Religion’s Problem 2019-007

Religion’s Problem  2019-007

The problem with religion is —- Religion itself!!

This is NOT about an individual religion, but the concept of every religion that make up the religious experiences.

So, what is religion?  It is the basic organized set of beliefs, rules, ceremonies, dictates, dogma, etc. used in worshiping God.

The belief in a god that people are involved in, is called by various names in different faiths and identifies the various groups of that faith. Each faith or groups within that faith have specific beliefs that identify each from any other.

The first Christian faith group was called “The Way” and to belong to this group identified the followers of Jesus Christ. Then came the Catholic religion, followed by very many more faith groups.

Today, there are over 9000 groups within Christianity, that have their religious take on how to act, based on their defined system of believing. That is why the problem within religion is – religion itself.

To belong to a specific group within Christianity automatically excludes all other religious groups of followers. The different rules that each have are specific to that group, which makes the others different automatically.

We then can follow one that includes those things we admire, like, and make us feel good. Or, it could be a religion has beliefs that we want to follow, and we could care less if any others want to believe in what we want to adhere to in life. This is a narrow minded, one sided thought process, as such.

Many use religions as a tool to have and make that religion seem like the only or best one out there. If others do not see our way they are wrong, and we remain right.   WRONG!  Just another example of the problem of religion.

BUT, to use religion in a good way, the correct way, is not only hard to do, it is hard to come up with what actually is good and correct, versus any other.  So, religion itself CAN be a good thing, if we can agree what is good. I would like to think that most religions are of a good nature, and to believe in that religion or denomination is fine and no problems exist with them.  

If a religion uses the Bible Scripture as a weapon to make an asinine point, I have a problem with that religion and the people that believe and support it.  I think they could rethink what they believe in and go back and consider what the man-God who became the Savior of mankind thought and taught.

Peace,

Den Betts            email: bettsden@gmail.com          blog:  thebettsden.com

Advertisements

Thinking about life 2018-28

Thinking about life    2018-28

We all go through lives with the same number of hours in the day. What we do in those hours are mostly up to us, with some work, some play, eating meals, commuting here and there, and other necessary chores of life.

Hour after hour we use them to accomplish things we must or want to do. BUT, how many of us get caught up in mundane actions that do not really matter in the long run of things in life?

Could we, if we tried, look at many things differently?  To take the time to just look into the eyes of someone or something we love and let that one know how much we appreciate and love them, would be terrific.

Or, tell a friend the same thing with conviction and meaning. To try to look at others with another outlook and see them in a diverse light. To say than you to anyone that did something out of the ordinary in a special way.

To change our opinion on someone of another color, religion, creed, ethnicity, or anything else which is foreign to us in our way of living.  To actually TALK with one of those “others” and ask them a question about their way of life, which is contrary to ours. It is TOO easy to ignore them and go on with our lives, doing our things, and wondering about them and their things.

Do we stay in a clam shell of living and exclude what we are uncomfortable with, and keep our ignorance and not expand our knowledge? IF we do, we are NOT growing, but instead, staying stagnant in our lives. We can make excuses, but that is all they are and, reality is, we are snobs of our own making.

We COULD be afraid to do anything, as it will maybe make us vulnerable to ridicule or worse yet, make us stand out to someone.  We do NOT want that to happen, do we? Yet, it is easy to criticize and not know another person that belongs to any group we are uncertain of and let our unawareness rule.

Oh well, that is said, and I can move on in my slap happy way and think I am so great in saying all this, which is bull crap to some anyway.

Peace,
Den Betts      bettsden@gmail.com

HAMZA HUSUF 2018-13

HAMZA HUSUF 2018-13                                        Posted 2-10-18

Much to the chagrin of the staunchly secular among us, religion shows no sign of going away. Predictions of the demise of religion, faith, tradition – and even God – have consistently been proven wrong.
God is much greater than anything we can imagine. Hamza Yusuf

Yusuf was born as Mark Hanson in Walla Walla, Washington, January 1, 1958, to two academics working at Whitman College and he was raised in northern California.
Yusuf has taken a stance against religious justifications for terrorist attacks He described the 9/11 attacks as “an act of mass murder, pure and simple.” Condemning the attacks, he has also stated “Islam was hijacked… on that plane as an innocent victim.
Jordan’s Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre currently places him 36th on its list of the top 500 most influential Muslims in the world. The magazine Egypt Today described him as a kind of theological rock star, “the Elvis Presley of western Muslims.” In its 2016 edition Yusuf is described “as one of the foremost authorities on Islam outside of the Muslim world” by The 500 Most Influential Muslims, edited by John Esposito and Ibrahim Kalin.
Wikipedia

Is Religion Dying Out? 2017-33

Is Religion Dying Out? 2017-33

No, Not dining, dying.  I don’t know! Though, I do see signs of religion not being that important to people today. 

As we, in the more civilized world, have become more affluent and as we feel we are more secure in our environment, and even more educated perhaps, it is possible that people, in general, are becoming more rational and less in need of religion.  Many areas of the world, and in certain cultures, are divorced from the domination of religious affiliations, and influence. Religion, for many, is becoming less important in everyday life in the upper advanced cultures. I will not even mention anything like moral reasons at this time.

When I travel to my church on Sunday morning, I feel, that I am the only one up and the roads are NOT busy, not crowded, and not full of vehicles going to their church for services.  Since I live in an Amish community, I must say, there are horse and buggies on the road, so I must watch out for them.

I would think that, as improved living conditions occur, a decline in a religion also is the result. The feeling of need is lessened or unimportant.  I remember 911 and the uptick of religious feelings for a small period of time afterwards.  We were fearful of the unknown and church attendance had a surge of recurrence right afterwards.

The decline has occurred worldwide and I read that many modern secular democracies, more and more people are identifying themselves as non-affiliated with religion. I realize that it is “uncomfortable” to discuss this subject with people, because of many reasons. I do know some people that said it is convenient not to go to church for many reasons. Those that said this do not have a logical reason, but it could be said by some, their reasons are petty at best. Everyone is different, and I realize this as fact.

I do not believe that those that say they are non-affiliated, can be called atheists, but instead belong to the secularism group of people. When I looked at my notes from my teaching Sunday School at church, I could see that Christians made up about 31% in the world then, and declining, Muslims around 23% and growing, and the non-affiliated about 20%. So, religion is not dead, just not doing well today.

In addition, many people state they do NOT belong to an organized religion, but are spiritual, whatever that means to everyone stating this. Instead of dying out, religion may be, becoming dormant. I do not think atheism will take over, but those leaving religion will become members of a less defined religious belief or just simply unaffiliated overall.  I know, I consider myself, Spiritual and Religious, two different words meaning different things in my mind.

In a contradiction, I read that places like China, Christianity is growing the fastest, which is strange.  Some places, like Australia, where church attendance is about 10% is somewhat holding at that percentage, but they were always thought of as a predominantly secular country.

This discourse has many source references so I did not list any.  I do not know what Wikipedia has on this, which is weird, my not going there for data.

Anyhow, I believe that there is a God.  God is alive, God is active, God is aware, God is Present and around and in us always.  He, as the living God, loves us regardless.

Den Betts

Judging 2017-20

 Judging  2017-20

Why do we judge!”?

I would think that we do so, because we are what we are; judgmental in nature because we are human. Make sense?

No? Well, that may be so, but there are probably good reasons why we are so. And really, that’s the way it is, so live with it. If we say we do not judge, think again, do you, do we? Probably yes, in some way, sometime, somewhere.

Being judgmental tends to make us too quick to judge and very critical of another person or thing and somewhat makes us a judgmental prig. That, by the way, means one who offends or irritates by observance of properties (as of speech or manners) in a pointed manner or to an obnoxious degree.

I would not like to be considered priggish, but If I am, so be it.  I really do not think so, but I do not like the thought of being that way.

Anyway, most of us judge others; period!

Now that this is said, I again, ask WHY DO WE JUDGE!????

I would think that the way we measure ourselves, is how we measure others, and therefore assume how others measure you too. REALLY?

Let us say that we have standards in life!  First off, what is a standard that we use? I would believe it is by our authority that we use as a basis of comparison in life. Therefore, it is something we can use as a basis of judgement such as morals, habits, ethics, or anything considered an approved model to compare.  Close enough.

IF we use a yardstick for ourselves, we also use it to judge the rest of the world, good or bad or indifferent.

Let me talk about religion.  I recently was reflecting on how religion plays a rule in life for some people. If someone thinks that value comes from their faith in a higher power, then they will view others by THEIR faith (or lack of faith) in a higher power.  This is not fair to the others, because WHO says we are right or our religion is correct or not correct? We need not judge when it comes to religion; period!

Someone told me that it is OK to judge those that did something bad, and that is why we have police, courts, judges, and jails. I believe when someone goes outside the accepted norm of life and breaks the law, for instance, then there are rules that are in place to prosecute those offenders.  If I am on a jury, then I will judge the offender once all the facts by the prosecutor and defender of the accused are presented.  Wow, I have become a judgmental person, I guess.

There are many instances where we can say that judging is NOT wrong! There are many ways to show how we measure ourselves against others, and I will leave with this thought.

Judge not, lest ye be judged!

Den Betts

Religion Issues 2015-13

Many theories about spirituality and religion are stated, with those that feel that spirituality is different than religion, and is a much better way of having closeness with God. This is a separate issue that I will address in the future, but in the below discourse, I am staying with the word religion, and hit on a few items regarding this word.

Religion Issues     2015-13

“Most Americans – roughly four out of five – consider themselves to be Christians. For that majority, the past two decades have been a time of substantial religious change. Just as American society itself is in a state of substantial upheaval, so are those who declare themselves to be Christian redefining the core practices and beliefs of Christianity in America.” Barna Group (2011) See at end

I was told one time that “Religion is the problem with society today!” I did not argue with this person, because I somewhat felt that he was personally, one of the problems, because of his beliefs (or non-beliefs) and attitudes with others around him. I believe he is somewhat of a believer, but one that believes in a different way than others.

I do not feel that I am judgmental about him, but instead, just stating a fact that even he admits is true. He is what he is, and according to him is not going to change to make someone happy or have them look at him in a different way. So be it.

I think many people of various religions look at their religion as “the true religion” and exclude those of other religions as not being correct. I know of one individual who thinks this way and will not change his belief in this thought. I am an outsider to him, and as such, am not adhering to the religion he follows, therefore am not following the true thoughts that he adheres to daily. This man is a believer in Jesus Christ, but since I do not do what he thinks I should do, I am wrong and will probably go to Hell in the process; in his mind.

Instead of a meaningful relationship with each other, there is a bridge, a chasm, or divide between us that is unspoken, but there. We continue to exist with one another, but rather than discussing our differences of belief, we ignore the subject and continue as outsiders. I would love to have a talk with him and discuss things, but we cannot be part of a larger whole and remain apart. We are like tribal, clannish people that exist, but with distrust and without a feeling of true friendship.

When I think of the Christian beliefs and various denominations, I think of man-made rules, dogma and ways of following Jesus that make us Christians in name, but not true followers in a way that Jesus would want us to be. Think of any two Christian religions and you will find differences that make them unique from each other. A person is a Methodist because of the beliefs that religion follows, and a Catholic or Lutheran, or others, that have the same type of believers in their midst. I cannot say any is wrong, just stating that they believe in differences. Of course, I also believe that some people in the religion I follow do not believe all the rules and dictates of this religion, including me.  Quoting someone that I respect, “On the other hand, a commitment to rules to the detriment of a person’s relationship with Christ is also not helpful.”

The religion I follow has begun to have contact with other religions to form ecumenical agreements with them. This states that, even though we have differences, we can still get along and be true to the religion we follow. The Pastor/Priest can perform services at their church and vice-versus with the others.  Both Pastors/Priests can give communion at either church when we can all partake of the bread and wine of remembrance. We can look at ourselves as friends and not as enemies of the other religion, not that we would do so anyhow. The other church is an Episcopalian one and does have a Priest.

When did it happen that differences began to occur in religions? Over time, people began to see their religion the way they liked it and a trend began. The various sacred writings decreed some of the beliefs that go back in time to when they were written. God Himself was written as sanctifying slavery, warfare, and those that wanted an excuse or a reason, had what they needed for their religion, as they read in the written word. They did not have to change or make up anything, because it was written down and part of their belief. Men abused their women and children because it was told that they were their possessions, and therefore the men could do anything they wanted. Man could have slaves, because it said so in their holy book. They could kill others, because it was shown to them that God was on their side. The list goes on and on as to how God can be used as an excuse to do things that are against common decency. The holy scriptures of many religions are used as weapons for man’s desires.

What was written so very, very long ago does not mean that what was believed then, is now.

We, in a civilized society, do not condone having slaves today, but it was a normal process in the past. To use religion as an excuse for doing things that are looked at as barbaric today, is in itself barbaric. Even today, some religious leaders, evangelists, preachers, etc., use the writings in the Bible to give credence to their way of thinking, or at least, their way of sharing the message in scripture. Many use the Bible and recite passages from the Old Testament to expand on their thought processes. They don’t really stress the New Testament and the teachings of Jesus Christ and His way of expounding on the way that love is the answer.

  • The notion that the Bible is completely accurate in all of the principles it teaches is less popular among Protestants today (2011) . In 1991, 61% strongly believed that notion; today, 56% hold that belief. Barna Group (2011), see Sources at end

How many times have people of religious eminence or rank, stated that believing in God is a moral excellence or virtue of high importance? Of course it sounds great and coming from a person of importance it is considered, at times, just so. Having faith and believing that God works in mysterious ways and we should accept dire happenings as coming from God, does not sit too well with some. Crap happens and sometimes we have to just accept that which does, even though we do not like it. Saying that Aunt so in so, who died, is in a better place does not make sense when the common thought is she was doing well, where she was before she died. We should try not to deceive ourselves into believing that those religious leaders or any people, who state things like that, know what they are talking about. It would be very much better to pray to God and tell Him you do not understand why something happened, but still believe He is with us, and allow Him to comfort us in our despair.

Give till it hurts?

Another issue is where some religions want you to give $$$$ till it hurts. OK, not quite, but the feeling of some churches that we should give to the church and it will help the church maintain itself in all ITS glory. Then, try to find out where it goes! My church does not do this, but it is seen on TV with some churches and is perpetuated by their leaders. The church NEEDS money to exist, but the church does not need their parishioners to give, just to increase the coffers of the church or leaders of the church.

The church I attend had a fund rising to pay down the mortgage. It was very successful and we are in the middle of doing so. But, the main reason for doing this is to get out from under the payments to the mortgage holder and have money to spend on places and things that need it. One example is where we pay for a delivery of food each month to give to the needy and that is money worth spending. What is really exacting is the fact that the parishioners are continuing to pay their weekly amounts to support the church, per the budget forecast. Even though it would be terrific to see everyone, tithing 10%, I would think that is NOT going to happen. I would love to see the people give just a little more than they have been and that would be outstanding. We try to go out of our way to show just where their money ends up and I believe it is a positive way of showing generosity towards our fellow mankind.

Religions are man-made as well as those denominations that make up many of the religions today. As such, they have to survive and in the trying, come the failings at times. What was, in the past, is not how it is today. The founder of a religion had good intentions on how he wanted his way to be. Over time, things happen and his way is not THE way now. I would think that certain religions are prone to change, because of this fact. Who would have thought that a certain religion has morphed into what it is today and its beliefs are so different now. How a man thought way back when, is not how the church today thinks. Maybe, somewhat, but not exactly.

I have read, possibly from a Barna Report, an article about the Catholic religion regarding some members as becoming unchurched or as de-churched members. Many are leaving the religion for good, going to a Protestant one that does not have the rules and regulations, which upset those that leave. I am not picking on the Catholics, but do wonder how much their core ways will keep members. All religions must be aware of how they think and act, which will decide on their membership. The one problem is where members of any religion leave and do not go to another one, but instead just don’t worship at a church anymore. They become un-churched by default for the reasons they believe are correct for them to not involve themselves in any religion.

After all that I have said, I believe that there is NOT really a problem with religion itself, but instead, a problem with the people that follow the various religions that have their beliefs foremost and the religion they follow as a far distant second.

Source for some of the facts presented.

Barna Group

About Barna Group Barna Group (which includes its research division, the Barna Research Group) is a private, non-partisan, for-profit organization under the umbrella of the Issachar Companies. It conducts primary research, produces media resources pertaining to spiritual development, and facilitates the healthy spiritual growth of leaders, children, families and Christian ministries. Data based on an August 4, 2011 report

Den Betts

Beware – Be Aware 2015-10

This could be a sister poem of the one I wrote titled “Apathy”; to a degree. This would be a challenge to those that feel they are in control, whereas WE are really, or should be, involved in things that occur.

Beware – Be Aware    2015-10

“Beware! Beware! The end of time is near”

So says the man with placard pointed to the sky.

A pessimist to the nth degree is he,

to give up on the hope of man today.

 

But, it should be realized that things aren’t right

Or even close to the ways the world should be.

The leaders and power players of each composite group,

Show that “they know” what is good for us all.

 

In Belfast of past, the Middle East now, South America,

Perhaps here in the U.S. too; they all think alike.

Take away their power and they will be one of us,

So no peace they say, cause a stir and unrest.

 

In the name of religion, the wars are fought, and,

In the name of heritage or culture, people die.

But, it’s also in the name of power and greed,

And continued dissent for its own sake, indeed!

 

An answer to all the troubles would leave them,

With nothing to do, no longer in charge.

If the people were to be more involved,

With the underlings helping out too.

 

Then a man could be on a street corner,

With a sign telling a different tune.

One that challenged the leaders by saying,

“Be Aware! Be Aware!, change is coming soon!”

Den Betts