There are certain philosophies or ways of thinking that have negative connotations attached to them. As I use many of these words in my blogging vernacular regularly, I want to explain how I define them.
This idea has received quite a bit of negative press from religious institutions. I believe much of this comes from fear and misunderstanding. Moral relativism, at its foundation, opposes the idea that one society, culture, or religious group has the monopoly on moral values. To me, I see this as an explanation for why so much good is witnessed in the world–people are born with a conscious and it is up to parents and/or other caregivers to nurture this. If a child is born in less-than-ideal circumstances, it is up to us–the community–to teach them “right” vs “wrong” within the context of love. I really do have an optimistic view on humanity.
It would be easy to categorize all of our beliefs within one group; however, most of us realize this is impossible. I have a very complicated personality that refuses to fit in one box. Hence my religious/spiritual beliefs are varied and open to change. At the moment, I do not believe in a God (atheism). However, the idea of God doesn’t bother me; if I die and find out He does exist I would be pleasantly surprised (agnosticism). If He does exist, I do not feel He plays a direct role in our lives (deist), nor do I think He actually answers prayers–the world is far too complicated for this idea to make sense to me (i.e. if He really answers prayers, why would He bless a family with 10 children only to take the mother or father away a few years later? OR why close the wombs of women who would be fabulous mothers? OR if gender is essential, why would He make people gay/lesbian?).
Additionally, I cannot fit the divine feminine within the current Judeo-Christian dogma. I know many people feel God encompasses both male and female qualities but my mind just cannot wrap around this concept–or the idea of trinity. It would seem Divinity would be much more simpler if we were intended to worship Him/Her/Them.
Many so-called intellectuals use this self-proclaimed title to put down those who do believe in some sort of religion. I find this practice to be irrelevant and hurtful–just as hurtful as those who think (or insinuate) I haven’t prayed hard enough or read the scriptures with the right spirit to explain why my testimony is gone.
Religion, in my opinion, is not a following of “blind sheep.” It is a community center, if you will, that brings people of similar spiritual paths together. Some churches work for one group, while another church will work for an entirely opposite group. But to say religion is full of ignorant people is to spew hateful remarks that are unnecessary and completely wrong.
When I label myself an intellectual, it is to be taken like any character attribute or flaw. I think like an intellectual–my mind is constantly sifting through new information, seeking to correct or expand the current ideas I have–and it is part of my personality. I wouldn’t change this aspect of myself just like I wouldn’t ask a believer to dispel of their faith. However, when religious people brand my intelligence as “worldly” or some other derogatory term, I think it comes from knee-jerk defensiveness. Believe me, when I talk about issues with scriptures, God, or religion, it is my way of thinking aloud; of bridging what I have learned in the past with what I am learning now–knowledge begets knowledge and I am allowing myself to go through a natural evolution of my personal philosophies.
There you have it. A glossary of the terms I regularly use. I am sure I will add to this as time goes by.
In other news, this weeks Parents Supporting Parents theme is chores. Do your kids do chores? If so, how and why? Any funny stories about kids “cleaning” and “helping” that you want to share? Link up! It will be fun. I promise.
(I even have a new button. If you need the code, e-mail me. I’m having problems with getting the handy html code beneath it.)