How do you feel when faced with something very foreign to your culture or remote from your comfort zone? Do you feel inclined to learn more or to run a mile? Do you think your culture could ever look as foreign to someone else as theirs does to you?
Foreign to my culture; I like to immerse myself in it. Outside of my comfort zone, I usually try to come to a better understanding so it won't be.
But, not when it comes to religion. That picture made me very, very uncomfortable. When dealing with devout worshipers of any religion, numbers spook me.
It probably depends on what particular culture is bringing what particular aspects of that culture into the 21 century, some are quite good while others are utterly barbaric, even within the same culture. Good question.
The question is so vague. I'd love some examples.
Depends on how it effects my "comfort zone."
Life threatening? Run like hell!
Not life threatening but disgusting/sickening? Walk away.
Different and interesting? I'll hang in there.
What caused ya to ask this question?
feel curious, want to participate and learn.
if it gets dangerious, i just back up, get out of the way, because I am in the mid of something I have no understanding about.
when it settles down I go back out and explore, talk to the people, try to experience the culture if I can.
try to be open. sometimes it is hard, and other times the people make it nice for your. depends where you are.
I do not like to see suffering thought. makes me uncomfortable, if it is sevire I get angry at it, inside me.
Depends how "faced" we're talking.
If I suddenly woke up and was there and couldn't leave. I'd shut my face and observe. Find the lay of the land. Obviously I come from a culture where I am not compelled to or even encouraged to be so obsequious, so I'd have to make space for that, or fake it until I was sure I wouldn't be butchered for not sharing in the group-mind servility.
If it turned out I was free to think and observe and understand, I'd learn it and find ways to fit in and embrace it in some context with how I understand the world. If I was compelled, I'd learn ways to disguise the fact I was trying to find ways to escape or destroy it.
So - your response is 'fear'.
Why not just join in and 'do as the romans do'. ?
These people are harming no-one by this general practice and it is only marginally more strange than thousands of hooligans maraching to and from games with all the attendant chanting rubbish and violence - which is harming others.
I'm not sure how you pulled fear out of what I wrote there. Just because I "shut my face and learn the lay of the land" doesn't make me fearful. It makes me prudent and respectful. And how can I "join in 'do as the Romans do'" if I have no idea WTF they are doing? And while I would certainly, if suddenly found myself in the middle of 10,000 people all groveling in the street before some unseen altar or whatever, have the presence of mind to not stand out as some sort of dissident and therefore emulate the clear survival behavior being demonstrated by the sea of supplicants, doing so would not erase my curiosity as to why the Romans followed that particular custom.
I'm not a big fan of mindless following over extended periods of life. I like to understand stuff, etc. But, I get it, that's the sort of attitude that dictators and theocrats don't appreciate. I, however, get how dictators and theocrats work too, so I could play the game to survive until I could get out of there (or, barring that, find the rebellion and join it and work to destroy the enslavement).
I think my point is that this is just another culture doing things their way, and your reaction is grounded in preconceptions and fear of the unknown.
I pulled 'fear' from your post, you used the words -
obsequious- butchered - servility - compelled - escape - destroy
- all in about two column inches. Culture is like that, looking at another culture through our own blood red specs just makes everything red, get into the culture and you start to see the love and trust between people and the aparently horrible visible activities become just mundane. I guess they look the same at our dancing around a naked girl hanging from a pole while we get drunk start fighting and smashing up the place, or a big game crowd
I have quit a job because of the culture.
I can handle normal situations in other cultures, but confronted with object poverty and abuse I am very uncomfortable and want to go home.
Hı all - sorry to post thıs and then dısappear. I had to go to Istanbul at v. short notıce and have only now got ınternet access agaın. I asked the questıon because I have mıxed feelıngs about the type of scene ın the photograph. Quıte apart from not sharıng theır relıgıon (or any other) I can't easıly ımagıne beıng part of that crowd, spendıng an hour or so ın very publıc communal worshıp. Yet I lıke the foreıgness of ıt. I'd hate to come abroad and fınd ıt just lıke home.
good point, if so then why go there to see same.
I can't get the pic here but have seen many mass worshippings from those in the Arab world milling around the black representation of evil and throwing stones at it etc., to the formalised pontifications at Westminster Abbey and the frequent mass gatherings in Vatican Square.
I feel quite comfortable that people en masse can so these things as long as I don't have to join in. I am also quite comfortable taking part in less 'massed' religious gatherings like the processions, chanting and hymn singings and the eventual Catholic mass ( I used to be an altar boy in a Convent chapel), quali-catholic Carribean ceremony that involved the death of black and white cockerels, Taoist and Buddhist ceremonies.
Other cultures are the lifeblood of civilisation, the certainty that one's own culture is superior is the death knell.
The more difference and variation there is in the world the better for the future of everyone, from religious or other public expressions of some part of human thinking to the animals and plants among which we live.
The only way to begin to understand any of it is to immerse oneself in it with the understanding of our own unimportance in the greater scheme of it. It is in this way that we realise how unique and precious every person and thing really is.
I agree with all of that. I think the community benefit of the Doha style street worship balances fairly against the fact that the object of their worship probably doesn't exist.
I think, though, that you have to live in a foreign culture for a long time before you begin to empathise with it as opposed to merely finding it quaint or interesting.
I think it is necessary to live in anotyher culture for considerable time to even begin to understand, let alone empathise. I have been in China 5 years now and feel that I am just getting a real handle on how things work and why - at least in the immediate area around me
Hi Dave, perhaps age makes a difference, LOL, am not saying bec we are older younger ones who go to other places will be more accepting and can be acculturated easily.
I saw the topic in your G blog yesterday, it was snipped.
I don't think age makes a difference to be honest (except small to mid sized kids), I think it is more to do with how confident we are about who we are. We see ourselves in some combination positive or negative in how those around are looking at us; when they are looking at us as something different from our own understanding it challenges our self. Other things go a long way to help, like a good nature advertised with a smile, an open mind and acceptance of our own unique 'special-ness' coupled with our own general unimportance.
This was the linked picture. Friday prayers in Muntazah, Doha.
Hi Maita - Thanks for pointing out the snip! Attitude has a lot to do with it too, regardless of age.
The God of the bible enjoys worship and prayer but not like this. This is religion with its programs and works. God asks us to pray but in secret and not at a set time but when sincerity is at its peak.
If I follow you so far, it seems you don't like homosexuality, muslims who pray in groups, non believers, and a few hundred other religions, would that be a fair assessment?
No that wouldn't be a fair assessment.
christians are to hate the sin but love the sinner. I do not treat gay people badly, in person and i do not bible bash them either.
If you comprehended what i wrote you would have noticed that i do not like the path their religion teaches i did not say i did not like the muslims. (another sloppy interpretation by you) The few hundred religions I do not seem to like, I will give you that one. I do not like religious teachings which are not according to scripture, yet, i do not dislike the people.
Don't you mean what you say is the scripture?
They all have the absolute truth as you have. That doesn't ring any bells with you?
There have been and always will be false beliefs... the book of revelation says this, jesus said this. So the other side of the coin is true also... there will be true beliefs.
How will a person know the true beliefs... the word of God will be in them
Does that ring a bell with you?
Not when it is claimed by all parties that they have the true belief......no it doesn't ring a bell at all.
Why would it?
Is your claim so much better than the others?
Matthew 13:3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
Matthew 13:4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
Matthew 13:5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
Matthew 13:6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
Matthew 13:7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
Matthew 13:8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixty fold, some thirty fold.
Matthew 13:9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
It may not be in secret, but there is no show involved. There is uniformity. It was individual ostentatious praying that Jesus objected to.
There's nothing ostentatious about the guys in the picture. They're a model of sincerity.
It is hard to imagine that one person could be so arrogant about such a shabby belief system, along with the droves of other fundamentalists around the world all banging out their own version. You must be a ball of fun in the food bank or wherever it is you get your ego-fix from handing out bread to people more unfortunate than you.
If you can't see by now, after a couple of thousand years of banging heads together, that religion is all about inflated ego and fear of the 'other' then there is little hope for you or any of the other dogmatic blind.
Thankyou for your reply, assumptive and incorrect as it is, still a nugget of something, i suppose.
Since you seem to think that being told to pray at certain hours of the day is all fine and dandy and glorious to God, then enjoy that system.
As for me and The Christ that i walk with, we will enjoy each other without time schedules or pilgrimages and throughout our walk together, traffic will remain unaffected.
What you are looking at the picture is the system that Jesus mocked and ridiculed. It did not work for the OT Hebrews and it is just not a working system today. We do not earn our way into heaven nor get their by our own efforts or credentials. In that system if a man miss a prayer time, infraction of the rules has occurred. Christ did not put this yoke upon His people, but rather, released them from this dogmatic type of servitude. How many people enjoy schedules? Having to be somewhere and do something at a certain time. Its quite cumbersome, no? No matter what time it is, there is no where i have to be, especially to pray, because God is all around me/us.
And earnest if you ever perceived anything outside of your predesignated programming, i would be completely amazed.
OK. I'll tell them not to bother coming back next Friday.
or just mention that this ceremonial religiosity is not earning them points, but that God is happy to hear from them wherever they are, and whenever.
I wonder what their attitude might be prior and after this sort of thing. Was it a hassle getting there? We they flustered due to traffic jams or did they have to cancel some meeting because it went into overtime? Were they glad when it was over because they had other things to do? This sort of thing can have adverse effects.. if i had to schedule 3 prayers a day or put aside certain hours on a weekday, it would be difficult indeed if not impossible to keep perfectly.
There is such a simplicity in Christ that is absolutely wonderful.
And what of the people in the cars.. were they glad to witness such zeal for god or did they think, religious nuts.
Well, for one thing it's entirely voluntary, inasmuch as nobody is checking to see who's there, unlike what used to happen in Irish and Scottish catholic churches - miss a mass and the priest comes knocking on the door.
The guys see it as a religious duty to observe prayer time and of course Friday midday prayer is the big one in the week.
Men and women don't pray together and I've never seen women praying in the street.
I'm confronted with poverty and drug abuse everyday. I work at a food bank. It does not make me want to go home.
My Christianity encourages and helps others. Sometimes it's uncomfortable but affliction should bring Christians closer to God not farther away.
Poverty is very humbling, having wealth makes a person arrogant. Being sick reminds people there is a God, health just lets them continue to do what they do without thinking of God.
There is no magical safety line one crosses whereby they are untouchable by hardship or tragedy. Even having lost all and regained it again does not mean there will not be a third time.
for the benefit of the religiously challenged if there are any here, I should have qualified my statement that I was referring to wanting to go home when I travel, see abject poverty and have neither the time nor infrastructure to intervene.
In my own city we help the homeless. I am talking about the poverty I cannot do much about when travelling, which is what I thought the thread was about.
Hi Earnest - these guys for the most part aren't poor. OK, they are not rich Qataris. For the most part they are the local majority community of immigrant workers from Pakistan, Afghanistan some of the Gulf states. The much poorer workforce mostly are out of the city in labour camps.
Yesterday I saw some documentary about rural India and how they treat women, it's unbelievable, such a mixture of ignorance, poverty, religion, rigid cruel traditions, and there is no system to protect victims, no way out for abused, sick, helpless. It gets me angry and depressed. So much suffering for nothing. I could never live in a country like that, I cannot enjoy life amidst all that absolute poverty and inhumane traditions.
I could never understand why religion has to be organized...Are we, as a species, unable to individually commune with or without our own gods..? Is there some innate compulsion or genetic linkage that requires us to formalize and structure our beliefs around certain idols and books that proclaim to be the word of a god..?
Is it some need to proclaim to all " look at me, I'm praying, I'm in church, I'm meditating, therefore I am a good person worthy of your respect "...
Yes, I do run when any religious zealotry forces its nose under my tent...
Re culture, there is nothing more stimulating than philosophical differences discussed over a British pint, a Greek Ouzo, or a Japanese Sake...Each comes from a different perspective, and each has value within the context of their culture...
In everything there is organization mostly because organization works. It is nice to go to the PTA meetings and off to the golf club to chat with like minded buddies. Get together with friends, etc.
God is no different, he knows His people need to fellowship with other like minded people. There are very few rules in Christ but some principles are to be practiced.
As for the look at me... part of your post... that is easily refuted but could possibly be the way of some. Apparently the pharisees of Jesus time were that way and Jesus spoke out against such practice. Church is for the most part and should be a place of fellowship and teaching and of course, worship.
Agree completely with that. Unfortunately, in Islam, they are not allowed even to sit in company with anyone who is drinking alcohol. Of course some do, but I've met many here in the Gulf who uphold this principle rigorously.
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