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Friday, 11 November 2011

Religion versus spirituality

The leader of the Catholic Church in Dublin is getting into a hissy fit about the fact that Ireland has closed down its embassy in the Vatican. Yes, some countries have embassies in the Vatican.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny says the decision was made purely on cost-cutting grounds.

“But Archbishop Diarmuid Martin’s latest comments [about the closure] will only fuel the suspicion that relations between Church and State are at an all time low,” says Irish Central.

Martin, you see, has a problem with the fact that some people see religion as a private thing, and thinks it ought to be an inseparable, joined-at-the-hip part of national life.

Not happy with having the freedom to practise their religion (which is as it should be), not happy with having special privileges, tax breaks and the ear of government, these bloody idiots think it ought to be imposed on everyone, and that their tax euros should be spent on upholding an embassy in La-La Land. Here’s a further taste of what this idiot’s statement says:
Societies like our own where faith and the Christian life once flourished and faith communities were strong are now undergoing a far-reaching transformation.
The reality of God is slowly being eclipsed and people are living their lives as if God does not exist. It is not so much an atmosphere of hostility towards faith but an attitude of indifference or one which tolerates a presence for God in the private lives of individuals but much less within the realities of our society.
Some who felt that religion was destined to be relegated to the purely private sphere are surprised by the fact that religion has come back to centre stage in international relations. [Has it?]
This is not just about a surge in forms of fundamentalism. Faith is not just part of the problem; religion is so central in the life and mentality of many that it cannot but be part of the solution to central problems of international relations today.
Well, for one thing, international relations might be a lot better off if the complication of religion were taken out the equation. It’s just noise.

For another thing, he’s mixing up God with religion. People have all kinds of ideas about the origins of the universe and whether some kind of noncorporeal progenitor might have been bored and decided to get out the Play-Doh.

The thing is, we’ll never know.

But look what an unholy mess religion has made of the idea, with its Babel of conflicting ideas and ideals. So God, if you believe in one, is a personal thing, because he/she/it has so many versions that it’s impossible to impose him/her/it universally.

But these believers in fairies think they have a special place in the world, and should be central to all things.

I can go along with the idea of spirituality, because it doesn’t have to imply things beyond the experienced world, and one can get a spiritual experience out of a Beethoven symphony or some electro-synth, out of a DalĂ­ painting or out of a toke on a spliff (try all three at once: it’s like, wow, man).

It can also rely on a belief in the supernatural.

Either way, it’s very personal. But these dictators who want to shove their ideas down the throat of every citizen make me suddenly want to develop warm feelings towards Hitler.

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