Monday, December 13, 2004

My Faith


was born into Catholicism. I was baptized a few weeks into my life, and I trudged along with my parents every sunday to Mass. I went to a Catholic schools from 1st to 12th grade. And during those years, I was innundated with the teaching so the Church: Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not take the Lord's name in vain.

Okay, most of what they teach is socially acceptable. I mean, I think most religions base their beliefs on guidelines that make for a moral society. Thou shalt no take the name of the Lord, thy God, in vain. (i.e. don't break a sworn oath or contract.) Honor thy father and mother.Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not covet they neighbor's property--including his wife.

Okay, maybe we shouldn't take the 10 commandments to literally. Women are not property. Indeed, there are many tings in the Bible that are no longer applicable in today's society. However, the Church I was brought up in tried, to the best of their ability, to apply the teachings strictly, saying that if it was good enoughto be put in the Bible, it's good enough for us now. Even today, many religious conservatives believe that the head of the household is the man, and the wife has to follow the direction of the husband without question. This is a quote from the Southern Baptis Convention of 1998.

...A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband... She...has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household...

This is based, no doubt, on the Bible. The one section I recall is from Ephesians 5,

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

Everyone is free to believe in what they want. And I suppose to them, a single male leader in the home makes for a stable home environment. God knows, that it takes effort to work through two conflicting opinions about hearth and home... I hate PMS... But I digress...

Anyway, the church tries to apply various teachings of the Bible, as is, to this modern world but allowed some alterations at their convenience. Manservants--slaves--populate the Bible, and that is something that no one would dare view as acceptable.And for the most part, Catholics don't accept the above words on the role of a wife as literally as, say, the Southern Baptists. Except when it comes to the priesthood. No woman can become a priest, likely because it is a leadership role within the Church, and how could a woman lead a man?

As I grew older, I began to question these changes, these conveniences, these contradictions. Many of them seemed so hyporcritical. In Catechism class, our priest would defend the commandments--thou shalt no kill--but outwardly defended the war in Vietnam, with all its senseless killing in the name of... what? Anti-communism? Man, that would seem to be the modern version of the Inquisition, the Crusades, the persecution of non-believers. Don't believe in Christ? Then you are a pagan. What, you are not a Muslim? Then you are an inifidel...

This cycle of us versus them, right versus left, right versus wrong (in their minds), is something I cannot and do not accept. Life is far more complicated. It is not black and white. Black and white makes for a more structured, uncomplicated world, I suppose, but we live in a complex world, and there are absolutely no easy answers. I believe in inclusiveness, respect and compassion... Not that Onigirism is the paragon of compassion and understanding, but it is the goal...

So... why am I talking about religion--I mean besides the fact that Christmas is coming up? Well, msbLiSs had a religion quiz on her page and I took it and kinda surprised my self. I answered 20 questions about what I believe vis-a-vis reigious belief. I wasn't particularly surprised that my views were more in line with Unitarians, but I was taken aback at how low Catholicism ranked, above Jehovah's Witness but below Judaism, Scientology and Islam! My current beliefs--a hodgepodge of various thoughts based on my own readings and experiences--is more in line with Sikhism (73%) than Catholicism (17%). They even pegged me as a Neo Pagan (95%)! I wonder if Catholics and conservative Christians will come to convert me, and failing that, kill me... *gulp*

Below is my results. If you wanna take the short quiz, click on msbLiSs, tell her "hi" and then click on the link on her page...

1. Unitarian Universalism (100%)
2. Liberal Quakers (99%)
3. Neo-Pagan (95%)
4. Mahayana Buddhism (88%)
5. Reform Judaism (88%)
6. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (86%)
7. New Age (80%)
8. Bah・・Faith (78%)
9. Sikhism (73%)
10. Secular Humanism (69%)
11. Theravada Buddhism (67%)
12. Jainism (63%)
13. Taoism (59%)
14. Hinduism (58%)
15. Orthodox Judaism (56%)
16. New Thought (54%)
17. Scientology (53%)
18. Orthodox Quaker (50%)
19. Islam (49%)
20. Nontheist (43%)
21. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (33%)
22. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (27%)
23. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (26%)
24. Seventh Day Adventist (23%)
25. Eastern Orthodox (17%)
26. Roman Catholic (17%)
27. Jehovah's Witness (13%)

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