Sunday, June 22, 2008

P.1 Institution and Religion

Imagine if you will a young boy.... He’s s a normal all American lad, 6 years old, being raised in the ever changing, and always open, secular society of the west.

Behind the walls of an unassuming home little Johnny's parents share a dark secret. John is to marry Sarah, the next door neighbor girl who is also 6. He is to love her, cherish her, give her children, spend the rest of his life with her; with the following caveat
- He is to love no other. Any feeling of love or desire towards another woman is the work of the devil and any pursuit of such sinful evil love is punishable by an eternity in the pit of hell.

Now as one may imagine it this was all well and good for young John as his personal interests lay elsewhere, just as you'd expect from a normal 6 year old. After all what is marriage to John, what is "having children", what is “love”, and lets face, girls have koodies…….

Many things could happen to John when he reaches the age of maturity (let’s say 16), he may indeed develop quite a fancy for Sarah. However lets suppose that what happens is what seems to happen to all young men as they come of age. That is, he essentially wants to stick his d#ck in everything that moves, breaths, has long hair and breasts. The torment of having such emotions in the face of the above caveat (which no doubt has been preached to him on a daily basis) must be tremendous and confusing.

Fast forward a bit further and we begin to see a John in the stage of maturity where he begins to have feelings of love, sentiments and emotions for women whom he’s surrounded by in life. However once again, he will not interpret these feelings as love, he will interpret these feelings as deceit. All the while he’s struggling internally about his feelings for Sarah, he doesn’t not know what he feels about her, however they are married and now have children.

The problem John has is that he cannot separate the emotion “love” from the institution of marriage that he has learned it to be attached to since he was six. He has learned that any feeling outside this institution is the work of the devil and thus has no genuine idea what the love of a woman is or feels like because he denies it. He has been robbed/rapped/stripped of his humanity, he is in a prison, a personal hell.

So what does this have to do with religion? I think it’s obvious. Religion, like marriage, is an institution. On the one hand marriage is the institution of love. It is, when the time comes and the choice has been made, an institution whos purpose is to formally recognize (by the community at large) the bond between two people such that we all see he is hers and she him. This way nobody can/should, bonk my wife on the head and drag her off to a cave somewhere.

In the same way religion is an institution of the human emotion spirituality, (for the lack of a better word and to keep this short for now). And before you old enough to comprehend the world at large you’re already being told (at 6) how the world is, why it is, where it came from, how you should act accordingly. Your spirituality is being connected to a language and way of seeing things that come from a preachers mouth translated out of the bible. To become older and imagine or think about the nature of things under any other interpretation outside the bible, to formulate a new language that fits your vision of things is a ticket to hell. To use any other word other then “GOD”, “Christ”, is heresy.
Men were spiritual and seeking first I say, it was only afterwards that pages were filled with words such that we could all communicate the glory we were feeling inside. But when does it stop making sense? When should it change to fit modern thinking? Where is the line between religion and institution?

1 comment:

  1. Personal note to self:
    this is related to something else I'd like to write on which I call "Christianeze", or religion as language. Essentially religion is language whose purpose satisfies a human necessity. Like any language it's developed such that we can deal with these necessities as a community; and of course a community that does not share the same language cannot function as a community.

    Science, mathematics, to the lower tiers of biology, Darwinism, Newtonian physics, quantum physics are also languages. However in these cases our aim is to serve different needs and therefore the language takes on a different structure with different rules.

    Is "gravity" and its governing principles a language about the inherent function of the world, or merely a fitting function of our experience and patterns of thought as it relates to it?
    - Likewise with religion - but I think I need to first crudely define religions function. Or perhaps a further step back, what is spirituality and how was God and moral codes born out of it. I realize I’m packing a lot into this word spirituality, but I’d like to unpack that later.