Friday, February 04, 2005

Religious divide - or cultural ?

I used to think that cultures are greatly influenced by the
predominant religion in that culture. Though it may still hold to
some extent, I am now more inclined to think that the opposite is also
true - religion being influenced by the predominant culture.

The above may be a no brainer to some, and nonsensical to others.
Nonsensical because, technically, a religion should be the same
anywhere it is practiced. However, when I observe the three religions
I have been influenced by the most - Christianity, Hinduism and Islam,
I find a huge difference in their Eastern and Western counterparts.

Christianity for example, I cannot even recognize out here in the
west. Extremely firebrand and in-your-face. I find myself
disagreeing to many things Christians in the west believe. I did not
even know about the existence of sects such as Calvinists who are
basically believers in pre-destination and pre-ordination. I cannot
say that they are wrong and others are right, but I do know that a
belief like that only creates an "us" versus "them" mentality, which
can never be good. I also cringe when I see tele-evangelists. Either
I quickly change the channel, or stay on to just listen in disbelief
to what they preach. Everything that they do is the exact opposite of
the Christianity I know and have followed.

On the other hand, Hindus and Muslims in the west are far more liberal
than their counterparts back home. The religion is the same, but the
interpretation of it is so different. You would be hard pressed to
find a beef-eating Hindu or even a meat eating one back home. Another
interesting phenomenon is that adherents of a religion that is in a
minority tend to be more liberal and open-minded.


Blogger Omair said...

I missed this post earlier...I agree with most of your observations....

By the way, am I the only one who comes to read your blog regularly...

9:49 PM  

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