My blog contains a large number of posts. A few are included in various other publications, or as attached stories and chronicles in my emails; many more are found on loose leaves, while some are written carelessly in margins and blank spaces of my notebooks. Of the last sort most are nonsense, now often unintelligible even when legible, or half-remembered fragments. Enjoy responsibly.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Faith for Sale

I come from a part of the country where people have what is known as personal faith. They believe that their own values and morals are stronger if forced out into the public marketplace of ideas. Strength in character is understood to come from an internal struggle and materializes as personality principles grounded in that person’s private beliefs.

When I moved to the South years ago I was very taken back by the openness and advertising of structures of morality. People’s faith seems to be not only open, but advertised freely in hopes to either encourage others or reaffirm one’s own beliefs. To me, this is horrifying and cheapens the individual moral reasoning essential for creating an honorably-balanced person. It is only under private contemplation that character is formed and personal morals, values and judgments about things still not understood by the world at large are weighed and measured. Substituting this process for a desire to belong to a clique or by blindly following a dogma ensconced in its own problems is not going to end well for either the individual or the any culture.

What I find most appalling is the shameful way that some people here advertise their religion for financial gain. Not only is it prevalent in all classes in the deep south, it is done so unabashedly and without further contemplation. Now, I am probably the last person who should get on a soapbox about this, but I don’t see anyone else doing it – so here goes:

When you put an ichthys on your billboards, business cards or business you are essentially trying to substitute your religious group for personal responsibility. Sure, you think that it lends some sort of creditability to your business, but in reality it is explicit promotion your religious affiliation for money. Or in other words, you are selling your personal beliefs for cash.

But this type of thing reaches much further than “Hire me I’m a Christian” stickers. It actively works to create pockets of people who deal only with like-minded people. This type of action fosters isolation, animosity and xenophobia. It is not only bad for our society, it’s possibly the most un-Christian thing that you can do.

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