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GNOSALL PARISH NEWS
Produced by publishers of The Popular Village Monthly
I look at the village and, in this magazine, to find there are three main philosophical views publicly expressed, two physically i.e. The Methodist Church and the Anglican Church and in the magazine a third, the Catholic Church. Whilst I have the greatest respect for those institutions and followers, I find it interesting; there is no mention of the other great philosophy, which may predominate in this village.
Now I don’t mean other Christian philosophies such as Jehovah’s Witness, Mormon, Pentecostal etc or other non-Christian religions such as Judaism, Islam or Hinduism. Not even the semi Religions such as Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism. No, I mean the NOT religion. I mean for those who when asked what they believe in, would say they are NOT religious.
There is another perhaps younger group who still believe in the supernatural of some sort. I am told that in the last census there was a significant number of respondents who put down that they believed in the non-anthropomorphic ‘Force’ from the original Star Wars film Trilogy (now spawning more and more films). So many in fact, that it outnumbered a few of the established religions.
Even those who have found a word that describes themselves more accurately, such as humanism, secularism, nihilism or even Star Wars fans, whenever they are pressed would explain with their fallback stance of being NOT religious.
What does it mean by saying they are NOT religious? Ostensibly they would not believe in a God, they believe in Science or only believe what they can see or explain. At first glance it sounds like they are enlightened, free of the dogma they learned at school or Church when they were young. They believe that humans can make their own destiny and they are masters of their own environment. But then on closer inspection, it doesn’t explain their expectations.
Forget everything but the three things Religions have as a backbone and what most people feel is important. Where do they come from, how they should act and where are they going?
I’ll tackle the middle one first. How people act is more a moral code defined by the society we live in and not necessarily religious in nature. Whatever the teachings, they are bent to that society’s code of ethics so whether religious or not we should have the same moral code.
Whatever type of NOT religious people and there are exceptions, NOT religious people believe in the modern scientific explanation of how everything came into being i.e. the ‘Big Bang’ where everything was created from a primeval atom 15 billion years ago and has been expanding ever since creating along the way, all that we can see. The fact that it sounds too much like the archetypal God saying ‘let there be light and then there was light’ to have any more credibility (or less). It’s just matter how long it took… but then again, Time is something that Relativistic Physics has a problem with!
Closer to home, we came from clay and are slaves at the behest of a God or we were spontaneously created from soup and are machines at the behest of our genes. Neither seems comforting. Ok, what’s left? Ah yes, where are we going; Heaven, Hell, Nirvana or nowhere. For some, it’s a comfort to believe that our spirit carries on after we die. For some, it sounds like hell to be judged in some way. Yet for the NOT religious, death is oblivion, but then oblivion is peace isn’t it?
As for God being worshipped, well perhaps not worshipped but for however or whatever we came from, or are, we should be thankful. If by random chance of evolution, be even more amazed and thankful we arrived here.
But the problem is that there is no platform for this discussion, of the NOTs fears and aspirations or ideas. NOTs sit in isolation from the established Churches and from each other... Their only outcry is whenever they are asked and given the opportunity to say, they are NOT religious.
The number of different religious beliefs probably outnumber the different NOT beliefs and therefore it seems no one and no establishment has the answer. Yet there is an answer, it may not be religious it may not be scientific, it could be neither extreme, instead, like the Aristotelian philosophy advocated the idea of the ‘Golden Mean’ in 300BC or Buddha similarly defined the ‘Middle Way’ 200 years previous, but there is no platform for debate, just two dichotomic towers of Babel.