Escaping Reality

One of the staples of religion is selling a product that’s too good to be true (“…plus shipping and handling!”).

Today, a Jehovah’s Witness came to my door trying to get me to attend their district conference. He left a pamphlet with me…and I just have to post some of what it says…

“A discourse answering this question [Will humans ruin the Earth?] will be given as part of the Sunday morning program of the three-day district convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses that will develop the theme “Let God’d Kingdom Come!” It will show how this planet will soon be transformed into a paradise and how you and your family can qualify to live there.”

Aside from being delusional, this pamphlet is troubling. It advances the view of “Why fix the Earth? Why make society better when we’re all leaving soon anyway?” It’s escapism at its worst.

During a time of global climate change, political unsteadiness, a growing gap between rich and poor and the threat of religious extremism, this is definitely not the time to hide under a rock and pretend it’s all going to be okay by doing nothing. Get real.

 

Madonna Going Back to Catholicism? Most Likely Not…

The Daily Caller has reported that Madonna is looking into possibly joining the secretive Catholic sect Opus Dei. While I’m sure Madonna is always searching and looking for answers to life’s questions, I do not think she’ll become a full-fledged member of the secretive sect made famous by The DaVinci Code.

Madeleine Joelson of The Daily Caller wrote that Madonna was “devastated” by accusations that some of the board members of her charity, “Raising Malawi,” abused the money that had been raised. Most of the $3.9 million raised were actually spent on the Kabbalah Centre’s Los Angeles offices, according to a released report (the IRS has taken an interest in this as well…). There is evidence that Madonna has become disillusioned with Kabbalah.

Madonna is the most well-known follower of the Kabbalah (mystical Jewish sect focused on numerology). In fact, her flirtation with religion in general is one of the many things she’s known for (ie: the controversial video for Like a Prayer – as mentioned in my previous post – and the influences of Hinduism and Kabbalah in her album Ray of Light). It’s hard to believe that she was raised in a strict Roman Catholic home.

In a 60 Minutes interview in 1999, she said:

“I can believe. I can disagree with doctrines and dogmas and still celebrate them. I go to the synagogue, I study Hinduism…it’s about realizing that all paths lead to God in the end…the point in studying all of them is, really, they’re all the same at the end of the day. The core of it is the same….love is the most important thing.”

I doubt that Madonna will become a card-carrying member of Opus Dei, however. She will most likely take its strong work ethic and emphasis on personal devotion (two qualities she’s always had) to heart. But, when it comes to the celibacy rule or the conservative political views of the group, I know she’ll disagree with those “doctrines and dogmas.”

I love Madonna. I am inspired by her creativity, boldness and devotion to standing up for what she believes in. She’s churned out hits, pressed buttons and influenced the music industry and popular culture since 1983. She is arguably one of the most powerful and famous women in the world. She’s a force of nature.

From her 11 studio albums (of which I have all), countless interviews and activism (AIDS awareness, women’s rights, gay rights, etc.), I can safely say that Madonna will not be “converting” to Catholicism.

Interview Magazine Photoshoot 2010

 

How can I ask for peace without sounding cliché?

I know that everybody – well, the sane – wants world peace. Regional conflicts, global wars, mass genocide, extremism, terrorism…is there any hope for our insane world? Can global peace be achieved?

As I wrote in the previous post, I strongly believe that extremism and fundamentalism in all religions threatens progress and humanity’s survival. The violent indoctrination that self-proclaimed “prophets” and other religious leaders instill into their manipulated followers is one of the biggest tragedies in the world today. To think that the people who blow up schools and behead journalists do so because they are promised a special fast-track to an afterlife in paradise is horrific and revolting.

I’m not asking for those who earnestly and peaceably follow their faiths to abandon them. Rather, I am hoping that we can reach a point where coexistence is a global reality…a world where religious violence is a horrible thing of the past. No matter what you believe or who you are, we are all deserving of respect and kindness.

Here’s a beautiful video by the amazing Madonna. Performed at her 2006 “Confessions Tour” stop in London, Madonna turned her song “Forbidden Love” into a prayer for peace. Enjoy and think…