Fun fact: I do come from a religious background. My mother was Baptist. My father is still a devout Catholic. My family’s offspring has mirrored this dichotomy, with my brother and sister following similarly branched faiths of Christianity.
Before I go on, know that I don’t think less of anyone for being religious. It is a true dedication of character to live a true life of faith – whether it be Christianity, Judaism, Buddism, Muslim, Krishna, etc. A person’s character can be defined in how closely they adhere to the morals they’ve adopted, and I am always in awe of those that uphold the true core of their faith as it applies to them.
That last part can be the kicker, though: “As it applies to them.” There are literalists, interpretationalists, creationists, evolutionary creationists – the list goes on, and it is all subject to someone’s point of view. I find it interesting how simply having someone tell you they are of such and such faith does not necessarily mean they follow the exact rules of that faith.
That doesn’t get to me. What does, is the expectation of each faith wherein everyone else has to abide by your faith. It’s as if there exists this desire to bend the whims of the world to better suit a particular way of life. Despite the existence of over six billion separate ways of life. Roll that around your mouth:
Six. Billion. Plus. The formula to approximate global population on today’s date equals 6,840,507,003.
Why is there the insistence that every single one of those lives has to adhere to the same principles? Now, the average person would say we’re just trying to do one or two small things to unify a broad spectrum of people. That’s exactly how this country was founded. Yet, one smaller law leads to another, and another – each previous regulation establishes precedence for more smaller regulation. In over two hundred years we’ve gotten don to reproductive rights of the individual being legislated.
Now, I believe as much as anyone else that an IQ test should be administered before allowing a couple to procreate. That does not mean I actually want this measure to be legally enforced. It’s comedic conjecture at worst. More bikini-clad chicks mud wrestling, at best.
If pursuit of a global objective is to be believed, the expectation is that these 6.8 billion people will all follow the same governmental and religious bylaws. Have you ever tried telling ten people to do the same thing? It’s a Mongolian clusterfuck.
The funny thing is that manufacturers realize everyone wants something different. Different colored clothes, shoes, iPhones, hair bands, vibrators. Most manufactures actually spend more money to create a product that can be customized by their consumer. Hewlett Packard or Dell knows that individual results may vary, and they actually take the time to personalize their items to a person’s taste. If Vera Wang made the same dress for everyone, she wouldn’t be nearly as desirable.
Which brings up a good point: why does the same thing that’s been done for centuries past have to be desirable to me? Living together before marriage is frowned upon, but what if I had no intentions of getting married? Why can’t I have a child without getting married? Why can’t we reap the tax benefits of having children without being married? For that matter, what if I decide to get married, but am adamant on having a child-free household? Why can’t I get a different kind of tax break? Why do I have to pay property taxes for any particular school zone if I don’t have children going to that school?
Worst of all: why are we judged by these choices, and not by the people we actually are? This is a question that goes both ways, as the one judging will always be judged in return. Conservative types find full sexual equality an irrelevant argument. Those seeking it, think the opposite side is insane. Instead of actually talking through these issues, large screaming parties and marches are formed. They then go occupy some corner of the world, and protest.
Remember that thing I said about getting ten people to do the same thing? Imagine a couple thousand. It only takes one percent of that calm crowd to digress into a screaming, pissing match to lose the entire movement. And there’s always that one percent; that one or two people that think they’re such a unique, shining individual that they are above the basic rules of the group they’re participating in. And these people get peppered sprayed.
See how effortlessly I’ve slipped from religion to government? Didn’t even realize I’d gone way off point, because the two are so effortlessly conjoined. We make a hullaballoo here in the states about separation of church and state, but that’s a tenant that has really only gotten its legs in the past fifty years. Religion has a lot of the same humanitarian principles as a good government, so it’s easy to see why most governments simply adopt the more popular religion as their basis for governing. Well, except for Satan worshippers. They have pretty good cookouts, though. With skinheads, it’s always up in the air.
Today’s lesson isn’t a clearly defined declaration. It’s not some gleaned moral dilemma that has a very practical solution. It’s a simple question, but one that can be expanded on to amazing depth.
What have you done today?
I prefer a more explicit version, but this suffices. Don’t just think about what you literally did today. Got up; went to work; ate; went home; slept - I don’t mean that. What are you doing to change someone’s life? We do this all the time and never think about it. I write. The exchange is that you read. I buy from Starbucks, not Dunkin Donuts. Who does that affect? How? I volunteer at an animal rescue. How does that help? Who does that help? I laughed at a ridiculously dressed trollop at the mall. Was she on the edge, and now she’s going to run home and cut herself? Was I just another voice adding to the long list of her diminishing self-respect?
Every action doesn’t necessarily have overwhelming consequences, but you have no idea of knowing if you’re adding to a backlog of issues, or just creating a new one. Buying different products from different manufacturers can influence and entire market; why should compliments and insults be viewed differently? It all has influence, and not everyone has to see eye-to- eye with what you see.
So maybe on days like Thanksgiving, some of us like to spend time with our families – not prepping for shopping the next day. Maybe Easter is a good excuse to be thankful for the change in seasons. Sometimes, I may like to dance naked late in the fall, just because some other weirdos are doing it, too (that really isn’t the only limitation, but it’s the only time it seems acceptable). It’s possible Christmas is good excuse to buy a random gift for a loved one, and actually remember the people that they love to be with. Maybe I like to buy a book by a controversial politico that opposes my beliefs, because I believe in having all of the information myself – not just taking it on hearsay.
When you consider what you did today, ask yourself if you did so with eyes wide open. Did you see the people around you? Did you stay quiet in a situation you would have blindly talked through? Did you see a chance to put your foot in your mouth and didn’t? Did you see that chance, and do it anyway? Were you angry because you were angry, or because you allowed someone else to influence you? Did you take someone’s sleight with indignation, or did you start a murmur through the world to keep that sleight from ever being said to someone else?
What have you done today?