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what is religion?

can we define it?

here's what the oxford dictionary, 9th edition, says about religion.
1 the belief in a superhuman controlling power, esp. in a personal god or gods entitled to obedience and worship. 2 the expression of this in worship. 3 a particular system of faith and worship. 4 life under monastic vows (the way of religion). 5 a thing that one is devoted to (football is their religion) (p 1161)

so? does this definition capture the essence of religion? of what it means to the devout, the doubters, and the atheists? religion affects us all deeply. even those of us who choose to regard it as a mere construct to facilitate social survival.

you know that, more than three decades after my initial indoctrination, i still have a running ticker tape of the apostles' creed in my head? how these things got drilled into our heads as kids! what i really didn't get, though, was being told i had to stay hungry and thirsty going to church so i could be 'pure' to receive holy communion.

does a 5 or 6 year old kid get that? and why should god care if i drank a glass of juice 20 minutes before mass started? does that really make me bad? too impure to receive god? a disobedient little one? (just so you know ... i am not making this up). and yet, i had to go hungry or thirsty because that's what god wanted. anyway, that's what i remember about god. about religion. as a kid. the feeling that we are never good enough. for god. and never will be. the notion that suffering has some sort of redeeming, cleansing function.

i digress.
back on track.
religion - how to define it?
well, depending on your perspective,
there are 3 possibilities.

1. religion as a social construct
  • a manifestation of some psychological or moral pathology?
  • a pernicious and deliberate falsehood, spread and encouraged by rulers and clerics in their own interests, in an effort exercise control over others?
  • seeing religions as marginally useful constructs which encode instructions or habits useful for survival in a society
  • seeing religion as 'the opium of the masses'

2. religion as progressing toward a higher truth
  • reflections of an essential truth?
  • seeing religious truth as relative, due to its varied cultural application and/or expression
  • seeing prophets as messengers of god -- individuals given to extraordinary spiritual insight during periods of social decay and acting as purveyors of balance and social survival.
  • seeing religion as evolving over time in a thesis-antithesis-synthesis-great awakening paradigm

3. religion as absolute truth
  • the exclusivist view
  • one belief system ... one holy book ... one supreme being
  • seeing all things and individuals incongruent with the one belief system as ignorant, devious, false, misguided
  • a sort of arrogant view of truth ("our view is the RIGHT view, all others are wrong")
  • providing an unwavering perspective that requires individuals to conform to its truth
so....? where do you fit in? before you answer, though ... consider this: it's clear, isn't it -- that intimate connection between your philosophical view of truth and your chosen religious view?
whatever religious perspective you weave into your cultural matrix speaks to your larger view of truth, the universe, humanity, and how we got here.

regardless which point of the star you are coming from ...
its profound stuff, ain't it?

did you hear? poetry is the new mini-skirt.. everybody is getting in on it.

The problem with definitions is that they work in general but not around the margins. I usually try not to be too agressive about defining things. Not defining things seems to work well for me, but I'm not sure that everyone would be comfortable with that.

By the way, is poetry really the new miniskirt?

is poetry the new miniskirt? yes, yes i believe it is. it's true what chocolate says -- everybody IS getting into it ...

re: defining things ... definition for the purposes of this post, does seem a narrow term, but alas the english language does not seem to have another word that fits as well. and so, i am conceiving of things in a broader sense than one's traditional sense of 'definition' here.

my main point here is (1) everyone human is affected by religion, regardless if s/he choose to believe in any religion or not and (2) one's individual religious perspective is reflective of his/her life philosophy.

i personally reject religion, i choose relationship, with my spiritual Father who gave himself up for me to live in freedom. my GOD is tender,mercyful forgiving,loving(not like human love),kind, compassionate, gracious,intimate and very real to me. we speak, he shows me HIS truth he leads me to live in victory every moment of the day. without HIM i would just be human being controlled by my emotions and whatever comes my way today. With HIM i always operate in wisdom, in him i always operate in power, in him i can do all things, because the power of GOD lives in me, my problem comes in when i choose not to submit to his spirit and do what my soul wants, then i live as a mere human being tossed back and forth by everyday circumstanses.I AM A SPIRIT HAVING A HUMAN EXPERIENCE, NOT A HUMAN BEING HAVING A SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE. velvet im sorry that you were trained in deception, GOD does not approve of all that religious. my freind grew up in an anglican church her dad was the priest at the boys school where they lived, she rejected the religion, but found the true GOD,Jesus. later her dad was found guilty of mastubating with boys. guess what? he got community sevice as he was too old to go to jail(so they say). 4 years later he is still being asked to speak at churches, these people have no life, they miss an ingredient, HOLY SPIRIT. which will lead us into all truth. that is why, when i speak the truth it is not for human minds to concieve i am aiming for the spirit of man not the mind, cuz the mind can not concieve......

/bark bark bark

how are you? and the weekend away? ive been thinking about you...

my approach to faith is as a discipline. i chose it freely as an adult. i dont feel constricted by the order of it i feel liberated.

a dog never trained is forever tethered to the line or kept inside a pen. an animal, jumping up on people, barking incessantly, digging up the flower beds.

the dog of discipline has a hard first year or so. he his pushed and pulled, corrected and rewarded, resentful confusion melts away as he begins to glimpse the freedom ahead.

later, with a sound foundation he is able to roam about, stay in the company of any kind of creature, and is able to become fully what was intended for him.....whatever that is for that specific dog.



I think and feel that there is a major difference between SPIRITUALITY and RELIGION.

Beinf a spiritual person is goo
Being a religious person is bad news ... for everyone.

I think you should change your photo to the one of you laying with the hound...

that is a good one to paint.

sorry, spirituality is GOOD

D key sticks on old keyboard.

satan is a spirit, DAVID BLAIN is a profest satanist, where do they get the power to make people levetate???? power of the fallen ark-angle lucifer. define for me what is being spiritual???? for us it's not, to be spiritual or not to be spiritual. GOD is spirit, when you connected to him in the spirit and he lives though you, that is a spiritual life. and about buddism being a life style, alot of people made the adkins diet their life style and clearly saw down the road how unhealthy it was.

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its all about ME

  • i'm roxanne, and this is velvet, the voice inside my head. and this -- this is her blog.
  • i'm that wild, passionate and unruly girl your mum warned you about

    i'm a maelstrom, a whirling dervish, a minx. i run from "same-ness" - i find it oppressive.

    change is good. change is necessary. life is change.

    if change scares you, if change intimidates you, if change makes you uncomfortable, then you're a BORE!

    this blog changes to reflect its continually evolving creator - moi.

    so ... adapt!

    you never know what you'll find when you get to velvet's place. that's the adventure of it all.

    this place continues to take shape, as velvet finds her voice in all this darkness.

    velvet rants, rages, throws the occasional hissy fit, launches the odd venomous tirade, and intellectually contemplates all the stuff of life, love, and soul

    its depressing, and enraging because the world burns and crumbles before our eyes. yet we sleep.

    we sleep. apathy, greed, power sit atop our eyelids like lead weights

    so, welcome to my world.

    i aim to pry your eyes open, to pry your mind open, to get you thinking outside the box, to shock you even.

    i ask the questions most choose to ignore. i think the thoughts most consider unthinkable. i'm alive. i'm awake. are you?

    hey -- WAKE UP!

  • fury wrapped in a daffodil, confused, undecided, wild child, indigo child, impatient, insomniac, rebellious, outspoken, artistic, restless, bored with routine, i love change, afraid of commitment, i work to live - not live to work, claustrophobic, perfectionist, odd and maybe downright wierd, anxious and maybe a l'il (ok, a lot) neurotic, dichotomous, a teensy bit vitrolic, prone to nastiness, a maverick and a cynic, highly intuitive, sensual, erotic, intense, spiritual -- NOT religious, a bitch, a wordsmith, poet, storyteller, addict, mother, caregiver, dog lover, voracious reader, Mac person, Coke drinker, cannibis appreciator, clean freak, prone to hissy fits, attitude - i got one, fav. colour: red, perfume: estee lauder pleasures exotic, voluptuous, afraid of falling asleep, afraid of the dark, hate being touched, still get flashbacks - PTSD, nite hawk, into fetishes, got a sadomasochistic streak in me
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methuselah lives here

    i have several poetry blogs on the 'net. essentially these contain the same stuff, just presented in differing formats. this methuselah just likes digging around in more than one corpse at a time!

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    scribbles & scratches



      afghan hound

      yes to madness





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    velvet poetry

      bell jar dreams

      you held me in your arms,
      my trembling alabaster fruit
      and savagely,
      you trampled me, underfoot
      as master of my shattered freedom
      you - the twisted and beautiful lord
      who sealed me in a windowless bell jar
      with anguish and solitude,
      as my only companions

      captor! my demented master!
      my withered soul screams for you
      it howls for the soothing barbs,
      hidden, in your voice
      and your frail, orgasmic vulnerability
      my withered soul screams your name,
      raging delicately,
      for the gaping hollows of my existence,
      which melted into yours:
      dessicated dreams,
      vanquished innocence

      this sick hunger in my heart for you -
      will it ever ebb?

      copyright ROXI G 2006

      your grace grotesquely crumbles

      your grace crumbled
      into grotesque flakes
      as your fingertips slashed
      my tender silken face
      with rage and vengence,
      that drench my frail child-spirit

      steeped in self-loathing,
      you infected me -
      my gauzy soul
      on your poisoned barbs
      of hatred and lusty greed

      once, i loved you -
      worshipped you, adored you
      and darkness
      eviscerated my heart
      as i watched this adoration stream past
      your inert, stoney heart

      my trembling eyes splinter
      into a thousand tears
      when i look upon your face -
      my reflection - in the looking glass
      you, who deserted my child-trust -
      remain, achingly, ever present

      this dark riverbed of adoration
      that flowed in my viscera for you
      has dried up; my heart --
      which once glistened sublimely inside yours,
      now lies in eternal anguish:
      dessicated, petrified, searingly denuded

      your grace crumbles
      into grotesque flakes
      of grief, rage and greed,
      soaked in the brine of remorse
      you beg, like i did, for a morsel of mercy
      but -- i will STARVE you of forgiveness

      copyright ROXI G 2006


        "there's no way around grief and loss: you can dodge it all you want, but sooner or later you just have to go into it, through it, and, hopefully, come out on the other side. the world you find there will never be the same as the world you left." (johnny cash)

        "i wore black because i liked it. i still do, and wearing it still means something to me. its still my symbol of rebellion - against a stagnant status quo, against our hypocritical houses of god, against people whose minds are closed to others' ideas." (johnny cash)

      poetry masters

        if only you would touch my heart
        if only you were to put your mouth
        to my heart
        if only you were to put your tongue
        like a red arrow
        there where my dusty heart is beating,
        if you were to blow on my heart
        near the sea, weeping,
        it would make a dark noise,
        like the drowsy sound of train wheels
        like the indecision of waters,
        like autumn in full leaf
        like blood,
        with a noise of damp flames
        burning the sky,
        with a sound like dreams
        or branches or the rain,
        or foghorns in some dismal port,
        if you were to blow on my heart
        near the sea, likea white ghost,
        in the spume of the wave,
        in the middle of the wind
        like a ghost unleashed,
        at the seashore, weeping.

        ... Pablo Neruda, from 'Bararole'

        By a route obscure and lonely,
        Haunted by ill angels only,
        Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,
        On a black thrones reigns upright,
        i have reached these lands but newly
        From an ultimate dim Thule -
        From a wild wierd clime that lieth, sublime,
        Out of SPACE - out of TIME.

        ... Edgar Allan Poe, from 'Dream-Land'

      anais nin

        "and the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

        “i do not like to be just one anais, whole, contained. as soon as someone defines me. i do as june does; i seek escape from the confinements of definition.”

        “i speak of relief, perhaps when i write; but it is also an engraving of pain, a tatooing of myself.”

        “we are like sculptors, constantly carving out of others the image we long for, need, love or desire, often against reality, against their benefit, and always, in the end, a disappointment, because it does not fit them.”

        “life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. this is a kind of death.”