Religion and Reflection

25 Mar

I’ve always struggled to express my thoughts on religion. Given the role it has and does play in our world though, it is a topic worthy of some discussion. There have been plenty of amazing, selfless things done in the name of religion but also much heartache, destruction and oppression carried out in the same name.

I was raised an Anglican, in a predominately Christian society. While certainly not the central foundation of my upbringing, it has played some significant part. However, I’ve always struggled to reconcile what I see as the fundamental themes of Christianity – love, forgiveness and tolerance – with the intolerant and oppressive contentions of mainstream Christian groups and figures. It’s certainly not unique to Christianity, though these are the example with which I’m most familiar. Male only clergy, opposition to contraception and gay marriage are all issues that have recently been highlighted in an increasingly agnostic mainstream media.

I find it hard to fathom that any higher power would prescribe rules about what women should wear, who should be allowed to marry or which sex is fit to hold positions of power in the church. These all fly in the face of the tolerance and love supposedly preached by these religions. These ideas are human ideas, written down 2000 years ago and reflect the rules of society then. Thankfully, humans have evolved and the world is a lot more tolerant than it used to be, and inevitably, like slavery, these ideas will be consigned to history.

So organised religion is not for me. But what of spirituality? Of themes like love and forgiveness? I believe in the power of reflection and mediation. Call it karma, God or conscience – perhaps the same thing. Taking the time to reflect – to actively forgive, to learn from your mistakes and to attempt to improve are all things common to religion. Maybe they were onto something – it wouldn’t be the first time good intentions have ended not so well. I wonder why in times of trouble, most people turn to prayer. Why so many people need to believe in a higher power. I certainly don’t have the answers but in the meantime will continue to believe and attempt to understand…what more could any higher power ask?


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