Friday, March 16, 2012

The Culture Blogs: The Hypocrisy of Religion or Where's the Love?

Of all the laws and rules in the world the most important one to remember is the Golden Rule. Every world religion has their own interpretation of it.  You can study it in psychology, philosophy, sociology, and most commonly religion.  Ultimately it has to do with empathizing with others.  Today I would like to take a moment to review several versions of this rule with you to give you a basis for the misunderstanding of this rule so often destroying our credibility in what we personally believe.

Islam: Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself. -The Prophet Mohammed, Hadith

Hinduism: This is the sum of duty, do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you. -Mahabharata 5:15:17

Buddhism: Treat not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. -Udana Varga 5:18

Taoism: Regard your neighbors gain as your own gain and your neighbors loss as your own loss. -T'ai Shang Kan Ying P'ien 213, 218

Judaism: What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour.  This is the whole Torah, the rest is commentary. -Hillel, Talmud, Shabbat 31a

Sikhism: I am a stranger to no one; and no one is a stranger to me.  Indeed I am a friend to all.- Guru Granth Sahib, pg. 1299

Unitarianism: We affirm and promote respect for interdependence web of all existence of which we are all a part. -Unitarianism Principle

Christianity: Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. -Matthew 7:12 KJV

And the most plain version of all: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

In each of these systems of thought it comes back to a concept that Christ taught.  I would say that regardless of your race, creed, or religious background this applies to everyone. 

Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. -Matthew 22:39 

Just think about this one concept.  How much better would the world be if we lived according to this one idea?  I don’t think we would have the bitter smear campaigns between the men and women who want to run the country.  It starts up with the politicians and soon it becomes all of the people who follow them saying “F-ing Republicans” or “Democrats are an unorganized bunch of idiots.”  I’ve heard both, and I’m certain you have too.  Most of the people who make that comment claim to believe the Golden Rule too.  But obviously we all have problems trying to live it.

This is a shaka.
It doesn’t just happen in politics though.  Its also a problem in our driving.  I lived in Hawaii for two years and I had the wonderful blessing of seeing how they drove.  Honking your horn at someone is a social taboo there.  Life is slower and the driving reflects that.  And when folks cut others off, or do something that is “cuss-worthy” as long as you throw a “shaka” (most of you know it as the hang loose gesture) to the person you may have offended with your “poor” driving, everything is great.  (In fact I knew folks who celebrated when they saw someone throw a shaka to them.)  While I lived there I never heard anyone cuss because they got cut off while driving, instead they cussed because the love of the shaka wasn’t shared.

If someone feels this way, why hate them?
One of the stories that enraged me more than any other was told to me by a professor at my school.  In class you would never be able to pick out the fact that he is an Atheist.  But if you care enough to visit him in his office, he'll open up to you.  He shared with me a story of when he lived in a different state, of which the majority of was Christians, with a bumper sticker on his car that stated: United Atheists.  That was the only difference between his car and the others in that parking lot.  The very day he placed the stick on his car it was keyed.   Sure it could have been a student who got a bad grade, but he was hurt that people who claimed to “love others as Christ loved them” would do something like that.

I live in Utah and Gay Rights is challenging subject in our state.  It makes some people uncomfortable, it makes other people angry, and some of us just want to see equality for other people in our society.  But some folks feel the need to discriminate, so if you are openly gay you could lose your job.  They hide behind the current laws saying that they are justified in what they are doing, but at the same time those same people will go to church on Sunday and profess their love for God and their fellow man.  That isn’t right.

I know a man raised by his single mother for most of his life.  She is a good woman.  She did community service projects, made sure her son never lived in any dangerous parts of town, and touched the lives of many of the young people she came in contact throughout her life.  And she praised her son in public so much nobody could imagine, that she called him worthless, stupid, and a failure at home.  Her public face was one of love, but what she showed privately was one of anger and resentment.  To be honest though, there was never anything she told him that she didn’t believe was also true about herself.  She lived the “Golden Rule” the best she knew how.  She treated her son the same way she treated herself.  But he left one day and she’s cried for years since then.  I feel sorry for her.

Humility is about unity.  Unity strengthens everyone.
Each day we have a choice.  We can choose our pride and anger or we can choose to find the humble way of life.  Humility is about unity.  That means it strengthens everyone.  We can choose to build the world into a place where I as a Democrat can look a Republican in the eye and tell them, “While I may not agree with you, I understand your intension and I hope that we may find a way to work together to find what will bring us greater prosperity as a nation.”  And where discrimination because of sexual orientation, religious orientation, or cultural orientation can be overlooked because we care about meeting each others needs so much that instead of barring one another from their needs.  And where parents love their children and support them through all the trials of their life.  Perhaps that last is the hardest world for us to find of all, but we must discover it.
While I stand here and I share my feelings I want to share with you that I’m a hypocrite.  Yeah, I’m the number one hypocrite.  And that’s because I know these things and still I disappoint myself with my anger, my pride, and my lack of love for my fellow man.  Every human being deserves the very best I can give them.  And that by no means is easy.  But part of the fact that I recognize myself as part of the problem is part of the solution.  I can be more aware of my own discriminatory or hateful attitudes and work on them.

Our books of the month remain Tankborn by Karen Sandler and Dhalgren by Samuel Delany.  Part of the reason I'm giving away these books is that they both reveal how cruel we can be to one another.  Some folks might purchase them on the recommendation here alone, others will hope to win one.  Regardless they each raise awareness for how we may treat one another poorly in day to day life.  

One lucky follower of the blog will receive each of these books.  Cause I know that not everyone can follow my blog there are two ways to get entries.  One is to actually follow the blog this will get your name put into my hat three times, and the other is to leave a comment on the blog.  For each comment I receive on my blog during the month of March (I think it has said February a few times, my apologies) I'll put your name into the hat once.  I enjoy doing this because it gets me reading different books, supporting authors I love, and it allows me an opportunity to give back to you, my audience.

Next time we'll talk about manipulation as a form of controlling others in both positive and negative senses.  Until then, I'm Jayrod Garrett, the First OG.  My question for you is: Are you a Hypocrite?


  1. Dear Son - We are all hypocrites, but you have engaged in more self examination and subsequent eradication of this vice than the vast majority of us. Anyone worthy of his religion must constantly look within as much or more than outwardly for evil.

    1. Perhaps Dad, but I don't seem myself that way at least. Though I'd have to say if I saw myself as less of a hypocrite, I'd probably be more of one. Killer irony there.

  2. <--- Health Promotion Major at WSU - eats pizza like it's going extinct. Is against any kind of animal cruelty - eats meat and animal products from companies that mistreat their livestock. Wants to be like Jesus - plots murder when someone cuts me off in traffic. Rejects impossible standard of American beauty - wants breast implants. Doesn't want to be judged - judges others.

    1. Great examples, sweetheart. (This is my wife.) Your honesty is refreshing. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I'm not sure I agree with your title for this post. The quest to live up to ones ideals and the failure to actually do so, does not mean that there is hypocrisy in religion. It may be that our effort to live up to those ideals actually shows the purpose of religion: to give us something to aspire to, to help us become better. The imperfections and weaknesses that we all have inevitably make us, as humans, hypocritical. There is a saying that I have grown up with, "The church is perfect, the people in it are not." I believe we can all do more to be less hypocritical, less judgmental, and more understanding. In short, to come closer to actually living the ideals that we profess.

    1. That's totally fine Phillip! Part of the conversation is the fact that we can disagree and still be friendly. I think we all do have weaknesses and imperfections the same as you, but I also recognize there are days that I say one thing and I live another. Not just on mistake, but willfully. And that is what I'm talking about here. I don't exempt myself because I don't think I'm any better than anybody else. But I am so thankful for your comments here. Hopefully someone will read this and have the same courage to speak out and share their opinion as boldly. :D

  4. I agree with your assessment, Jayrod. In fact sometimes I'm a little "in your face" about it too. As a teacher, I interact with a wide variety of kids from every kind of background you can imagine. I've learned to accept them for who they are, and as a result, I've garnered a lot of respect from students. I've been blessed with an ability to know how to create a rapport with a lot of them. Some of the "problem" students aren't always such a problem. And a lot of it has to do with caring about them as individuals, not just my classwork. Just because we have a bad day today does not necessarily mean tomorrow will be a bad day too. I've seen a lot of teachers that act like if there is one problem in class, there will be a problem every day. It turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
    But I'm certainly not perfect. I have some students who just annoy the heck out of me, and it does seem like every day is the same regardless of what I do. And I find it more difficult to extend the same courtesy to my family members. I'm not sure why, but all I can think about is the closeness of my family members makes it more difficult to see the problems and the advantages in a balanced light.

    1. Heidi, you pretty much captured in kind language much of the way I feel about the school system. Thank you for that.
      I also work with a lot of students and they have taught me that being kind at home is so much harder, but so much more important. I'm sorry for all the times that I've come home upset and taken it out on my wife, when really I was upset at things I saw at school. It is hard to give our best to our loved ones, but they certainly do deserve it. Thanks for your comments!


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