Why Will Religion Not Make Itself Meaninfgul or Relevant?
I am absolutely appalled at Lisa Egan’s recent experiences despite having had to cope with a wheelchair since birth, speaking on Channel 4’s 4thought.
It is in striking contrast to the responses so far filmed, of sufferers in the Philippines, which is a deeply Catholic area. It is understandable, when austerity affects so many, that a panicked sense of care for self should reduce the willingness, or the amount of generosity of alms, if not of spirit but for any person to be treated in the way Lisa is perceiving and quoting as experiencing is wholly unacceptable.Yet in reality great alms have been recieved for both UK's Children in Need and the Philippines as well as generous support from the British government and these are all historically Protestant biased.
Let’s be straight up, unlike many Islamists who really do live their religion, many Christians pay more lip service to the principles, rather than the day-to-day living of their faith. However, outward surface appearance can just as easily cover a perfunctory performance as any other demonstration of faith. Essentially, faith is between the believer and their God and need not be observable to the wider world, unlike some Islamists, who prefer to demonstrate their faith in dressing as Christian nuns who have not modernised their habits. Yet Christianity has always had an attitude of bolstering and pushing its converts and thrusting its views.
In so far as external demonstrations of belief are concerned, religion generally seems determined to decry its own worth. The Church of England was started by a woman and a woman today is at its head but it will not allow women to be bishops. What absurdity. The Church of Rome will not let women even be priests and that principle applies to Islam. Rome is as irrational as it is wilfully irresponsible on denouncing contraception, even as elementary medical hygiene, let alone either as a means of controlling, not just over-population but the economic viability of family life. This purported Christian organisation would rather see a family crushed by economic poverty, than reach up to higher aspirations for those fewer children any responsible family unit determines it wants. However, latest pronouncements (but don’t be fooled) indicate that four centuries too late Rome is beginning to think. On the other hand, how is the pope to know of congregants' views unless via their priests and we all know how corrupt is that church's administration! Whose views will then be put forward?
Religion claims to represent God but does not define that concept. According to religion God created all, including humanity in His image and humanity has the capacity to be rational, therefore God must be rational, so why does religion deny its own claimed truth by being irrational?
The UK is a Christian country, with extraordinary tolerance for those of differing views, so Lisa is justified in assuming the people being unChristian towards her and her disability are Christian-orientated. Regretfully, that could be true but not necessarily so. There are many of spiritual awareness who simply have no time for the nonsense that religion persists in throwing in the path of common sense. They do not declare themselves through archaic styles of dress or gender prejudice, they just are and it seems Lisa has experienced an unfortunate run of presumed such labellable people, lacking in the conviction of their human reality. Possibly being even more disadvantaged than she is, because they have never opened their eyes to what is around them daily, noticing, let alone interacting, with people like Lisa.
However, we all have individual experiences. I recall an extraordinary day in London when nearly half a dozen people offered to help me up stairs with my case, or offered me a seat on the tube. I declined because I was in good fettle on that day and was rather enjoying pushing my abilities. I declined in a manner I hoped conveyed my appreciation of their intention to help, so as not to discourage them from the principle of offering help to someone else on another occasion but should I have simply accepted that help, even though I did not need it? Would that have been a better communal response?
I remember seeing a person being led by a dog for the blind seemingly perplexed by the gate mechanism on a station. I intervened, endeavouring to help by explaining where the gate was. “Yes, I can see it, thank you!” Seeing my look of astonishment she said, “I’m training him.” Then she made a point of being appreciative of my intentions, so as not to discourage me from coming forward in the future should I have encountered an actually blind person. One doesn’t always think through that a dog for the blind needs to be trained by an able and sighted person!
The concept of multiculturalism avoids the realities of truth. The term “multiculturalism” hides the fact the UK is no longer a Christian country [perhaps now one should say Christian-orientated country] with a wide toleration for different views but a secular society, as Sir James Munby, a senior judge recently made clear. That necessitates accepting a diversity of views, with which many of the UK population are unfamiliar, at the core of the country’s raison d’être. Four centuries back we were behaving as stupidly as so many Islamists give us the impression of behaving today, with our separation from the Roman church. Today, the only restraint on our irrationality is the cloth of peaceful co-existence, woven through centuries of established but flexible and adaptable (and most importantly changing) government. The Northern Ireland situation proves that these matters cannot be settled overnight, however much the collective mood and intent is to resolve compassionately. We therefore have to bear with Islam and its problems within itself but if one is to be true to others one must first be true to oneself! Our society co-exists within the context of world time. The implications are that for practical reasons of diminishing world supplies and environmental changes we increasingly need to work together around the planet. If we look at our core aspirations, they include the humanity of existence. Humanity is based on religious concepts but, with few fringe exceptions, too much of religion is based on irrelevant, historical clerical twaddle and fails to deal rationally with a rationally Created Universe, which is the core of its own belief, as far as Christians are concerned.
In practical terms, as the EU persistently shows us, the natural desire of mammon is to smash down to the Lowest Common Multiple, instead of reaching up for the Highest Common Factor. Religionists likewise do not wish to demean what in their eyes is the superiority of their particular branch of religion. Yet most religions accept personal accountability but not necessarily from the same platform. Religion should be looking ahead, to the spiritual state to which its adherents hope to enter. It is logical that us mortals, in the reality of this plane of existence, should lead our society towards that same goal, in preparation for acceptance of what to them is mere extinguishment. Religion does not define its perceived goal, save in the basic Christian principles of Christ, which too much of the Christian religion ignores, diverting attention from the facts, preferring diverse mysterious explanations of the facts. So, where are we headed?
For now, we have merely religions’ exhortations to be “better” people. Fine. That works on both the spiritual and physical planes. Since religion believes there is a God Creator but fails to define the nature of God; and within its diversities religion both accepts and does not accept the reality of the world as practical science has established, then the balance of social validity cannot be based on religious moral values. It must be on secular rationality that future society’s relevant moral values must be based.
In that rationale it is secular society that has led the way, demanding total equality of opportunity, position and status across the genders; even now from Germany, which has formally recognised a third sex: those born of physical indetermination. This is something of which I was unaware, that so many children are regularly born with difficult to determine physical characteristics as to which sex they are. The new legal recognition is by no means perfect, as later redefinition has to take into account the mental and emotional proclivities of the growing child, wherein lies the potential for further confusion. How will the child be brought up? Will there not be a bias to one or the other sex by the parents, however objective they try to be?
What is becoming clearer and clearer is that it is secular society that is leading the way on moral values because religion will not proclaim support and praise for the reality of what the Creator created: the nature of His creation as it is, not as religionists choose to perceive it as being.
The EU may well have failed in secular leadership by failing to make illegal all acts of gender discrimination. It also failed to allow its people to agree on an ill-thought through currency, without looking first at the necessary political requirements. In that it countermanded its own intention of seeking a collective community by specifically creating division on economic terms. The EU also fails in its preoccupation with its own created world, failing to interact with the rest of the world completely openly. This specifically causes aggravation with the UK, since the UK for centuries has been world orientated and is not much concerned with the puerilities of its neighbours across the road. Whether, on a Christian basis, it should be more concerned with its neighbours is a moot point but what is certain is that secularly we are recognising the need for all to recognise ourselves globally, as one, diverse social reality. We must interact with one another, in all aspects of our global society, as neighbours and part of the same Creation. Religion has failed. Only secular aspects of society, dealing with Creation as it actually is can possibly save Creation on this plane of existence.
In no way does that deny spirituality but too much of structured religion has so denied Creation, rendering religion ineffective and bordering upon the meaningless. Only secular society can pick up the shambles of religion and weld a rational philosophy that is practicable. Christ tried, leading by example but religionists built a house according to their own interpretations in their times… and forgot the eternity of the man and His eternal world for whom they built the house, failing to explore further the nature of that eternal world, Christ proclaimed.