Another thoughtful response which gets bumped to the front:

I read, with great interest, your observations and opinions concerning Unitarianism.
Today I attended one of their services for the first time. You got it ENTIRELY right…
a bunch of politically correct, quasi-intellectuals with idiotic smiles plastered on their faces.
No one approached me, a stranger, to ask me why I had come or to welcome me. They were all broken up into what appeared to be little cliques. Trying to engage anyone was fruitless.
The one exception was the “official” greeter who let me know that it was OK to bring my coffee into the meeting (worship) area. The coffee sucked, by the way.
I should point out that I was not there to pass judgment. I was dressed business casual. I had taken a shower and shaved that morning so, there was nothing overtly repulsive about my person or
demeanor.
I am a “non-believer”. I don’t “believe” anything and find the entire concept of accepting something
“on faith” completely alien. I guess I am unusual in that regard. I don’t reject the existence of “god”.
I simply don’t know. What I am fairly convinced of is that no one else knows, either.
From the time I was very young and, continuing throughout my adult-hood, I have been fascinated
by this thing called religion and how it has and continues to impact so many aspects of our society, lives and interactions.
I studied comparative religion in college. I have read most (not cover-to-cover) of the Bible. I have read some of the Book of Mormon (tough read).
I have read parts of the Bhagavad gita and
Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching… “The true Tao can not be written or told.”
I “practiced” Wicca for a couple of years. I have been to Synagogue (Temple). I was raised Lutheran.
I’ve been to Roman Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Swedenborg and Assembly of God services.
Probably one of the stupidest things I’ve heard this week was the other poster’s assertion that
one “shouldn’t go to Buddhist Temples or Sikh temples because they are not a part of that culture.”
Mind numbing!
I guess I will just have to live by the old joke (Groucho Marx)… “I don’t want to belong to any club that
will accept me as a member. 🙂
This guy basically sums  the whole thing up, for me:
No matter how hard I try, I cannot bring myself to buy into the notion that the 99% of the world’s population who ape and parrot whatever religion/taboos/whatever happen to have been foisted on them during childhood – are in any kind of position to even know whether they “believe” any of it, or not.
For example: most of the “Dharmic” religions (Hinduism/Buddhism/Jainism, etc.) posit a “wheel of rebirth”, wherein an individual’s “karma” determines the life-status they are doomed to hold, after they reincarnate.
This is the primary excuse (er, I mean “explanation”)  proffered for “caste”/sex-based oppression.
Now, I submit that any individual “raised” in a specific milieu – but kept ignorant of  the (purported) “beliefs”/practices of “foreigners” – will not be in any position to:
1. Rationally evaluate the “beliefs”/practices of his/her “tribe”
2. Rationally evaluate the “beliefs”/practices of “foreigners”
That’s what it comes down to, fundamentally:
“Because that’s how I was ‘raised'” is just an amazingly dangerous cop-out.
For example: let’s say YOU were “raised” to be kindly/generous/tolerant of others (even “foreigners”).
However, somebody else was “raised” to be a bigoted dickhead who ends up joining the KKK, and dragging some hapless black guy behind a pick-up truck, until the guy is dead:
Quite frankly, if the vicious sub-animals responsible for such a murder attempted to excuse their antics because they were “raised” in a geographic/demographic subculture which actively tolerated – or even excused – such things – this would (correctly) be dismissed out of hand, as a cop-out of the worst kind.
I really don’t see the “geography of religion” as any different, than the “geography of racism” – or the “geography” of jargon (“Soda” vs. “Pop”).
Except, fo course, the pages of history aren’t dripping with the blood of people murdered/martyred because they grew up using the “wrong” term to refer to carbonated beverages.
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