Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Faith versus ideology

Recently, Pope Francis made an intriguing comment about faith versus ideology: “In other words, ideologies replace faith.” See National Review, 28 August 2023: Pope Francis Says ‘Reactionary’ U.S. Catholic Church Has Replaced Faith with ‘Ideology’. It’s intriguing because any Religion = ideology.

In my blogs, I separate faith from Religion. As I once said to someone special: “I have lots of faith but I’m not religious.” Nevertheless, I’m fascinated by the Sumerian religious beliefs of c.5000 BC to c.2000 BC (eg, Mesopotamian Religion). Many of their principles are still ours today.

It feels good when the CEO (sic!) of the Roman Catholic Church makes a similar separation between faith and Religion. Actually, an increasing number of people is aware of this distinction. Hence, the decline in Religion (eg, Pew Research-2019), and the increase in faith (eg, Guardian-2018).

I suppose that Pope Francis was/is referring to the American use of ideology to stop the decline of Religion. My view may explain the use of his strong words “on the “backward” reactionary attitude in the U.S. church” (National Review). Only non-Americans will appreciate those words.

In my view, the American use of ideology, to stop the decline of Religion, will only accelerate the decline of American religion(s). Recently, Lord Jonathan Sumption, former senior judge on the UK Supreme Court, made the following noteworthy comments on an American decline:

“The United States will not take kindly to either absolute or relative decline. But relative decline is likely to be its fate for quite a few years to come. And the political consequences of that will be far more serious in the United States than in a country like ours.”

An excerpt from a recent interview in UK newspaper The Times with Lord Jonathan Sumption

Quite possibly, individual faith can counter other types of collective ideology (eg, Philosophy, Politics). Why? Perhaps, faith is responsible for (individual) pragmatism, the antidote against ideology. I need to digest this new thought. To be continued – or not.

“We can reject everything else: religion, ideology, all received wisdom. But we cannot escape the necessity of love and compassion…. This, then, is my true religion, my simple faith. In this sense, there is no need for temple or church, for mosque or synagogue, no need for complicated philosophy, doctrine or dogma. Our own heart, our own mind, is the temple. The doctrine is compassion. Love for others and respect for their rights and dignity, no matter who or what they are: ultimately these are all we need. So long as we practice these in our daily lives, then no matter if we are learned or unlearned, whether we believe in Buddha or God, or follow some other religion or none at all, as long as we have compassion for others and conduct ourselves with restraint out of a sense of responsibility, there is no doubt we will be happy.”

A quote by the Dalai Lama XIV, the “highest spiritual leader and head of Tibet

Summer Breeze (1972) by Seals & Crofts
artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-artists, Wiki-song

Summer breeze makes me feel fine
Blowin’ through the jasmine in my mind
Summer breeze makes me feel fine
Blowin’ through the jasmine in my mind

Note 1: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.

Note 2: a Sumerian breeze implied life (entering through the nose) or death (last breeze).


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