I promised more posts about my religious wanderings, so here you go. From a sociological standpoint, I think American organized religion (or at least the varieties with which I have come into close contact) has abandoned the communal values religion it is supposed to espouse, instead warping religion into an arm of an overly capitalistic state. The way I see it, the overriding theme of religion is universal love. We’re promised a God who loves us and cherishes each of us as his own creation. This universalism is missing from most mainstream American churches — God’s love is reserved for the few who contribute to the building of a new super-huge sanctuary, or those who propagate the perfect family for the front of the church directory. Universalism isn’t a characteristic of the values espoused by most denominations anymore.
Also missing from the values I feel religion should be espousing is a responsibility to our fellow man. I’ve seen people pray for a big business deal to go through, and not half an hour later watched them pass by a hungry homeless person without blinking an eye. Organized religion, through telling people that God will give them the successes they desire if they behave, has made people believe that all they have to do is not screw up majorly and God will fill their wallets. American religious conservatives have married their religious views to their social and economic views: a concern for themselves first, and a strongly-held belief that individuals who work hard will be rewarded. I look around this country and see plenty of people who are working hard, and the only reward they’re getting is a big ol’ shaft from life, as they can’t afford healthcare for their children, or food to put on the table.
And where are the religious nutballs when that child has to go into the hospital? At their country club, sipping Michelob Ultras and thanking Jesus for helping them seal the deal on their new clients. I’m appalled by the arrogance and lack of humanity I see every day which, in my experience, has been bolstered by organized religion.