What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?
I think religions offer ready-made constructs that one can choose to subscribe to or not ... they can also act as a starting point for a spiritual journey of unknown duration and destination.
Faith and religion are not synonymous in my eyes. I think the two can and quite often do co-exist quite apart from one another. To some, all matters of this nature are seen as a complete irrelevance. To others it's central to their lives and everything that matters to them.
I think what is important above all else is to act in good faith ... regardless of the source or label of our particular faith.
I have said before that I long to have an enduring faith. I want to believe in something beyond what we see in the here and now. I tried to believe for quite a long time, but trying is not in itself sufficient to cement faith into place. I fasted and prayed ... I read my bible. I lived as if I already had faith ... walked the walk so to speak. But there is an inherent mis-trust in my heart I guess. Perhaps I've tried to believe in the wrong thing. Hard to tell.
In a lot of ways I want to say that I hate religion, but the reality is that I hate what is sometimes done in it's name rather than religion itself.
I think political activities are often seen as exercises in futility. It's pretty popular these days to be cynical, insisting that politicians are out solely to line their own pockets or to toe the party line regardless of personal ethics. It may be true for some but on the whole I choose to believe otherwise. I think most people are well intentioned and when faced with impossible choices they try whenever possible to go down the path of least harm.
But I know too from working in various organisations that the prevailing culture can have a massive impact on our thinking. Over time it can whittle away at our core values as we get increasingly weary of standing firm against what can seem like a tidal flow of popular opinion. I can understand how people who initially set out with all good intentions can find themselves on the wrong side of their own moral code.
Politics does interest me although I know little about it. In my very limited experience I've yet to find a viable alternative to one of the popular democratic systems in terms of maintaining personal freedoms, rights and what is loosely termed "the greater good".
I believe these three are imperatives and therefore must be balanced in order to both please and displease everyone to pretty much the same degree. To me, this almost defines democracy ... that it is so apparently imperfect and yet we seem unable to improve on it.
And what of the merits of a benevolent dictatorship? Surely this can only ever work if I am in charge? Ha! ... thoughts for another day methinks.
Red Jewels - festive bouquet oil painting
3 days ago