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Author Topic: Staying within a faith that rejects your values  (Read 3078 times)
Sperran
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« Topic Start: November 18, 2007, 11:29:02 am »

Hey folks,

I've been curious for some time now as to why people continue to identify with a faith that differs substantially from their values.  For example, when you look at how the birthrate has dropped substantially in countries like Italy and France, you can be sure these folks aren't adhering to the Roman Catholic Church's teachings on birth control.  Many other folks disagree vehemently with church policies on things like female ordination, but they still remain members of their local parish and support the Catholic church through volunteering and financial contributions.  (Note:  I'm not trying to single out Roman Catholics, just provide an example with which most people will be familiar.)

Why do you think that people remain in religious organizations that clearly clash with their values?

Sperran
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« Reply #1: November 18, 2007, 11:42:43 am »

Hey folks,

I've been curious for some time now as to why people continue to identify with a faith that differs substantially from their values.  For example, when you look at how the birthrate has dropped substantially in countries like Italy and France, you can be sure these folks aren't adhering to the Roman Catholic Church's teachings on birth control.  Many other folks disagree vehemently with church policies on things like female ordination, but they still remain members of their local parish and support the Catholic church through volunteering and financial contributions.  (Note:  I'm not trying to single out Roman Catholics, just provide an example with which most people will be familiar.)

Why do you think that people remain in religious organizations that clearly clash with their values?

Sperran

This is a good question, and it is something that I often wonder about my Roman Catholic aunt who uses birth control. Therefore, I have given it a lot of thought.
The only thing I can come up with is tradition. Perhaps it has been a tradition in their family to go to church every week, and they are familiar with the Hail Mary and other such things since they have heard it since a child. It gives them a sense of familiarity and security, and this appeals to a lot of people. Plus, there is a sense of community when one goes to church. And if one has gone to the same church for many years they are reluctant to leave it.
Therefore I think that a lot of it doesnt come down to the actual religious policy itself- I'm almost certain my aunt doesn't delve deep into all the intricate details of her religion. All she knows is that the idea of the Virgin Mary appeals to her, she likes to sing hymns in church, and she's known this since she was a child. I doubt she has given much thought to the strict doctrine on birth control- or if she has she just deems it as a thing that was said in the past and is different nowadays.
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« Reply #2: November 18, 2007, 11:52:11 am »

Why do you think that people remain in religious organizations that clearly clash with their values?

I've often wondered the same thing myself.  Perhaps these folks continue to attend their local church because it's expected of them (family tradition, etc.) or because they are seeking a sense of community and belonging.   Frankly, I think there are also people who just don't get it, who don't give enough thought to what they do to see a conflict between their actions and beliefs.

Personally, I can't imagine sitting quietly through a religious service that condemns my personal beliefs and then ever returning again to that same church.  Then again, it's important that my actions and words are not in conflict with my spirituality and personal values.  If that happens, I know that it's time to stop and reassess what I'm doing and what my motivations are.
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« Reply #3: November 18, 2007, 12:09:11 pm »


Why do you think that people remain in religious organizations that clearly clash with their values?

Sperran

I know several gay Christians, and according to one, the way she sees it is that the Bible was written long ago and society has changed and grown since then, but the Bible has remained static.  If Jesus was as loving and accepting as believed then he woudln't have had a problem with her orientation as most of his followers do.

Personally, I think it comes down to individual interpretations within each religion. I have butted heads with more than a few pagans myself, it doesn't mean I am going to give up on my beliefs because everyone doesn't see it the same way.
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« Reply #4: November 18, 2007, 12:23:26 pm »

Hey folks,

I've been curious for some time now as to why people continue to identify with a faith that differs substantially from their values.  For example, when you look at how the birthrate has dropped substantially in countries like Italy and France, you can be sure these folks aren't adhering to the Roman Catholic Church's teachings on birth control.  Many other folks disagree vehemently with church policies on things like female ordination, but they still remain members of their local parish and support the Catholic church through volunteering and financial contributions.  (Note:  I'm not trying to single out Roman Catholics, just provide an example with which most people will be familiar.)

Why do you think that people remain in religious organizations that clearly clash with their values?

Sperran

I used to have a boss that was a Catholic, but didn't subscribe to everything they believed in.  She was mainly Catholic for the community, not for the religious teachings.  She had her "Jesus moment", and then realized that she should probably find a church.  The one she was most comfortable in just happened to be the Catholic one. 

My husband, on the other hand, didn't stay in a church when his values changed.  He was a Jehovah's Witness, and when he realized he had problems with the Bible as God's Truth, he left the organization.  He's now agnostic, with leanings towards atheism.
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« Reply #5: November 18, 2007, 06:37:00 pm »

Why do you think that people remain in religious organizations that clearly clash with their values?

I suspect in general it's because what they consider the CORE teachings of their faith do not clash with their values.  For example, while some Catholic leaders make birth control seem like a huge issue, many Catholics simply do not see "don't use birth control" as a core teaching of the faith.
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« Reply #6: November 18, 2007, 08:23:37 pm »

For example, while some Catholic leaders make birth control seem like a huge issue, many Catholics simply do not see "don't use birth control" as a core teaching of the faith.
'

Or they see a conflict between two different aspects - for example, not using birth control means having children they may not be able to support to an appropriate level, or may mean that some needed medical options are totally out of reach. In that case - do you pick the larger option (a value for life) or a specific one (particularly one where many people consider it not to be utterly preventing life - after all, all birth control methods short of hysterectomy have some kind of failure percentage.)
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« Reply #7: November 19, 2007, 05:45:17 am »

Why do you think that people remain in religious organizations that clearly clash with their values?

My initial off-the-cuff 5:45am semi-awake response:  Why do people continue to live in a country where the government's values clearly clash with theirs?  Because something--whether it's the country/religion itself or other people still within the country/religion--is important enough to them that they feel like it's more important to stay and try to change the country/religion, try to make it better, than to abandon it and find something that might suit them personally better without all that trouble.
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« Reply #8: November 19, 2007, 11:25:35 am »

Why do you think that people remain in religious organizations that clearly clash with their values?

There is a clash of belief, but I think the desire for validation of ones faith from a group of peers often gets in the way of one exposing anything that outwardly takes aways the validation that the group bestows. 

Hypothetically: I disagree that all other faiths are incorrect (from a rhetorically Christian perspective) but I do feel that most people practicing faiths outside of my own are often strange and out of place in my perception.  I don't desire to be one of those strange out of place people in the eyes of anyone else. 

(back to non hypothetical)

Should the undesirable deviations be exposed, they are almost always swept away in the spirit of "I struggle with this I'm working on it" or any other justification that one can come up with to gloss over the deviation.  The lack of a conclusion holds back the final judgment of peers and the deity you uphold together.

Humanity stands in the face of religious absolutism.  There are so many justifications and loopholes that one could use that it becomes a nearly impossible point to argue.  The person who is being defensive, can easily turn the discussion to point out that there is no perfection in humanity, and the entire purpose of faith is to put your imperfections in the hands of the divine.  In other words, until you're perfect stfu about it already.  God understands, it's just all the other nosey body humans who ruin it for people.

I think this might even be part of the psychological appeal of original sin.  It demonstrates that one does not have to be perfect to have a relationship with deity.

In the case of my own faith, I think people would - do - laugh at me at times when I deviate from my ideal in the name of circumstance.  But then again, that which you do not share, you can only be judged for by an intangible source that communicates it's pleasure or displeasure only to you. 

Which does not always bring about the social judgment which is often much harsher than any penitence that can be doled out in your own interactions with deity, since other humans aren't obligated to think of the most 'appropriate' response so much as the response that gains them the most security within the group that is actively condemning your deviation.  The condemnation of a group often surrounds pointing out the dangers of leaving the group, leaving those who stay behind proving that they are truly part of the group.

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