Wednesday, March 21, 2007

"Religious Views"

So now I'm getting so desperate that I'm stealing my own random notes off of facebook, except that this is the first note that I've made on facebook because I am pretty convinced that facebook is an agent of the devil (or of Sociability, a monster almost as fearsome.)


So I bet you've been wandering around facebook, looking at various things, and thinking to yourself, by golly! I wish there was somebody, somewhere who could analyze it far past the point to which it has meaning! Well, wish no more!

So, I was thinking about this category "religious views". First of all, it reminds me of the distinction my professor drew between religions that focus on theology and those that focus on practice. For Christians, he said, everything is about doctrine- you're Christian if you believe x,y, and z. Maybe a lapsed Christian or a bad Christian, but you're not outside of the faith.
Judaism, according to his theory at least, puts much more emphasis on practice; you ask whether somebody is shomer shabbat and shomer this more than their beliefs. The whole idea of having a list of beliefs didn't come around until the Rambam, and there were plenty of people who have made it into the halachic tradition who disagreed with several of the big 13.
I'm not so sure that we really are more into practice than belief nowadays. We seem to have plenty of fights about doctrine, but usually only when it affects practice. The problem is that it's hard to construct a "would you prefer your daughter to marry" question because it's hard to think of somebody who would have all the beliefs without the practices.

Secondly, I have to wonder about the phrasing "religious views". Which views, exactly, are religious in nature? Only the metaphysical ones? Do views about the nature of truth or whatnot fall into my "religious views" or are they more philosophical in nature? What about my views about my religion?
Or is "religious views" just code for "religion", except that religion seems to demand a sort of conformity, picking your choice off a drop-menu sort of thing, while religious views is open and multi-cultural? And if so, why do those different connotations exist?
I think that one difference between the terms is that religious views invites you to define your own religious views, not fitting into other people's boxes. But religion, for almost all of us, really is boxes. Especially on facebook, where the identification serves to place you in everyone's community. "Religious views" lets everybody who's uncomplicated enough to fit into a box, to pick the box, without thinking or majorly over-analyzing things, the complicated people to have a chance to be witty and deep and open-but-at-the-same-time-
showing-how-complicated-you-truly-are.
So I suppose it's really a win-win all around.
And I'm not sure what the point of this note was.

6 comments:

Halfnutcase said...

Toby, the use the word "religious views" because the whole concept is rather passe in popular culture at the moment.

Being relgious is not ok, but having views which don't impact your practice at all is considered hip. "this contradicts my relgious views mister professor!"

People who refuse to turn on a light because of their religion are comonly viewed as fanatics, as sad as it may be. (this comming from someone who is around such people all the time.)

but it's such a silly thought. what is the point of having relgious views if they don't change your practice at all?!

Miri said...

this is why people post silly things in their facebook religous views. a personal example: "I'm morally opposed to viewing religions. if you aren't going to buy oone, it isn't nice to stare."

David said...

I think that the phrase "religion" would just be asking for the brand name of the religion: e.g. "I am Jewish".

Religious views is non-denominational: "I believe in the connectedness of all living things."

Tobie said...

david- are all your beliefs like "the interconnectedness of all things" really something that you can fit into the twenty-ish word limit that they hand you?

Miri said...

Tobie, "Belief in the interconnectedness of all things" is seven words, so yes, I'd think it would fit.

rory,uk said...

i can see a church next door from mine