Meditation: Religion

Religion is defined as, well, nobody seems to know what the definition of religion is. First, lets see what the dictionary has to say concerning religion. Merriam-Webster says religion is the belief in a god or in a group of gods. : an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods. Dictionary.com states that religion is  a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs. Wow, now there’s a sentence for you. The opening in Wikipedia reads, religion is a socialcultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, beliefs, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethic, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, and spiritual elements; however, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion. In other words, scholars, whoever the hell they are, have failed to agree on a definition of religion. In fact you could write a blog just about what religion is, without any kind of commentary or opinion. There are estimated to be over 4000 religions worldwide. Despite the problems of defining religion, everybody does seem to think they know what a religion is. Most people can easily name about 10 to 20 well known religions. Religion is often associated with a church. However, for the first time since the 1930’s, over half of the American population say they do not belong to a church. In the mid 90’s, 70% of Americans said they belonged to a church. In a nutshell, it seems that people still believe in God, but not so much in organized religion.

Of course, the church has seen a lot of bad publicity in recent years, especially concerning priests. That, and the overall decline of the middle class, has lead to the church seeing a decline in revenues and attendance. If you are a very religious person do you really need a church. How about a club, much like a book club? Why can’t people meet in smaller groups and practice the religion of their choice? Do we really need the large congregation and a leader of a church? Doesn’t the church just seem to make you want to feel guilty of some of the things, that you do, that in reality are really doing no harm to anyone, including yourself? Why does the meeting have to be on Sunday? How about Tuesday night. After all, we don’t want to compete with Monday night football. Can you really get 100 to 200 people to agree on anything, let alone on what their religious beliefs are? However 10 to 20 people can gather, and have like religious views, and they do not have to pass a plate around. The small religious gathering could be the thing of the future. It could be called, the Name of the Religion Club. An example would be the Hindu Club, meeting every Tuesday night at 8. Where they meet can be rotated around the 15 or so member’s homes.

Meditation is certainly associated with Eastern Religions, like Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism, just to name a few. Meditation does not seem to be a big part of Christianity. That’s not to say that Christians do not meditate, but it has not had the same importance, as it does in Eastern Religions. The reason I think this is, is that meditation is a way to freedom and independence of thought. The Church has always seemed to discourage independent thinking. The church is the perfect example of an organization, that wants to suppress their members, so they can justify their existence. The church wants members to feel, that they will always need the church, to get through the process of day to day living. The church does not follow the true mentor-student relationship, where the student leaves the mentor, because the mentor is no longer needed. Meeting in a group, to discuss spiritual and religious beliefs, can be a wonderful nurturing experience. It can be done without any kind of vast organizational behemoth. People need to meditate. They need to have open discussions, about their spiritual views. They need comfort and support, through hard times. What they don’t need is a church, which has failed miserably in providing the necessary tools, to accomplish those religious needs.

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