Saturday, September 13, 2014

Families of Faith and Religion

I respectfully submit that it is time that we draw the real line between faith and religion.

It seems to me that religions have always been about rituals and rules for behavior. Whether or not the people in the religious communities actually shared the same faith was, and is, immaterial. Religions, at best, create civil societies that can trust each others actions and commit to the same rules of bringing up offspring. The punishment for crossing the boundaries, at best, is banishment and restitution to the those harmed in the community.

The worst of religion is the formation of tribes who will watch as other members break all the boundaries of responsible, committed compassion and go to any means necessary to keep the community together. It is easier to hide the perpetrator than to admit that the hypocrisy of this behavior will destroy the bases on which the religions were formed. This is especially true when the leaders of the "tribes" are, in plain sight, the ones breaking the rules.

It seems to me to be okay to form community around any rules one wants, as long as the rules are consistently enforced. If a church doesn't want sex to happen outside of marriage between two opposite sex married-in-the church people, that is their prerogative, as long as all are held to the same, "no sex outside of church marriage" rules. The only way this should become a civil issue is when the religion is receiving support, in any form, from the civil society in which they operate.

One of the cardinal rules of civil disobedience is that those engaging in it must be willing to suffer the civil societies' rules for restitution.  There are too many hiding behind religious immunity while breaking the rules of the civil societies that are supporting them. This is the hallmark of hypocrisy.

Families of faith are something altogether different than religions. Families of faith share value systems by which they openly live their lives in community with like-minded others. It seems to me that our United States is becoming more a family of faith in the value of fairness as it moves away from religious self-righteousness. The beauty of democracy, as we purport to live it, in our country, is that anyone can become an entrepreneur and write their own rules for fairness in hiring and trade.

My faith is in the ideal of fairness, and those who treat each others in that manner are the only ones I wish to call family, friend, and fellow citizen of this earth.