I’m researching religion and I’m religious, so I’m biased. Nevertheless, I cannot help thinking that the mantra that religious people thrust religion down your throat is the perfect scapegoat. I believe religion/spirituality is making a come back, but it has relatively little visibility.
It is very useful to pile up one’s suspicions, fears and hatred against one general phenomenon, such as religion. Much harder is to look around and see what clogs up our minds, what causes compulsive behaviour, be it consumption, selfishness and mindless competition against others.
Religion has been a great force for evil. It has been used and abused in the atrocious ways, but to keep on thinking that religious institutions or people are brainwashing us to …. To do what exactly?
Some are reactionary, homophobic, sexist and disrespectful of other people’s opinions. They are everything but pious, but think hardly everywhere thrusting religion down our throats. Are the majority of religious people and movements brainwashing us to treat people with no respect, to consider life lived ‘to the full’ when under the influence of drugs, and to care only about ourselves?
What stops us reflecting on ourselves is the culture of emptiness propagated by the media, where entertainers are ‘stars’, make huge profits notwithstanding a distinctive lack of ability, let alone talent. They impersonate an epoch of vacuity and vanity.
We feel outrage at MPs’ fiddling of expenses, bankers’ bonuses, but no sign of displeasure with some TV personality earning millions. It’s not public money but the entertainment industry revolves around the trashing of our imagination. It also portrays life according to racial/national stereotypes, homophobia, blindness towards disability and, of course, the debasement of sex.
The commodification of sex has gone mainstream and, perhaps, it wouldn’t be so bad if there was a movement for ethical entertainment, something like the Italian Slow Food movement, which reacted against the ‘McDonaldsation’ of society.
I’m not saying all entertainment treats human relationships through the pornographic eye, but most of the love and sex in the media is false, empty and, often, debasing.
Yet, the ‘message’ of pornography, which defines us as creatures driven only by our instincts, has gone mainstream. I feel it’s so because of the lack of alternatives. As consumers, we have demanded the ‘healthy option’ from what we eat; yet, somehow, we care more about our food than how we see ourselves and how we think.
Love seems to me the most complex and yet all-encompassing experience of all, do we really want to deprive it of the spirit? Can we have an ethical entertainment movement? If we leave it to the theo-cons, we leave ourselves no options open to us.
This is a reflection from a liberal religious person who would like to think that there’s more to humanity than what entertainers give us. Of course, I’m biased.