It must have been around ten years ago, at this point. At any rate, it has to be more than 5.
“Back in the day”, I used to (very occasionally) go to a “Bluegrass jam-session” at a rented auditorium-type building. I haven’t been to this particular “jam-session” for at least 5 years (since my wife and I have lived in Florida since 2010), nor had I attended it since somewhere around 2006/7.
As with everything else which can be convincingly marketed as “folksy” (IE: non-“citified”/non-“worldly”), the local Bluegrass “scene” in that area of PA is more or less saturated with Mennonites. Arguably, there’s something vaguely unsettling about hearing a guy with the last name “Stolzfus” attempting to sing (in that garbled, pseudo-Germanic accent), about how he’s “Goin’ back to Old Kentucky” — but I digress.) 🙂
Anyway: one evening I had the misfortune to be trapped into a discussion with a guy named “Dean Martin”. (Yes: “Martin” is a ridiculously-common name, to the point where I actually encountered a guy named “Martin Martin”, one time.)
Anyway: the guy was Mennonite, and (as usual) began “grilling” me about religion. The guy was tragically ill-informed even about the history of his own denomination, so I didn’t bother to pursue the discussion very far — especially after he invoked the (supposed) virtues of “simple faith”.
“Simple faith” is that to which individuals resort when someone dares to advocate that they understand the theological positions/metaphysical claims which they purport to “believe”.
Fundamentally, the notion of “believing” something which you can neither articulate nor defend strikes me as dangerous. After all: the (so-called) “pagans” and “heathens” Christians are always trying to recruit also exhibit “simple faith” in whatever they claim to ‘believe”. The only difference is: Christians preemptively assume that the “pagans”/”heathens” are wrong.
This boggled my mind — until I realized something which is actually rather damning:
Those who profess “simple faith” don’t actually “believe” the theological/metaphysical claims — often going to so far as to openly admit their own ignorance.
Realistically (to take the example of Christianity): Dean Martin and other advocates of “simple faith” don’t really “believe in” Yahweh/the trinity/Satan/Armageddon/transubstantiation, etc.
No: to the extent that they “believe in” anything: they “believe” in Mommy and Daddy.
The problem with this is: most likely (unless they happen to have been clergy or “converts”) Mommy and Daddy were as ignorant — if not more so.
Assuming (for the sake of argument) that religion isn’t all delusional bullshit (IE: the equivalent of Wesley Willis’ “hell-ride demons”), it would seem to be exceedingly important to be RIGHT (especially given the carrot-and-stick “gimmick” most religions use to bribe/terrify their adherents (“An eternity of hellfire!”, etc.)
So: no: uncritical ‘aping and parroting” whatever your “Elders” happen to be babbling about is both abysmally dangerous, and fundamentally dehumanizing.
Especially if Mommy and Daddy attempt to coerce such aping/parroting by means of “emotional blackmail” — or outright physical brutality.