. Which one would their spiritual leader believe in?
The next question I wish I could bring myself to ask religious Republicans is: Would their spiritual leader be a Republican or a Democrat? Republicans today are characterized by typically right-wing, conservative beliefs including, but by no means limited to, pro-business policies, lack of dependence on the government in daily life, religious convictions, and desire to outlaw what they deem socially undesirable actions.
While Democrats want to instigate change and reform. They believe the past was flawed and look more toward a future of change and innovation, usually involving more government action and assistance. This makes the party appealing to some key groups who hold an interest in seeing sweeping changes in the central government and country as a whole: I’d like to ask “religious” Republicans which one would their spiritual leader be?
I realize the questions wouldn’t be appreciated so I don’t ask but I must say I do think about asking.