Maybe Marx had it right…
"Glad to see some passion from the Methodist."
Hearing this comment uttered recently, I wondered to myself about the choices people make when picking a particular faith (lowercase faith; uppercase Faith signifies Belief). Sure, most are introduced to religion or a particular faith by family and don't really get to make a choice. But, what if we "take to" a faith because of an inherent personality trait…because that faith fits us? What if we gravitate to a church, synagogue or mosque because we find comfort in the stucture…because it makes us feel better? What if there was a Myers-Briggs typology test for choosing a religion? Would we worship in the same place upon receiving the results of the test?
It's a chicken or the egg question.
Take some of the various Christian faiths. What if the members of each were categorized by their personalities, instead of by their different beliefs, creeds and catechisms?
"A Lutheran is a Catholic without the guilt."
"Unitarians are Agnostics who need a little affirmation."
"Catholics are traditionalists…and assume their faith alone to be correct."
"Methodists are boring."
"Fundamentalists take everything so literally."
"Baptists think of themselves as contemporary…and prefer to be different."
"Presbyterians are Agnostics with a little fear."
"Agnostics are Atheists with a little fear…and are a little different."
Incumbent within each is a belief in an all powerful being. Otherwise, though, the faith is merely the pretty wrapping paper for the present within…the gift supposedly waiting for us after death…if we behave…and believe.
Or, maybe, the faith and Faith is a creation that keeps mankind in line and working hard. It explains what we can't comprehend. It keeps us happy. It keeps us in a druglike state.
Billions of people in the world. It stands to reason that there would be billions of different religions and faiths. What we have then instead are categories and groups…a system for order and logic…a social constuct for people needing structure.
When Noah was told to build the ark, the reason given was that God wanted to wipe the slate clean. Mankind had been evil. It was time to start fresh. Why then were all of the animals (that didn't make it onto the ark) killed? What did they do wrong? Sure, we accept that man had been bad. But animals don't have free will. Why did they have to suffer? Besides, the fishes and swimming mammals wouldn't have drowned in that great flood. So, only the land animals…and the birds/insects that were unable to keep flying for forty days straight…were killed. Seems kind of unfair for them.
Mark Twain wrote a very funny book called, "The Bible According To Mark Twain", in which he asked the satirical question of why Noah chose to save the tetse fly and the mosquito and cholera and dysentary. Surely if the earth was getting a fresh start, the nasty little things would have been the first to go. Maybe Noah didn't follow instructions very well. Those nasty little things are still with us today, but nowhere in the bible verse does it say God told Noah to save them.
So, the Noah story is obviously a metaphor. It shouldn't be taken literally. Logically, the story is difficult to accept. Metaphorically, we should see that free will carries consequences…even for those collateral creatures.
Speaking of creating faith, why would people feel that a hymn written by Bach was no longer worthy? Sure, the words are a little dated. And, maybe some people prefer hearing music in a church played with a bass guitar. But, the music by Bach is good. Hymns written in the last twenty years…which seem to be predominantly of the 'pull part of a melody from a U2 or Police or Celine Dion pop song, give it some churchy words, and then add some clapping' genre…are not good. Maybe if they were to stand the test of time my opinion would change. But, it seems to me that any hymn written after 1960 will NOT be around in 400 years. No one takes Weird Al seriously. Why should parody hymns be any different?
In advertising, Brand is defined as a Promise Fulfilled. When you think of BMW, you think of the brand. You think of "The Ultimate Driving Machine". And, for most people that have driven a BMW, the promise has been fulfilled.
In religion, Faith is a Promise Unfulfilled.