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Religion Hopping

Updated on December 10, 2015

The different types of characters who abandon the various dogmas.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that when it comes to religion, people are just as fickle with religion as they are with anything else in their daily lives. If something doesn’t go their way, or they become embarrassed by whatever is going on, or even if the particular dogma they are practicing isn’t in vogue at the moment, people will religion hop.

I’ve seen when a scandal breaks out that involves the leaders of whatever religion they practice, and shows the leaders have flaws, just like any other human being that lives on this planet, they will abandon the religion they are currently practicing, to practice whatever religious dogma that has a wonderful marketing department and has gone on an extensive advertising campaign that week. Only to repeat the routine, if that religious practice doesn’t live up to their lofty expectations.

There are also those who do the exact opposite as well, and like an ostrich buries its head in the sand, these people bury their heads in the Bible, and go into denial about whatever scandal has touched their revered leaders. These people get very vociferous against the news that their leaders are human, and have fallen off the pedestal they were placed upon, and anyone who speaks out in opposition of their leaders, the defenders will malign and ostracize those who speak against the religious leaders.

Then there is the scenario where the clergy of the place of worship, don't cave into the demands of an influential parishioner, again comes the act of abandonment. This last is one that is the saddest because it shows the shallowness of that individual. The type of person who also goes into this category is the one who, to try and impress another, will suddenly “find” religion and become a “born again” (insert religious practice here). Actually, this last person type, is the one to be most worried about, because they are the one most likely to twist and contort the thoughts and practices of the dogma to suit their own needs, to condone their own lack of character, and to justify their bad behaviour towards another.

Each time I hear of these stories, and there are a fair few that I’ve heard, I think to myself, did these people really have faith in God or did they mistakenly put their faith in a mere human, and expect the human to have God-like qualities?

Hopping here and there, trying to find what is looked for.

So because of the various misconceptions that are in place, I see what I call religion hopping, kind of like island hopping in the Bahamas or the Hawaiian Islands, but on a more serious and consequential level.

The hoppers will go from denomination to denomination expecting and professing different results, but each time they land, and something negative happens, they feel they need to hop to the next religion they haven't tried, because obviously the one they are in is corrupt and has problems. Over and over the same pattern prevails, no balance or thorough examination, so again the hopper moves on and each time the same result, the need to abandon comes into play.

The people hopping from denomination to denomination, following the various dogmas of that designation, and renouncing the previous sect’s credos as the wrong path, make me wonder if the individuals truly understand what it means to have faith, or to believe. In my humble opinion, it isn't or shouldn't be about the leaders of any particular religion, it shouldn't be about who in the community practices which doctrine, or how popular that religion is, it should be about how the articles of faith speak to your soul of whatever religion you want to practice.

The hoppers tend to mistakenly put their faith and belief in the human being, who is the religious leader, instead of putting faith in the supreme deity that that doctrine worships. When the lead cleric shows themselves to have flaws and have momentary lapses in judgment, the world of these people is shaken to the core. Yes it's true we set extremely high expectations for the clergy. However, is it truly fair to expect more from those in authority than we do from ourselves or from those around us? Not really, but that is how it is for humans. We all want someone or a group of some ones, to guide us, show us the right path through their positive accomplishments. We want, almost need, someone to set the good example of how we should be, how we should live and how we should act in our lives, so we can advance to what is called Heaven, Nirvana, Paradise, Promised Land or what have you.

Should a human really be placed on a pedestal?

The problem when we put a human being on a pedestal, and set such high standards for them to adhere to, we most assuredly are setting them up for failure. Don't get me wrong, it's acceptable to place someone on a pedestal, but the key to keep someone on that pedestal is to remember that they are human, and from time to time, human beings do make mistakes. Not everyone, not even our religious leaders are perfect. Perfection is something we strive to achieve, but very rarely if ever is it attained. Only God, Allah, Jehovah, Buddha, Creator or whatever name you prefer to call the supreme deity you worship, is perfect.

To learn from each other we first have to tolerate being together.

I was raised Catholic, and even educated in the Catholic school system, and one of the most important things I learned was tolerance of others, listen to what others have to teach, acceptance of others for who they are, (as an adult I now understand the thought process behind the teachings; the best way to defeat your enemy is to get to know them, or at least that’s how I perceive it). But of course like all religions, I was taught that the Catholic way was the first, and correct way of the religions based on Christianity. Sadly though, there were other things about the Catholic dogma that I had a hard time dealing with, so I chose another path. Although, I believe that the basic foundation that I was inoculated with as a child, has been very beneficial to me in many ways and when I have felt the need to attend a gathering for worship, even though I may have been to other churches, and experienced different viewpoints, I always choose to attend a Catholic service. I think this may because of the rich history of how the Catholic ceremony developed, the reasoning behind each and every nuance is very comforting to me. One of the most beneficial things about Catholicism that very few realize is that no matter where you are in the world, the language spoken may be different, and the building where service is held may look different in some ways, but the Mass itself is the same.

I won't lie I did the religion hopping in my 20's. However, in my late 30's, I moved away from all religious dogmas, and have found my own path of spirituality that is based upon my Catholic upbringing, my Irish and Cherokee heritages. Since I am a child of mixed races, only makes sense that my faith be mixed. Well, it makes sense to me at least. Which in the end is the most important. How we believe must make sense to us, and it must speak to our souls, otherwise we will bounce from religion to religion. Someone I used to talk to on a regular basis about this, conveyed this in a way that made the most sense, he said that our religious or spiritual beliefs should fit us like the best and most comfortable clothes we've ever had. We, humans are creatures of comfort, don't like to wear things that make us uncomfortable in anyway, and that is the way religious or spiritual beliefs should be, even in the most trying of times.

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    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I think this is a wonderful hub and helps guide us to important thinking. I wish I could agree with your last paragraph. And perhaps it is a great concept for many. But my relationship with God always makes me uncomfortable so I change and grow. But I am comfortable with that ;-)

    • LEWMaxwell profile image
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      Leslie Schock 4 years ago from Tulsa, Oklahoma

      Eric, thank you for commenting. I was hoping to convey that our beliefs are personal, and shouldn't be controlled by anyone else. Even if you belong to an organized religion, and it's what makes you feel closer to God then that is the best place for you. Again thank you for your comment.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Yes you did convey well about the notion of a personal relationship. I am teaching a "religion" class to newcomers to a "religion". It is very strange for I have been preaching to them for a few years about their "religion" being Love and now we take this new path. None have left and we grow, but I do not know why.

    • LEWMaxwell profile image
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      Leslie Schock 4 years ago from Tulsa, Oklahoma

      More than likely they do not leave because you come from a place of understanding and love, and not from a place of force and anger with what you are teaching. I've always believed that it's not what you say, but how you say it, that makes the difference. Being able to grow in your faith and still convey love, understanding and tolerance, impacts those we are teaching or speaking with more than any negative emotions.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you for reminding me of that. I needed it.

    • LEWMaxwell profile image
      Author

      Leslie Schock 4 years ago from Tulsa, Oklahoma

      Eric you are quite welcome. We are here to learn from each other. Even when we disagree with each other, we still learn.

    • Louisa Rogers profile image

      Louisa Rogers 4 years ago from Eureka, California and Guanajuato, Mexico

      Leslie, I love this hub. I guess I'm an "SBNR" (an acronym I discovered recently meaning 'spiritual but not religious'). I grew up Protestant, and my family members still worship in various denominations. I don't, but they love me anyway :-) I attend their churches when I visit them, and they join my zen meditation group when they visit us-- the focus being more on meditation than zen. I've done my share of hopping, and even now, in addition to the zen group, I meditate with a centering prayer group. I consider myself Christian friendly (unless it gets too ideological, then I part ways). Voted up and interesting.

    • LEWMaxwell profile image
      Author

      Leslie Schock 4 years ago from Tulsa, Oklahoma

      I too have the same thoughts as you. Christian friendly until they become not so friendly. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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