I will freely admit that I am extremely disgusted by the “Geography of religion”.
Don’t get me wrong: I wouldn’t give as much of a shit about it, if not for the fact that individuals tend to engage in extremely pathological antics and maltreatment of one another over what is effectively a mere accident of geography.
As my new “tongue-twister” sums up: Billy-Bob is a Baptist, because Billy-Bob was born in the “Bible”-belt.
No matter how hard I try, I simply cannot bring myself to “respect” the fact that approximately 99% of any given population will at least pay lip-service to a specific religion merely because it happens to be prevalent in their specific region.
IF anyone rationally evaluated the truth-claims (“beliefs”) and resultant actions (“practices”) of any given religion, you would not expect to find such beliefs/practices concentrated in specific geographical areas. You would also not expect those beliefs/practices to be correlated with such factors as “ethnicity” or “race”.
Instead, we see THIS:
Now, the above should indicate (to a rational and honest observer), a relatively simple fact:
Whatever the “major religion” in a given geographical area happens to be, THAT will be the “path of least resistance”.
Thus: our hypothetical “Billy-Bob” will be much more likely to become actively involved with (say) the Southern Baptists/Church of God than he would to become involved either with “Messianic” Judaism, or actual Judaism itself, – to say nothing of Hinduism/Buddhism/Shinto, etc.
Ironically, this fact is so blindingly obvious to everyone that it is possible to milk “humor” out of such notions:
The above song derives its “humor” from the following facts:
- such a scenario is so staggeringly unlikely as to be a virtual impossibility.
- EVERYBODY KNOWS that fact.
“Billy-bob” (or his real-life equivalent) would be exceedingly unlikely to even consider reading the Saddharma Puṇḍarīka Sūtra, Prajñāpāramitā, etc.
In fact, literally everything about “Billy-Bob’s” upbringing actively militates against such a possibility:
- He “knows” that the Buddhism, Taoism, Shinto, Hinduism, Islam, Baha’i (and the 99.999999999% of “Christianity” outside of his specific, bigoted little backwater) are “satanic counterfeits” – mere “man-made” falsehoods meant for those desiring “unsound doctrine”. (He has absolutely no reality-based evidence for his “knowledge”, of course — but, as he often boasts, he “walks by faith, and not by sight”.
- Barring some extremely unlikely turn of events, he is vanishingly unlikely to ever actually go to Japan, meet someone from Japan, or even find a reputable third-hand source for information ON Zen Buddhism.
- EVEN IF he did choose to do any of the above, in the event that he was “tempted” to “stray”, he would most likely be subjected to extremely intense amounts of “emotional blackmail” for that “transgression” – until he either succumbed to the pressure, or severed all contact with those claiming to be his “closest friends” and most “loving” relatives.
In other words, Billy-Bob (IF he takes “religion” seriously at all) is overwhelmingly likely to end up getting sucked into whatever happens to be most prevalent where he was “raised” — because it is “familiar”, and thus “comforting”. (IE: it doesn’t require much effort on his part. All he needs to do is learn w that motions to ape, and what platitudes he is expected to parrot.)
I could advocate that (modest) first step against this tendency would be for everyone to read one of the “sacred texts” originating from somewhere OTHER THAN whatever happens to be the “dominant” religion in your particular area.
I could advocate that, but I’m not going to.
Quite frankly, the vast majority of “believers” (whatever their purported “beliefs” happen to be) either couldn’t stand the level of emotional blackmail they would experience from their “friends and family”, or — if they DID manage to “tough it out”, the mere realization that their purported “beliefs” amounted to a mere accident of geography would most likely destroy them, utterly.
After all, if your “most important” beliefs/practices amount to a mere accident of birth (like whatever your “first language” happens to be, or your “favorite” regional dishes, or suchlike) – then who are “you”, really, other than basically a mere walking stereotype?
Most people – if they’re honest – would be destroyed by even asking the above question.