Cultural Ties and Religion

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by InLove, Jun 29, 2007.

  1. InLove

    InLove at peace

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    Messages:
    3,267
    Likes Received:
    2
    Hi Everyone. Peace to All Here :)

    This may not be the best placement for this thread, but I thought I would try it here. I don't really know why. Just a feeling, I suppose. But it can always be relocated if it does not work out well where I've put it.

    I could type a long introduction because I have many thoughts on this subject. But I have noticed that sometimes the less I interject of my own opinions when I ask a question, the more I gain from the asking. :)

    So my simple questions are: How do our cultural ties influence our choice of religious practice? How and when might they be an asset? Obviously, there have been times throughout history when these ties may have been used in very harmful ways. Is this always true, though? Does pride or love of our heritage and ancestry necessarily present a stumbling block in our spiritual pathway?

    (Guess I'd better stop asking questions now, or my OP won't be simple, like I intended. :))

    All viewpoints are invited!

    InPeace,
    InLove
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2007
  2. JosephM

    JosephM New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2006
    Messages:
    471
    Likes Received:
    0
    Re: Culteral Ties and Religion

    Cultural ties seem to have a great influence on most but not all people as far as their religious practices. It seems to me, it is a rather complex equation because there are so many other internal and external circumstances, conditions and events that can modify and influence our choices.

    As far as pride or love of our heritage, it is my view that it is counterproductive to true spiritual progress. Perhaps that is because it seems to me to separate and divide rather than unify us with the rest of creation and those of opposing or different heritages.

    Love and Peace,
    JM
     
  3. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    21,270
    Likes Received:
    1,689
    Our choice...I'd say the majority of us don't make a choice. We are of the religion we were raised in. We may choose to go back to it...but it is a matter of comfort...and despite whatever may have gone on our first couple decades....we'll return to some of it, and if one has a spirtitual practice today I'd say 90% of those it is the practice their parents raised them in.

    And could it be that this is not our best avenue for growth?? Sure, but it is what we are comfortable with...
     
  4. InLove

    InLove at peace

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    Messages:
    3,267
    Likes Received:
    2
    Thank you for your post, JosephM. We haven't spoken much directly, have we? We are often in the same room, but milling around in various areas or something like that, lol.

    I suppose I should provide an example of one of the things (not the only one) that prompted my questions.

    But I started on that example and realized I was pretty much writing a large part of my biography! It is really turning into a very long post, so let me think about it, and do some editing. :rolleyes:

    (I see wil has posted in the meantime--Hi wil! Scrolling back....)

    InPeace,
    InLove
     
  5. LeoSalinas22

    LeoSalinas22 merely a shadow...

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Messages:
    719
    Likes Received:
    0
    would anyone agree that Christ Jesus tried to explain this situation in the Parable of the Sower? the earth being the countries with their cultural influence and man being the seed. thanks and God bless...
     
  6. InLove

    InLove at peace

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    Messages:
    3,267
    Likes Received:
    2
    Hi Leo :)

    I'm having trouble seeing a connection there. Could you expound a bit?

    By the way, for those reading, that passage may be found in Matthew, Chapter 3.

    InPeace,
    InLove
     
  7. InLove

    InLove at peace

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    Messages:
    3,267
    Likes Received:
    2
    Thanks wil. :) I agree that most of us do hold to what we were taught growing up. I am wondering how many people come to a point in their lives, though, where more information comes to them, for example, about thier own background or ancestry. These discoveries can be beautiful and difficult at the same time.

    There are also people who have left their cultural surroundings and even broken with their families over religion. That must be heart-wrenching.

    I'm just rambling at the moment. Like I said before, I've got a really long post to edit. Maybe I will get it organized. But please, everyone, don't let that keep you from adding to the discussion in the meantime!

    InPeace,
    InLove
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2007
  8. pattimax

    pattimax Somewhat returning

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    Messages:
    1,204
    Likes Received:
    0
    How do our cultural ties influence our choice of religious practice? People influence my religious practice.

    How and when might they be an asset? Godly people are such an asset to time spent on earth. I don’t mean fanatics, I am referring to people who know God, or want to know Him.

    Does pride or love of our heritage and ancestry necessarily present a stumbling block in our spiritual pathway? I guess it can, although once you realize how counter-productive pride can be, it is wise to leave it alone. (I am not saying I always do, that's just the prescription.)
     
  9. LeoSalinas22

    LeoSalinas22 merely a shadow...

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Messages:
    719
    Likes Received:
    0
    hi inlove,
    well, i have a huge imagination so bear with me. lets take for instance, the culture of war torn countries of the world. that alone can determine how someone believes in God and which religion they choose. when it comes to the parrable, a war torn part of the country would be the part in the parable where the seed was planted amongst the thorns and thorns choked the faith of that person or the seed was scattered on the road and it was trampled on. then there are those parts of the world where everything is "nice". look at how the religions in those parts are and how people practice it. here the seed may grow without hindrance and of course it may not. hope i didn't confuse you more, inlove. sorry it the post seems rushed. i am about to get out of work for the weekend and have to close my computer. we shall talk again on monday, God willing. thanks for your patience and God bless you...
     
  10. InLove

    InLove at peace

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    Messages:
    3,267
    Likes Received:
    2
    No worries, Leo. I have to log out, too, for a while. You have given me something to think about.

    Karen--I have been thinking along these lines, too. I think JM was saying about the same.

    Thanks for the input. I'll try to get some more thoughts together without posting something that, as Dondi once said, would be so long that it makes your eyes bleed...:eek:

    InPeace,
    InLove
     
  11. Postmaster

    Postmaster New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2005
    Messages:
    2,312
    Likes Received:
    0
    Great thread. I remember when I first had the internet, I made a friend with someone the same age living in Bahrain. We used to debate over who's religion was wrong and who's was right. He gave me some fascinating insight into his life and maybe I did too. Other then that had alot of common interests.
     
  12. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Messages:
    7,502
    Likes Received:
    147
    Kindest Regards, InLove!

    Thank you for a thoughtful question.
    I believe it was JosephM who pointed out this is not 100% correct, I would add in this day and age. Going back a few hundred years before widespread social acceptance of "optional" ranges of thought, it may well be more true. Globalization, including commerce, communication, travel and "missionary" work, have all played a part in spreading each of the major world faiths.

    Looking back historically, religion was tied pretty tightly to politics. With the exception of Judaism which held fast to its tenets in small (and large) enclaves wherever it happened to find itself. Otherwise, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism all pretty well enjoyed political patronage, as did Taoism / Confucianism, and to some extent Paganism. To cross a border, say Austria-Hungary around 1300 AD (as I recall, the height of the Muslim advance into Europe), was to travel into a distinctly different culture. This may have not always been the case, it is said the Greek expansion of Alexander allowed religious "freedom" to continue as it had, as long as homage and taxes were paid to Greece. But by and large the history of the spread of religion is tied to political expansion. Another exception usually pointed to is the expansion of Buddhism beyond its native India, yet while this may not have been conquest in the western sense, it was missionary in its drive and would not have succeeded without some political sympathy.

    I point this out to clarify, yet I feel I may have muddied the water instead. :eek:

    I do feel it is important to clarify if we are speaking of "now," versus historical norm. We cannot accurately compare ourselves with our forebears of only a few hundred years ago. That said...

    I think most cultures now accommodate multiple faiths...legally or otherwise. In some cases a "blind eye" is turned provided there is no hint of threat to the established norm. (Of course, at the first hint of threat, that blind eye suddenly sees, and all bets are off as non-establishment religions are chastised and harassed. It does still happen...)

    I think as we grow and are indoctrinated by our parents, schools, governments and faiths, we naturally incline ourselves in the given direction. This is not necessarily a bad thing. As we get a little older, some of us may for varying reasons begin to feel disenfranchised or otherwise disillusioned with our lot in life, and one place we can exercise some control with relative autonomy is in religious expression. We might hear the siren song of another faith and perhaps it strikes a resonant chord with us, so we look to another path that provides something we might feel was missing. That might even be something like atheism, in that perhaps we were disillusioned by what might have seemed a shortcoming of our initial path, so we might surrender all paths and go it with intellect alone.

    Of course, this is only my humble observations...I cannot speak for others.

    In my specific case, I was raised nominally Christian. At a certain point in my life I delved deeper into my faith of my own volition, and came away with a greater depth of understanding, yet paradoxically also a greater discord with my initial indoctrination. I found things in the Christian faith that are not usually taught in Sunday school, and few Christians wished to even broach the subject. They were happy in their comfort zones, and it was not my place to take that from them (its taken me years to figure this part out!).

    Yet, there is also a part of my heritage I cannot deny. I have Native American blood coursing in my veins every bit as much as my Anglo-European heritage. Since I was a child I have had an affinity with nature that cannot be taught. Sadly, I have sacrificed a great deal of it in the process of growing up, getting a job and getting lost in the "rat race." But there is still a "small voice" in my heart that reminds me, often, of my Indian heritage.

    I have had a cursory overview of some other paths; Judaism, Buddhism and Paganism, enough to know these do not fully speak to me. Of these, Judaism speaks most closely, but I think that is an intellectual connection due to my Christian orientation. I never cease to be fascinated with the wisdom available in other traditions, but none of them resonate in my heart. Christianity even falls short on occasion, but because it is my default setting I tend to override and look past the shortcomings. Apologetics, I suppose.

    But my Native American heritage continually resonates in my heart. Paradox of paradoxes, I am woefully unfamiliar with Native American teachings, and most of the few I have been exposed to from various tribes simply do not hold my intellectual fascination. But the underlying affinity with nature resonates within me in a way no other path does, and has since I was very young. I find myself equating various parts and portions of what my heart tells me with what my mind has been indoctrinated to. It would be nice if I could trade my shirt and tie for a loincloth, but it wouldn't pay the bills or provide for any "real" type of life in the modern world. So I do have some great conflict in my spiritual walk, and I do sometimes allow my mind to override what my heart tells me. Sometimes, I have no choice but to listen to my heart.
     
  13. China Cat Sunflower

    China Cat Sunflower Nimrod

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
    Messages:
    2,924
    Likes Received:
    1
    Ideology supports structure. What we're really talking about here is propaganda. Propaganda is the mechanism by which public opinion is shaped. It functions by simplifying the concerns of the people in order to provide universally acceptable solutions to the tribe's shared problems. This tends to aggregate power to a "knowledgeable " elite who also happens to be the council of elders. Simple.

    In the past propaganda was the vehicle of ideology. Ideology was the sacred realm of the Priests. Since WWII, and specifically as a result of the efficacy of Marxism and Fascism, ideology is now the servant of propaganda. What Goebbels, Lenin and Stalin, Mao, and Hitler realized was that ends don't matter- it's all about means. Now ideology is at the service of means, not the reverse.

    Religion reinforces identity. Propaganda simplifies the choices about identity. Nowadays religion is virtually synonymous with nationalist, or quasi-nationalist sentiment.

    Chris
     
  14. InLove

    InLove at peace

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    Messages:
    3,267
    Likes Received:
    2
    Hi Everyone :)

    Wow. Some really insightful comments. Thank you!

    Dear juan, you struck that chord I was trying to play. There I was, fumbling around for the words, and you spoke them. One little, two little, three little teardrops. Like the song lyrics, "killing me softly with his song, telling my whole life with his words..."

    Of course, I know that in reality, our stories are a little different. Actually, they may be very different in some ways. But you certainly saved me some work by expressing so much of what I suppose prompted me to start this thread. Yet, I am still struggling with how to say what I want to say. I have a love-hate relationship with that cursor on my screen; can I get an “amen”, anyone? There it is, pregnant with possibilities and I do nothing but sit and stare at it until I just have to move it out of the way. It can be so demanding. Sometimes all that can be done is to head out to the garden with my notebook and touch pen to paper. I think that is what I will do shortly.

    But before I do, I want to tell people that I don’t intend to rant. Please don’t think that if I reference the Trail of Tears that I am seeking to champion Native American political concerns. (I can do this elsewhere. :D) These things may come up in the course of the discussion, but everyone has cultural roots. And all of us have at least some investment in them, don’t we? I am just wondering to what extent this affects our religious beliefs and practices.

    Chris, your observations stirred that question up in my head—the one I hear so often. What would America be like if the Europeans had never settled here? Most of the time, when this question comes up in debate, someone will say something along the lines of “It would be so much better. People would take care of the resources and love the land and all would be in harmony and everything would be hunky-dory all the time.” But I don’t know that, anymore than I know that if JFK or John Lennon had lived longer that they would still be so beloved by so many. I do not know what course things would have taken if Native America had not been mortally wounded. Perhaps human sacrifice would be the order of the day down in Mexico? Or, perhaps the Aztecs would now be great leaders in the area of architectural design and all kinds of other stuff. I mean, can any of us say that we know these things?

    I’m rambling. Time to stop for now. Postmaster, your comment brought me a smile. My first internet friend from another place was from Banglagore, India. We still communicate.

    Out to the patio I go; now where is my favorite writing utensil? I see a hummingbird and a "babbit" from my window here by the desk. Wonder who else is there? Thanks again for the comments, everyone! I hope they keep coming. I look forward to them. :)

    InPeace,
    InLove
     
  15. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2006
    Messages:
    5,259
    Likes Received:
    8


    WARNING: EYE BLEED ALERT

    (just kidding...)

     
  16. InLove

    InLove at peace

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    Messages:
    3,267
    Likes Received:
    2
    Everybody's a comedian. :p
     
  17. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2006
    Messages:
    5,259
    Likes Received:
    8
    :DEveryone's an audience!:D

    s.
     
  18. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2006
    Messages:
    5,259
    Likes Received:
    8
    Picking up on one of Juan’s points, one only has to look at the creation of the Church of England to see how the high and mighty control the masses in their “spiritual paths”. It was created by a monarch solely cos he wasn’t getting the male heir that he wanted from his then current wife and Rome wouldn’t let him do another swap. It makes R. L. Dee Doo Run Run Hubbard look spiritually motivated. So why are there so many followers of the CoE? Answers on a postcard to…

    s.
     
  19. flowperson

    flowperson Oannes

    Joined:
    May 8, 2006
    Messages:
    2,612
    Likes Received:
    0
    Postcard to Snoopy...Because they wanted to use birth control (condoms, which according to legend were invented by Henry) ? Thereafter the COE presumedly allowed them and the Roman Church still does not.

    Flow....:cool:
     
  20. pattimax

    pattimax Somewhat returning

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    Messages:
    1,204
    Likes Received:
    0
    My apologies for the slight derailment, although it isn't completely out of the ballpark...(I like doing that.)

    Someone told me the reason Catholic Priests couldn't get married is to insure no heirs and they would leave all to the church.
    Is this true?

    If this is common knowledge... oh well...:eek:
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2007

Share This Page