Spirituality vs. Fundamentalism

Exploring teachings and beliefs associated with Spirituality and Fundamentalism

Christians Attacked in Mosul October 12, 2008

In the blogroll to the right of this post is a link to a Seattle Times article discussing attacks against Christians by Extremists in Mosul. Read the article before proceeding to the following blog commentary.

 

According to this article, Christians are being persecuted because they want a political position, even if minute, for the upcoming elections. Since they have been residents of that country for over a thousand years, they have that right. There is no known religion who the extremists represent, but there is a predominant belief they are Islamic extremists based on amount of crimes they commit against Christians since the invasion. However, the extremists believe it should be their government, perhaps based on ancient land disputes over religious contextualized landmarks.

 

Every religion has been persecuted throughout our world’s history, thus nothing is new with this scenario. However, with invasions such as our own in Iraq, we have instigated and inflamed many problems. Stereotypes set against why the ‘middle east’ hates us are many. The most popular being we represent democracy. Therefore many are surprised when religion becomes the focus, especially the religious territories the Christians, Jews, and Muslims all believe belong to them. Since fundamentalist beliefs garner such strong views of ownership, modern day practice of killing for such beliefs has become common. Christians are being killed because they represent a minority that is in the way for the extremist belief of Islamic majority. As a country and culture, we must understand that these fundamentalist extremist groups are not representative of the whole. The majority of Islamic people revile those who belong to such groups because, through the discourse of western media, they become the focus and representation of a culture’s/countries views.

 

According to the article, the Islamic extremists have targeted Christians since the United States Invaded Iraq in 2003. This may be linked to either territorial persecutions or the perception that Christians represent the dreaded Christian United States. It will never be truly understood why religion plays such a large role in how we persecute others. Throughout history, it is known to be the true sword with which to smite the enemies who are innate sinners because they do not follow the fundamental doctrines of majority’s country and culture. It is a very powerful instigator and excuse for crimes. This article demonstrates this opinion based on the amount of killing committed in the name of religion and politics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connection to One’s Self October 1, 2008

 

 

 

Spirituality is a personal journey or belief a person undertakes. This can be tied with religion or an individualistic ideal where one has ‘faith’, but does not conform to the doctrines and rules of religion. Many who follow spirituality are those who prefer self-meditation as opposed to community-oriented practices. Many associate spirituality with those who embrace the earth and devote their lives to the basic natural elements from which they derive meaning.

 

Unlike many religions, spirituality pertains to personal growth and understanding, in comparison to religion in which the focus is personal growth in the context of becoming closer to God. Though God is the focus of both types of devotion, spirituality is a lesser and unstructured form. There are supporters to both groups; it usually depends on life experiences that lead to the singular choice of which to follow. Others are born into the religion and follow those ingrained beliefs because it is familiar and comforting.

Through research conducted on the web, I have found several types of spiritualist groups should it interest the readers of this blog. The NWSA or National Women’s Studies Association has a page on feminist spirituality that discusses festivals and rituals, celebrations, meeting summaries, etc. The National Spiritualist Association of Churches gives an idea of what the Spiritualist Church entails. This excerpt was taken from the main page of the NSAC:

 

“NSAC …The object of this Society is to effect a complete organization of the Spiritualists of the United States of America into one general association … for the advancement of those purposes, undertakings and enterprises germane to the study of the phenomena, the promotion of the Science, and the promulgation of the Philosophy and Religion of Spiritualism.

Spiritualism is the Science, Philosophy, and Religion of continuous life, based upon the demonstrated fact of communication, by means of mediumship, with those who live in the Spirit World.”

 

The following are books that might interest those wanting to learn more about spirituality:

***Essential Spirituality: The 7 Central Practices to Awaken Heart and Mind by Roger Walsh

This book has great reviews and compares many religions, such as Hinduism, Judaism, Taoism, Christianity, etc. It explores how they are connected through various aspects.

***A History of Christian Spirituality: An Analytical Introduction (The Library of Episcopalian Classics) by Urban Tigner Holmes and Urban T. Holmes

 

This book delves deeper into the differing spiritualities of the Christian God.

 

Work Cited

National Spiritualist Association of Churches. (NSAC) New York. 2004-2008

http://www.nsac.org/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-day Saints September 28, 2008

 

The Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints is a sect which has acquired a substantial amount of media interest within the last few years, mainly at the hands of their current prophet Warren Jeffs. The FLDS prophet gained control after his father and previous FLDS prophet passed away, Rulon Jeffs. Both prophets have/had many wives, far beyond the legal limit of one wife. Polygamy is illegal, therefore many of the ‘wives’ attributed to the male members of the FLDS are not legal wives, but spiritual companions termed wives. These spiritual companions must carry out all the duties attributed to the ideal of wife, including sex, children, cleaning, cooking, and most importantly obeying. Though many women openly support polygamy, it remains to this day a controversial issue.

 

Warren Jeffs is the notorious leader of the FLDS based on media coverage of the compound’s raid, which took away 440 children of the sect into social care, believing that child abuse ran rampant. However, only a minimal of cases held actual accounts of abuse. Jeffs is accused of being an accomplice of rape of a 14 year old girl. His role as prophet allows him to assign marriages and also take wives and children from men being punished. The wives would be assigned to another sect member without choice. A woman’s role in the FLDS is to continue to line through children and to provide unending support to her husband. This is how she is allowed to enter heaven, based on her merits during her life, whereas men automatically gain entrance into heaven.

 

The video attached to this post is of an ex-FLDS support recounting her experiences with Warren Jeffs. Like many sect leaders, Jeffs is clever. He knows how to control people through their fears and his inferred connection to god. Jeffs knows who to target and how to manipulate their weaknesses, thus creating followers who are convinced of his connection to god and worship him and his beliefs.

 

 

Work Cited

Wade Goodwyn, Howard Berkes, and Amy Walters, Warren Jeffs and the FLDS, NPR post, May 3, 2005.

ABC NEWS, More Bigamy Charges Filed in Texas Sect Case, ABC News Internet Ventures, 2008.

 

What is Spirituality and Fundamentalism? September 15, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Claire @ 9 p Monday

According to the Oxford American Dictionary, Heald Colleges Ed., the status/act of being spiritual is “of the human spirit or soul, not physical or worldly” as well as “of a church or religion”. Therefore, one can speculate that to be spiritual may equate as having faith. This does not necessarily represent the more doctrinal structure of the church or an established religion. Fundamentalism is defined as “strict maintenance of traditional orthodox religious beliefs…such as the literal truth of the Bible”. Fundamentalism, in many ways, may be seen as polar opposite of spirituality; it contains rules, obligations, and direct adherence to the truths taken from the Bible, the cornerstone of many religions.

Throughout this semester I will explore the different aspects of Spirituality and Fundamentalism, providing books, book reviews, newspaper articles, journal/news sources, and perhaps visual media. Added to this, I will also tie the topic in with other ideas and/or issues brought up in my class. The class pertains mainly to sexuality, gender, race, and class. This is the first time I have blogged and I am not that proficient at things that involve computers. I hope you enjoy what I discuss and take it as just that, a discussion. Talk to you soon!

Work Cited

Ehrlich, Eugene, Flexner, Stuart Berg, Carruth, Gorton, Hawkins, Joyce M. Oxford American Dictionary, Heald Colleges Edition (New York, New York: Avon Books) 883, 353.