One of the joys of being a pluralist is to play Mr. Spock, and I would conclude, “Religion is a system of beliefs and rituals designed to bring tranquility to an individual and guide him to live in balance with what
surrounds him/her; life and the environment. Now turning to the religious folks to find what does it mean to be religious, we will run into three sets of people within each tradition; literalists, pragmatist, and essence-ialists. Mike Ghouse
URL - http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2013/07/texas-faith-is-it-more-important-to-do.html
TEXAS FAITH: Is it more important to do the right thing or to have the right beliefs?
By Wayne Slater | firstname.lastname@example.org
12:34 pm on July 30, 2013
What does it mean to be a religious person? Is it about what you do or what you think? A new study finds that about two-thirds of Americans say being a religious person “is primarily about living a good life and doing the right thing.” About a third hold that being religious “is primarily about having faith and the right beliefs.”The report was just published by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Brookings Institution.
The study suggests that political orientation influences on how people think about what it means to be religious. Or maybe it’s vice versa – the way you think about being religious guides your political orientation. Religious progressives are more likely than religious conservatives to say being a religious person is mostly about doing the right thing, not holding the rights beliefs. And that difference– thinking vs. doing – is not just an intellectual exercise. It says something about how people view social problems and what to do about them. For example, 8-in-10 religious conservatives agree that if enough people had a personal relationship with God, social problems would take care of themselves. Only about 3-in-10 religious progressives believe that.
No doubt, living out one’s faith is a virtuous thing. But is that what it means to be religious — or simply virtuous. To invert a Christian idea, are works without faith dead?
What does it mean to be a religious person?
MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism, Dallas, and speaker on interfaith issues
If Mr. Spock were to be hired to study various religions and present a report, he would study each tradition from Aztec to Zoroastrianism, and how individuals or groups live with the teachings, and struggle when he or she is off the course on a given set of norms.
One of the joys of being a pluralist is to play Mr. Spock, and I would conclude, “Religion is a system of beliefs and rituals designed to bring tranquility to an individual and guide him to live in balance with what surrounds him/her; life and the environment.
Now turning to the religious folks to find what does it mean to be religious, we will run into three sets of people within each tradition; literalists, pragmatist, and essence-ialists.
Each individual is driven by the politics of life –what is in it for me (selfishness), insecurity, and self preservation (greed).
To the literalists and conservatives, life is a simple affair; to be religious is to obey God! They believe in God and follow the Bible, Quran, Torah, Bhagvad Gita, the Gathas, Granth saheb, Pali or the other books to the literal meaning of the word, and most of them tend to be ritualistic observers.
Some of them literally believe in the Sodom and Gomorrah story and want to make life difficult for those who do not comply. To some, it is about making a business of calling others tradition a ‘false religion”, and to some, stoning an adulterer to death or waging jihad is religious. Their faith is the only true faith and all others are not, such is the simplicity of these folks. As long as they live in silos, they can actually live a happier life.
The pragmatists believe to be religious is to mind your own business, your own God and go on living a comfortable life. Their focus is not going to church, to them being religious, “is primarily about living a good life and doing the right thing.”
The essence-ialists are folks who see the beauty and wisdom of each religion in bringing solace to individual and building cohesive societies where no one has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of the other. They understand the value of religion and follow its essence without the rituals. To them, to be religious, “is about living a good life and doing the right thing.”
To read the other ten panelists thoughts, please go to Dallas Morning News at : http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/2013/07/texas-faith-is-it-more-important-to-do-the-right-thing-or-to-have-the-right-beliefs.html/
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Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in Standing up for others and has done that throughout his life as an activist. Mike has a presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through many links.