Posted by: sponyak | October 7, 2007

Dogma vs. Innate Compassion

I came across the following quote and it hits on a couple of things we have previously discussed. It is from a novel about the Native American shamanistic tradition by Robin Rice, “100 Days to Sunday.” I am interested in what people think of it, particularly those who have said they were raised in a religious household and later rejected those beliefs-specifically, why did you reject them? Do you think that an overbearing focus on religion by parents is more likely to lead to children rejecting dogma? Or is a more moderate religious stance by parents more likely to lead to children questioning their parents’ beliefs. This also brings up the issue of an innate human compassion versus campassion imposed by religious beliefs which has been discussed. Here is the quote:

“To choose parents who will force a religious paradigm upon a soul often helps
the soul reject then release dogma, ultimately finding the true spiritual self
and one’s innate compassion.”

While choosing one’s parents implies a sort of reincarnation, I am disregarding that part. And, I take the “soul” reference not in a religious sense at all but in the sense that a “soul” is the set of inherent characteristics and qualities of an individual’s personality. So what do you all think?

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Responses

  1. My own “conventional wisdom” tells me that parents with moderate religious beliefs would influence their children to have moderate beliefs also- though obviously that’s not always the case.
    On the other hand, parents with opressively dogmatic beliefs (like the “God’s Friends are Nuts” kids’ parents would almost certainly have)would most likely spawn in their children either a total acceptance of their own dogmatic beliefs, or a total rejection of those beliefs.
    There was an interesting article in this Sunday’s PD ‘Parade’ magazine about Brad Pitt and his “faith”. He says that he was raised in a fundamentalist Christian environment- but somewhere in his teens… well, refering back to the quote,

    “To choose parents who will force a religious paradigm upon a soul often helps
    the soul reject then release dogma, ultimately finding the true spiritual self
    and one’s innate compassion.”

    That’s pretty much Brad Pitt’s story- now he’s an infidel like some of us!

  2. But he’s an infidel who is spiritual.

  3. I see we are still crunched. Anyway, so when you say, “But he is a spiritual infidel,” do you define being spiritual as not being atheist?

    I think, that one can be spiritual without any notion of god. A person’s spirituality may simply revolve around their committment to compassion, for example, and I know several people like that. They have no god, they do not believe, but they describe themselves as “spiritual” because they have a sense of obligation to humanity/environmentalism, etc., just for the sake of being the kind of person they want to be.

    And that to me, is still an atheist. So, what do you find suspicious about being “spiritual?” if I may inquire.

  4. Ah… scrunch-free!

    No, no- I didn’t mean to imply any suspicion about Mr. Pitt’s spiritualism. From what I read, he appears to be exactly as you stated, Maudie:

    “They have no god, they do not believe, but they describe themselves as “spiritual” because they have a sense of obligation to humanity/environmentalism, etc., just for the sake of being the kind of person they want to be”

    I see myself as being somewhat spiritual in that sort of way.

    I am suspicious, however, of certain types of spiritualism which delve into mysticism- any belief system that would steer one away from reality, I can’t help but be suspicious of… that’s the foundation of religion, isn’t it? Belief in the unreal?

  5. To me, the phrase “to choose parents” is ridiculous, but that’s neither here nor there. I was never really forced into believing in Christianity, although my parents decidedly tried to guilt me into thinking that some things in my life had happened because I had no “faith”, and I needed faith to help me through some difficult situations. From what I can tell, looking back, I had myself to thank for getting out of those situations and moving on. So, the rest of the quote fully applies to my life, and I agree with it. My parents are both Methodists, and they somewhat “made” me go to church, but not every Sunday. I had to go to Sunday school and confirmation, and I even was in the church choir, and a substitute teacher for a few weeks for a 5th and 6th grade sunday school class. What was funny was, I was only about 15 or so, maybe a little older, and the class I taught had nothing whatsoever to do with what they were supposed to be “taught”. I think that’s kind of funny to this day – I was teaching them English, spelling and math, and they were much more interested in that 🙂 I just couldn’t bring myself to read from their biblical chapters, or use the workbooks they were given because they had no meaning for me. So, I taught what I knew, and the kids had fun. Not one of them asked me why we weren’t learning about christian stuff. So, I have found more of my “spiritual” self than I ever would have if I had been forced into a religious paradigm, as the quote mentions.


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