Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Reflecting on religion (or non religion)

This past semester, my son's school adopted world's religion as the main theme of discussions. Students from all the grades were presented with information from faiths and rituals around the planet. Then, during their usual end of the year performance, they gave us all a sample of their findings. We, the parents, were invited to send stories about our own family religion and rituals. The best stories would be selected to be read on the day of the performance. Of course, since we are not religious, I understood my input would not be the one they had in mind... However, some days before the show, the school sent out a message encouraging everybody to send a reflection, even if not a conventional one. The text below is the one I submitted. It was rejected. According to the teacher responsible for the selection, because did not represent most of the families there. But he said he liked my point... Well, in any case, I decided to post the text here. Maybe there other people out there with similar views. Maybe not. It is just a reflection, as most of my posts here, anyway.

I am not sure if a family with no religion can tell a story about religion. In any case, even though we don’t have religion we have religiosity. A lot of people are not familiar with this, and then we try to explain it:  For those of us, mysterious people without religion, God is not a figure with a single human face. In our small family we don’t believe we are made in God’s image. On the contrary, we believe that God is made in our image. This way if we are good, God is going to be good too. Even if we don’t look physically the way a lot of people see God, we can still be part of God, and he or she can have some of our ethnical features too. After all, for us God is a sum of every person’s spirituality and image.

Every single person is responsible for making the human kind into something really divine. If we, the people of the world, want to make a good, caring God, we need to try everyday to be better people. We should not expect passively that God will take care of us, but we have to take care of God. If we hurt another person or if we hurt the environment, we are also contributing to a bad spiritual community and then a bad, selfish God.

As one can expect, in our house we do not conventionally pray; however every single evening, at dinner time, we share a ritual in which we offer our thoughts to a person we love, or a cause we believe, maybe to someone who is in need of help, or someone who passed away and left a lot of memories and examples. Sometimes we simply honor one of our achievements, even a small one, and friends and family birthdays, too. But we also include, in our evening thoughts at the table, people from other parts of the world. This way, Andre will understand that populations around the world have needs, fears, problems and hope and happiness just like we have.

Our religiosity has no dogmas, and we do not envision heaven or hell. We think our spiritual energy one day will be back to this collective, universal energy, or, if one prefers, back to God.

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