Monday, January 15, 2007

UK poll: Religion does more harm than good

According to a recent poll conducted in The Guardian paper from the UK, more British feel that religion in their society causes harm rather than good. Read about it in more depth here

In spite of how dauntingly anti-religious these statistics may appear, i'd say that what's even more telling is that Britain is generally thought of as being far more religious than continental Europe, which is in turn more religious than the nearly totally secular nordic nations, against whos statistics the UK probably looks like mandated al-Qaeda opinion polls.

So what does a "religious" person such as myself think about that kind of poll. Well, there are a couple of things that I believe allow a person to be faithful and yet acknowledge that massive popular perceptions aren't without merit.

1. I agree with them that religion causes a lot of tensions. But I wonder if we're being a bit presumptive in assuming that "causing tension" must be a negative. most vibrant religions should cause a bit of tension in the sense that the person shouldn't feel at ease with their life if they're disobeying commandments. I'm not so quick to accept that secularism's core values of equality, fraternity, and ease of living are beyond question. It strikes me that the logical conclusion of this mindset is an introverted society: It causes no friction or rift in interpersonal relationships, but it's not really growth or society-oriented either. Obviously in a country where 2/3 of the people are professed Secular, the infringement of another religion besides Secularism which challenges their values is received the same way that established churches treat upstart sects who evangelize on their territory.

2. "Religion" per se is too easily lumped together. It encompasses everything from a couple of hippies pouring some milk and honey on the ground to the Goddess to rubrical Orthodox Jews fulfilling every part of minutia in their elaborate burial rites.

3. As Christian Orthodox theologian john Romanides once said "religion is a sickness". I believe that in the sense that Romanides meant it: It's a kind of meme that we're pre-programmed with by our creator. As the Evangelicals used to say "your soul has a Jesus-sized hole in it". So yes, religion per se is not a good thing. Good religion is the key. A faith which reveals the truth of our existence and the immanence of God's unseen kingship. In short, false religions are just falsehoods like anything else, whereas good religions can truly be the light of the world.


Post a Comment

<< Home