Friday, August 31, 2007

Religion and culture. Do they go hand in hand?

I would say yes and no.

I walked into the St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh last Sunday and to my surprise, in addition to the usual paraphernalia that you would see in a medieval church there was also an exhibition. It was not an exhibition on religion or anything spiritual. It was a display of photographs and snippets about human trafficking. Real life stories of human suffering. There were stories of exploitation that had happened in UK and the hapless victims were brought in from all over the world.

I was intrigued by the exhibition and decided to attend the service. After the usual choir music, hymn sing-a-long and prayers, a lady pastor came on to the dais to administer the sermon. I’ve never attended a sermon before and The Simpsons was the only reference I had to what really happens during a service. I was expecting a boring lecture by the pastor which would put everyone inside the church to sleep. I was ready to rest my legs and well, if possible, my eyes as well.

The pastor started her sermon with a summary about the stories and the photographs that were on display inside the church. It went on for a good half an hour about what we, common people, can do to protest and prevent human trafficking and slavery. It was clear that she had done extensive research on this topic and she clearly meant what she was preaching.

After half an hour, the sermon was over and when I looked around, it had indeed put some of the people including my husband to sleep; Some were busy giggling, but clearly, there were some who were moved by this talk. I was glad I attended the service that day. And I was happy to note that religion did not end at prayers and wish lists over here. It started with prayers and went on to try to make the society a better place.

How many religions really strive to build a better human being out of us and a better society? How many take time to remind their followers that God resides inside every one of us and that we have a moral obligation to the world that we live in?


rinchen said...

Yeah. I know what you're talking about. Ages ago, during one sermon in my church went the same way - the speaker spoke about deforestation (I still remember his points clearly) and how we can do to make this world a better place.

Do religion and culture go hand in hand? They do and they dont, in my opinion. When people want to, they choose religion to propagate culture but somehow when it comes to a matter of equality for both sexes, all races, colours, castes and creed everything gets thrown out of the window.

To this day, the caste system exists in the minds of people. Lower castes are still looked down upon by people of our generation! Yes, we do need a reminder that God resides inside everyone of us and that we are all His children.

Girl With Big Eyes said...

You still remember the sermon from so long ago! Just see how powerful that is!