Friday, February 03, 2006

Is religion more identity then faith

Many people believe that religion is a matter of faith. A new term is appearing in Irish life. A pseudo-religion Al carte Catholicism. Many people think that the Catholic Church should change their views to suit a “modern Ireland” yet why should they Catholic faith is the Catholic faith. Catholic Dogma is Catholic Dogma. Religion is a set of values set by a higher power and not you. The Catholic Church’s values do not include divorce, married priests, female priests, accepting of gay relationships etc. If you do not agree with the set of values of the Catholic Church you are not a follower of the Catholic Church. Religious values do not change with the times they are supposed to transcend time.

In the Catholic Church at the age of about 12 kids get confirmed. Do you know any 12 year olds that can confirm their favourite bar of chocolate let alone there beliefs. For that matter can you think of any 20 year old that could confirm their beliefs. So why do kids go through this process. They do so because it is part of the school day. The school go through the hymns prayers and choreography of day but never address the most important aspect of the day the conformation of belief. Kids are never made question and analysis their beliefs. Why? Because they are 12 year olds and don’t have the ability too. But the meaning of conformation is that you have fully questioned your beliefs and are saying that your belief is in the Catholic Church is without questioned.

In Ireland the beliefs of the majority of young Catholics include divorce, etc are not the beliefs of the Catholic Church but of the Anglican Church. Yet people are not heading on down to the local Church of Ireland of a Sunday the theological differences are minuscule. So why do people not follow a faith that is not their faith?

Despite the fact that the likes of Wolfe Tone and Bono are protestant nationalism and Irishness is always aligned to the catholic church. When people talk about the North the terms catholic and nationalist are intertwined. Throughout Irish history protestants were seen as the oppressors of the Irish Catholics. Some people have thrown scorn on the Ulster Unionist proposals to try to attract catholic voters. Yet 25% of catholic voters are reportedly pro union.

In America what kept the Irish community together was the church while the Ulster-Scots Presbyterians never have had that same sense of community. In the census most people say that they are Catholic. Even though they no longer adhere to the tenements of the Catholic faith they still say that they are Catholic.

So why do people say they are catholic when their beliefs are closer to Church of Ireland. Is it because Catholism is still the identity of many Irish. During the penal times many people changed their religion from Catholic to Anglican to keep their land. This was seen as been a sell-out. So is it still in modern Ireland not acceptable to be a protestant. While we accept people coming to this country being protestant do we still have a hang up of Irish people being protestant?

I already discussed the case of Islam extremism in Britain being an identity in Britain. But what does the latest riots over the Danish cartoons say about Islam. The Koran says

5:32: "For that cause We decreed for the Children of Israel that whosoever killeth a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind. Our messengers came unto them of old with clear proofs (of Allah's sovereignty), but afterwards lo! Many of them become prodigals of the earth."

Now are these cartoons deemed to be “corruption in the earth” and is this the reason of the attacks or are the cartoons seen as an attack on their identity? Or like in Ireland is religion and identity intertwined beyond faith?

While Christian Irish take no offence at Cartoons of jesus. Would we take no offence at this cartoon from the 19th century punch magazine.


Eamonn said...

Well i would dispute Christian Irish would take no offence to similar cartoons about Jesus. If you take the now infamous cartoon of Mohammad wearing a bomb for a turban, would the Christian/Catholic correlation of that not be one depicting Jesus as a child abusing paedophile?

If so, you can be damn sure Christians would be highly offended, but I concede that a reaction such as the current one in the Muslim world is unlikely.

Simon said...

Then again what if the cartoons from punch appeared at the height of the troubles.

very good point about jesus though

CK said...

People don't like difference, change, extremes or seeming different. Fitting in, taking sides in political disputes and putting together census forms requires that people fit conveniently into demographic boxes, they can never be a comprehensive reflection of reality. Be aware of variations and the complete state of flux that is human nature and human history but also be aware that this will never suit those of us who wish to remain within the box. Also I think religion is more politics than identity or faith, its all about the power which demands adaptation and staying relevant which the Church of Ireland/England strikes me as having being susceptible too, I'm sure a book has been written on the watering down of the Catholic ethos, obvioulsy over a long period of time, but it has changed and will continue to do so. Although Pope Benedict has taken up wearing Medieval attire so the direction of change is undetermined!