Saturday, December 15, 2007

Just to start some controversy

I think overall I've been relatively uncontroversial in my ideas. So I thought I'd throw something out there, and leave it out there for people to look at and maybe get angry at and I'll explain it later.

While I believe that embracing the ideal of love is probably the most important guide to salvation, I believe different churches rank as different value in their ability to guide people to salvation.

Here's my ranking of religions (this says nothing about the people who belong to these religions, or the fact that all these religions are valid belief systems, but rather it's a matter of my philosophical and religious agreement with the religions):

Christianity > Judaism > Islam > Sikhism > Hinduism > Buddhism > Agnosticism > Atheism > White power churches

Within Christianity, I have another ranking system:

Catholicism > Eastern Orthodox/Oriental Orthodox > Protestants > Mormonism/Jehovah's Witnesses

Now there are a lot of other religions out there, they tend to fit somewhere on my scale but almost all are above Atheism except those that are explicitly based on hate like the White power churches.

I'm a devout Roman Catholic, but I'm not one casually. I believe that while you should take in your parents' religion and the religion of those you look up to as a kid, at a certain age (probably starting around 7 (the age of reason by Roman Catholic standards when you start understanding the rituals that you do) and intensifying around 13 (when a lot of kids get Confirmed)) you have to really start looking at your religion. Now I don't mean throwing away your previous beliefs with no reason. After all, since you have motivations to do things in life you always have some beliefs, even if they're implicit, so why not start out with some explicit beliefs that you can actually examine and mold. What I'm really trying to say is you look at your beliefs, find contradictions, see if you can resolve them, if you can't discard one of the beliefs that caused the contradictions. Then you extend the beliefs to create new conclusions, again this will generate contradictions. Then you look at the beliefs that form the core of your beliefs, again this process will generate contradictions: resolve them. Finally you take the sum of that whole matter and decide what is the best course for you religiously.

I say this not with the idea that everyone should develop a complete religious philosophy all by themselves. Look, when you're having trouble with a math problem, what do you do? You consult a math textbook. But what if there are different schools of thought about that mathematics problem? You find an expert in math who you trust and respect. Math actually has a lot to do with religion since they're both based on axioms (basic beliefs) extended by logic (for those of you who scoff, I'd like to point out nearly all of modern logic is based on the work of the Catholic Church (CATHOLICS RULE! WOOOOOO!), and at this moment theologians are pouring over religious texts and applying the logic to explicate them). A lot of religious topics are hard to understand, don't be afraid to take guidance from people you respect and trust. Still you have to see if the commitment you make to a religion agrees with your basic beliefs and the ideas that you were able to work out. Moreover, if you have the time, look through and analyze the beliefs of the religion you adopt, and also others if you have more time. Of course, it could be you can't find any organized religion that agrees with your basic beliefs, I'd probably argue that's a flaw in your basic beliefs, but that's a philosophical matter in which I acknowledge that many rational, thoughtful people can come to different conclusions, and then you would have to take no organized religion.

Well, I sort of went back on my I'm not going to explain this rule. And to go back on it even further, I'd like to throw in a session I did earlier explaining some of my religious thoughts (most notably my problems with reincarnation and Buddhism). But I'm not going to explain everything (although you might have noticed that the religions I hold in higher esteem are those that are closer to Christianity, and the denominations of Christianity I hold in greater esteem are those that are closer to Roman Catholicism, but still there are additional reasons for my rankingology). Still I think this is enough to start some controversy.

Get mad or get Catholic! Come on!

1 comment:

t987h said...

Controversy is good, but only if it illuminates and challenges. What you are saying here is similar to rating races or nationalities, like Americans>Indians>Chinese. You've got your beliefs and of course you hold higher your beliefs than other alternative versions from say, other religions and nonreligions. But to rank religions is closed minded. It's intolerant. It's misleadingly subjective. It doesn't challenge anything. And it doesn't make any sense.