My view of religion

I've been going to a Mormon church for nearly a year now. I've thought carefully about religion for quite some time. I thought it might be fun to write here, what I believe. I'm hoping I can write this in a way that invites dialogue and welcomes the skeptic.

We'll start with the basics. I believe in a universal creator, in some revelation of his will. I also believe in the immortality of the soul.

This is the underpinning of everything else. And it's something that helps me to write out the rest of the details. We start with God.

That said, God is something that needs to be talked about very, very carefully. To have some invisible person to blame everything on - is dangerous to hearts and minds. Many who will loudly proclaim they are Godly - are the first to try to pin this universal creator into the form of a demigod that handles things like parking spaces, and court judgements.

My early faith was strongly influenced by a rabbi who taught me not to pray to have a new mercedes. But rather to pray to be able to work hard enough to afford to buy one for myself. As I happen to drive a mercedes, I am happy to report that this does not include scheduled maintenance. Fast, cheap or good. Pick two.

As I began to develop a more clear picture of religion - it became apparent to me that much of organized religion concerns itself with sharing faith. In some cases, such as that of the mega church - the sharing that happens is more or less one way: a dynamic evangelist spends his or her time transmitting to the audience his or her view of faith. In turn, these churches often distract the worshipper by giving him or her a wide choice of social programs, parents night out, vacation bible school and missions. This helps the mega-church goer to avoid the question he or she will eventually ask. To wit.

"Why does God choose this one person to talk to, when he could speak to all of mankind?"

Mega churches that get into political fights are even more expressive of this general mission. Evangelism can take the form of transmission and sharing of ideas, as well as political tenets. By and large, the small churches tend to copy this model and do the best they can to keep people interested in coming to church and sharing their faith and resources. The model of coming to church on time is largely a holdover of the industrial era. Many people simply don't go to church on sundays anymore, but for those that do - there is usually a vibrant schedule of activities and involvement that include wednesday night dinner, activities, and fellowship. So, it's all about sharing. I've never had a problem with church.

I do, however, believe that mixing religion and state are two things that end up weakening each other. Kind of like pouring pool cleaner nd concrete together - you either end up with a melted, brittle foundation to build upon, or your pool just doesn't get clean for the rocks within it. They just don't work well with each other.

The business of the state is the present and immediate transmission of the will of man toward the common work of mankind. The business of the church is to share the faith of God toward the common will of man. Evangelism and conservatism, particularly - do not mix. A proper conservative must consider all avenues and means by which something can be done more effeciently. A good conservative is the polar opposite of a dogmatic individual. However, liberalism and evangelism are an even more noxious blend. A liberal must consider the common good and attempt to create a policy framework where the common good is accomplished within the constraints of bureaucracy. His or her goal must include one of the uplift of mankind. But that is a dirty business, where people will cheat and misuse programs. The last thing you need is a person who is pursuing the delivery of those programs from an evangelical standpoint - the proper excercise of liberalism is an objective attempt to make things better using the mechanism of governance. Loss of objectivity always equals loss of coherence. The church is rarely objective, but the state must always be objective. Keeping them separated keeps them strong.

That's all you get for your quarter.