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Old 09-26-2010, 03:29 PM   #41
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
Location: New York
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,302
Re: To bow or not to bow

Willi Brix wrote: View Post
Religion is not "about enlightenment". Religion is about faith in unprovable dogmas.

The age of enlightenment is something that happened in the West, liberating the people from religious thought suppression. However, there are other religions which have never been faced with an age of enlightenment.

I do not think that it is fair to say that religion is not about enlightenment. Religions truly believe that they provide enlightenment to others. I cannot say that I have never derived enlightenment from religion because I have. It has not always been from my own previous practice of my religion (I am a non-practicing Jew). How you define enlightenment is an important component in this discussion.

We were in Jamaica over the Christmas/New Years 09/10 and were invited to attend a combined evangelical Christian & ancient Congo religion ceremony. This took place in a part of Kingston that no tourist would ever think to go (they are warned to stay away). Drum circles, trance states, goat sacrifice were all aspects of their observations. It was a powerful and enlightening experience for my wife and I. I learned a lot and would never have been as enlightened as I was about the people, the cultures and belief systems if I had not been part of that experience.

Sometimes faith is important. Sometimes dogmas that others profess are not as closed as we believe them to be. I think that we need to keep an open mind even when we believe others minds may be closed. I believe that we need to hold firm to what we believe is right and to acknowledge that we may be wrong and change our opinions at a later date. If I can try and hold myself to those standards, then those who train in my dojo are asked to do the same. Religious faith has been a blessing in some instances for societies and a curse at other times. If we simply write them off as faith in an unprovable dogma, then we can easily imitate that closed-minds that we seek to criticize. My criticism of the person in question was in the inability to move beyond a particular way of viewing a situation that was directly related to how that person interpreted living a religious life. I noted that this is not uncommon among very religious people. I do not believe that it is a universal truth of very religious people.

Marc Abrams
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