Aug 17, 2010

Religiosity: A Hindrance To "The Good Life?"

I wish I had more time to research the subject and write a more in-depth post, but unfortunately I haven't got much time. So I'd like to just throw out this question to all my readers for discussion:

Why is it that -- generally speaking -- the countries of the world which have the best standard of living, peace and stability are also the least religious?

There's an interesting article here about worldwide religiosity and it's interesting to look at the world map of religiosity. Contrast that with the UN Human Development Index or this study on Newsweek. Of the top 10 countries listed there, I would say that Canada is probably the most religious, even though last time I checked, only around 17% of Canadians go to church on a regular basis. And then there is the question of happiness. According to this recent study, the "happiest" countries in the world are -- once again -- the most irreligious. Of course, there are other relevant factors that determine how "happy" a country is, such as democracy and political/economic stability. But does religion play a role in how those elements are (or aren't) implemented in a society?

So what do you think? Is there are a real link between religion and quality of life/standard of living? Does religiosity hinder peace, stability and progress -- even happiness? Are there other factors? Or is it all a matter of coincidence?

Aug 11, 2010

"I Put Away Childish Things"

The challenge of reconciling intellect with faith is what gave life to the Bloggernaccle. Virtually everything that is discussed in various Mormon blogs and forums is somehow connected to this subject.

In Mark 10:14, Jesus says:
"I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."
1 Corinthians 13:11 says:

"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."

So what does the scripture in Mark really mean? The standard Sunday School answer is that it means that we need to be humble, obedient and submissive -- like children. But is this what God really wants from us?

Children are innocent. They are smart. But they are also gullible. Their brains are not yet fully-developed and they therefore lack the judgment and wisdom of an adult. They are humble, obedient and submissive -- not because they necessarily want to be, but because they don't have much choice in the matter.

So, while Mark quotes Jesus as saying that readily accepting the Gospel (which for most Mormons is synoymous with the institutional Church) as a child is the only way to get into Heaven, 1 Corinthians seems to indicate that, for adults, thinking or acting like a child is a barrier to the entering the Kingdom of God.

I remember how I used to think as a primary child. It was easy to accept what I was taught because it was never challenged. Am I really supposed to go back to that? And if so, isn't the verse in Corinthians at odds with Jesus? Is the author of Corinthians imploring us to develop our childish minds into something more intellectually mature, or is he simply telling us to give up our childish behaviour and temper tantrums?

How do you apply these scriptures to real life? Are childlike traits like obedience, humility and submission more important than adult traits such as questioning, seeking knowledge, intellectual development, or personal integrity and authenticity?

I recently came across an interesting quote:

"If your theology doesn't match up with your reality, there's nothing wrong
with your reality."

Reality is reality. And sometimes we just can't match it up with our theology. So why the heck do we keep trying?