Monday, October 18, 2010

Speaking Of Profanity

“God damn!”

I don’t really like using that exclamation, but
it’s the perfect marriage of the sacred and the profane.

Religion, as you well know, seems to create such profound contentiousness between people. The use of religious terminology does the same. I continue to experience
radioactive fallout for something as innocuous as expressing an opinion with words that even imply a connection with religion, no matter how vague, or abstract. I find it kind of disconcerting, and disheartening, that we live in a world where people are not entitled to opinions, where people are knocked down for having one, or for the words they use, like a clay pigeon being blasted out of the sky with a shotgun.

I find it very disturbing, but hey, like it’s gonna keep me from discussing anything?

Here are some thoughts that will be dressed in religious terminology. Reject me for the ideas, if you must, but not for the terminology. Words are simply tools to use to communicate thoughts.

I know life in religion, and out of it as well. Having come from a religious background, first Catholic, then Protestant, then without religion altogether, most religious people today consider me to be ‘backslidden’, or at the very least, a heretic. Although I abhor labels, heretic is one that I am actually willing to wear. The dictionary defines ‘heretic’ as “Somebody who holds or adheres to an opinion, or belief, that contradicts established religious teaching, especially one that is officially condemned by religious authorities.”

I can think of no one I’d rather be condemned by than some of our so-called ‘Religious Authorities’. And those I’ve known,
or who have known me, tend to view my beliefs as profane.
But those adverse to religion, well, they usually consider me to be too ‘righteous’.
Well “God damn”, that’s a pretty good balance to have, if you ask me.

And backslidden? Well, having slidden-back from someone else’s prescribed dogma, unfounded theology, and shallow ritual, sure.
I’ll admit to that.

In truth, I am not subject to religious ideological divisions. And it is something that makes many people very ill at ease. But none of us are really subject to those divisions unless we want to wear the labels.

I believe that righteousness exists in one’s willingness to risk the profane.
Going against the grain, or against an existing majority belief system would be considered profane in the eyes of those who’ve traded their own objective capabilities, and perspectives, for inclusion in a group.
Living outside of ‘religious law’, or religious ‘expectation’, even when abiding by ‘internal spiritual principals’, is, more often than not, enough to brand one as ‘profane’, even though those same spiritual principals might be the standard that practitioners of religion actually aspire to.
Just so happens that maybe their religiosity is what has actually gotten in the way of that ascendancy.

In my mind there is a big difference between religion and religious.
‘Religion’, reverence for a set of principles, the practice of a belief system, can be beneficial to both the individual and to society as a whole.
But the ‘religious’ tend to very easily morph into self-righteousness.

Someone who chooses to live by a moral, or ethical, code often runs the very real risk of being lumped in with them as well, invariably branded as ‘self-righteous’. But that kind of myopic perspective, and judgment, is not what I’m talking about here. The branding is, more often than not, just a self-serving attempt to subjugate and diminish another to puff up and exalt one’s self. And that is self-righteousness in spades.

Living life, an honorable life even, does not require membership in a particular religion, although most religions do require membership for acceptance, and authentication, as a ‘good’ person, a person of value.
Oh, I know they say they don’t, but let’s be real here.

To me, the self-righteous are actually the ‘un-righteous’, as it were, whether they be the religious Pharisee, or the secular self-indulgent. Self-righteousness is most commonly associated with followers of religion, but it seems that the secular perspective, and its inversion of good and evil, right and wrong, acceptable and abhorrent, is more the personification of self-righteousness, even, than the demonstratively pious. Not every ‘religious’ person descends into self-righteousness, but the vain and narcissistic, whether religious or not, tend to find their way there with very little obstruction.

The irony is that it is actually the ‘un-righteous’ considering those who have a heart towards true righteousness to be ‘self-righteous’, thus making the seekers of righteousness out to be profane.

Wrap your head around that profanity for a few minutes.

I believe that self-righteousness is the greatest profanity of all.
And there is a very fine line between the religious and the secular. They are more alike than one might imagine. People who are comfortable with their own stagnation, who are living below even the minimal standards they set for themselves, like to proclaim others to be self righteous, just as the religious self-righteous, living with their own ‘spiritual’ narcissism, like to proclaim others to be sinners. It somehow validates each of their failures and makes them all feel better about themselves.

It is really one in the same.

Speaking of profanity, I know that I’ve been kind of ‘all over the place’ with these comments,
but I’m sure that anyone wanting to make sense of them,

For the rest of you,
Oh well!

Catch me next time around.