13 August 2012

Guest Post on Religious Illiteracy

I am pleased to offer here a first for my little blog, a guest post. Tracie Wilke is a serious student of the religious / spiritual landscape, not only in the US, but across the world. She is always articulate and thoughtful. In this lightly edited Facebook comment, she has I think nailed a problem with our cultures. I am pleased to publish it here.
Jim B.

People hear "Christian" and automatically equate it with "utter fundamentalist jackass."

People also use the very word "religion" as a synonym for "Christianity" but don't make that same connection with words like "Hinduism" or "Sikhism" or "Wicca" or "Unitarian Universalism" or "Judaism" or "Islam" or "Asatru" or whatever. Those are "spiritual paths" and they're somehow "different." I find that assertion completely ridiculous - they're all religions *and* spiritual paths.

Like I said, religious illiteracy in this country is completely ridiculous.

I think the religion/spirituality divide is fueled by nothing more than FEAR, FEAR, FEAR. Stop being afraid. Just cut it out. I think after the culture wars of the 1980s, people are so battered and bruised by the fundamentalist Christians they have come to this place of hating everything to do with "religion" and of course "spirituality" never abused them, so that's why spirituality is perceived as being better.

A lot of people do not know that the Christian fundamentalist thing got started here in the US, in the late 1800s/early 1900s. It's not something that actually is, historically speaking, part of that tradition. It's fairly new and it was basically invented here.


Unknown said...

I think that Tracie said it very well. I resent that being "Christian" has become in recent years to mean Right Wing Fundamentalism. I feel that I am a Christian, but that doesn't make me a Fundamentalist. I don't have a clue just what "Spiritual" means today either.

Sue B.

Leonard said...

note: The link to your following entry doesn´t work (the one on Sarah Hey). Len

JimB said...

Len, I pulled that. I am about half done with the post, and it was posted in error. I will fix the link before the final copy goes up.


Anonymous said...

I am glad that there are more and more people more and more comfortable with being atheist/agnostic and open about it.
Consider that more people would vote for someone openly gay or Muslim compared with an atheist and you will see that this prejudice is still very powerful.

JimB said...

I think we agree on this. I should rather like as a political and cultural idea, that "freedom from religion" be as respected as "freedom of religion."

Generally the law is at that point, but not all our citizens. That explains, I think, a lot about the GOP platform and candidates.

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