Robert G. wrote:
OK, here it is: forcing people to engage with your religious beliefs is exactly like making them watch you have sex, and ought to be sanctioned in the same way. What so you think? Restraining orders and "text-offender" registries? With all due consideration for cultural norming, sex and religion are both innately powerful behaviors that have effects on innocent bystanders. I have no urge to see people getting it on in the bus in front of me, and in exactly the same way I don't want to pass a street preacher or someone calling me to evening prayer. Holding hands in public is great, and a kiss every now and then, and that's the level at which we ought to keep public displays of religion. What people do privately is none of my concern, but keep it off the streets!
Ha-ha-ha, ‘text-offender’ registries!!!!
Food for thought indeed.
On a number of points I do agree with you.
One could argue that perhaps too much open display of private feelings created the market for Viagra. Similarly, televangelism brought the deepest and most sacred human feelings into the not so sacred living rooms of people and religion became trivialised. I’m afraid the last century managed to dilute the most powerful human emotions, Faith in the One, powerful family bonding and sexual desire. How will humanity survive without these emotions?
However, this is as far as I can agree with the gist of your argument. For although there is some similarity between sexuality and religion never the less there is a gigantic difference between the two areas. When I see a Hindu or Muslim religious festival I do not feel compelled to drop to my knees, cross my self and cry-out for the unity of all Catholics all over the world. Nor do I suspect Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims - that is, those who have true faith and not just ‘in-it-to-win-it’ with God - feeling repelled by watching Christians walking and praying the ‘stations of the Cross’. I would think they feel the same as I do when I am watching their ceremonies; reassured that other religions have their own tradition to honour the One – or the many. Watching other people honouring their religion in a traditional way only evokes spiritual responses in me.
But seeing strangers displaying their private feelings for each other has a physiological effect on people. Moreover, please correct me if I am wrong, but I tend to think that witnessing acts of intimacy supposed to have this physiological effect unless the person is already de-sensitised by cultural norms. No matter what sexual orientation one happens to have, I do not believe it does anyone any good if sexuality is trivialised by open display of affection. Whereas with religion, a street-corner evangelist may annoy me yet s/he will not evoke the same ‘gut response’ as witnessing a sexually explicit act or public display of private emotions. So, my vote is for keeping traditional ways of celebrating religion and for legislating against public display of private affections.
In regards to 'awakening the mythological mind' I think we are already doing a pretty good job at collecting our affiliates. Nobody is invited but nobody is rejected either - unless displaying unacceptable behaviour. Whoever desires to participate are welcome, whoever gets bored here is free to leave. Moreover, I think the greatest draw-card of the JCF community is that we are stubbornly ‘middle-ground’, most of us holds a stance in between the ‘hyper religious preacher’ and the ‘foaming in the mouth atheists’. Maybe it is not so surprising that atheists and religious people are in fact interested in each other’s view, not merely out of curiosity but from a genuine ‘goodness’ in their heart that makes them desire communication. One could argue that the foundation of all morality lies in the basic attitude that good people compare and contrast their views with others. We don’t need black shirts or daisies in our hair to express our affiliation, we have both evolution and God’s design on our side to help us recognise one another.