Sunday, April 29, 2007

True Religion vs. Religious Hegemony via haircuts

According to this article, Iran has ordered its barbers union (as if there would even be a hairdresser there) to no longer cut mens hair in Western styles, to not pluck men's eyebrows, and to not apply makeup to men. Note the poster in the image to the right by the Iranian police. Western styles such as this sheikly modern do via Dolph Lundgren in Rocky IV are hereby banned from the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Far too often, religious people seek to impose their beliefs on the populace at large. If that's what society wants, so be it. However, I can think of precious few instances in world history when an entire society saw eye-to-eye on religious matters. Whether's it's Hindus in India being scandalized by Richard Gere's cheek kiss of a woman, Baptists freaking out about DisneyWorld having a gay day, or Muslims saying you can't wear your hair in a spike style, religious hegemony by way of force, is contradictory to the tenets of their own religious teachings; yes, even the Koran says it's better to persuade people to do good than to obligate them. Jesus never said, "Obey my commandments or burn in hell." He did say, on the beach, to Peter, while enjoying some fish and honeycomb, "if you love me, keep my commandments."
If you love Him, keep His commandments. That's a good rule. One that most people can parrot back to you, but very few can live. A true person of faith, doesn't seek to impose their own faith on someone else. I can not like the fact that pornography and vice pervade our culture. It makes me wish that people would choose better things for themselves and for their families. There are only two paths to achieving 100% obedience to the commandments. 1) you can obligate people to obey, taking away their rights and free will, and 2) you can show them by example, by love unfeigned, how much better life can be. The first plan belongs to Beelzebub; the second to God. He is the Father of everyone, Hindus, Muslims, Atheists, even Baptists. We are all brothers and sisters. Loving God, and choosing to do his will, is the only thing we can do to show our obedience. It has to come from within. Making someone get a certain haircut, trying to burn Harry Potter books, hell, especially telling someone that they're going to hell for believing a certain way, places one squarely in the gall of bitterness and pride.
Who told you what God wanted someone else to do? The Holy Ghost could certainly tell you something that YOU should do; Jesus specifically warns us to avoid the mote in our brothers eye whilst ignoring the beam in our own. I hold very strict and specific beliefs about what constitute right living. I hate that most people ignore the commandments. I wish they would obey them. But, I know they won't, and me complaining about it and trying to take away their free will by criminalizing certain actions, is wrong.
Islam could learn a thing or two from Jesus. They already call him a prophet; perhaps they should read up a little. Christians would do well to read the teachings of Jesus Christ for what they say, and not what others have told them they say. Jesus' message was one of love and patience and understanding. I hope to understand his message better before I meet him.


Thewmes said...

Mac you just wrote the perfect defense for my thoughts on gay marriage! Bravo, now I can just have Dan read this post next time he starts grilling me about it.

Laura said...

Thanks! Very nicely put. I agree wholeheartedly.

Reminds me that the most active thing Jesus commands is "making disciples" of others, but that discipling is mentoring and friendship and fellowship. It sure as hec doesn't mean legislating others.

Thanks again. Well put.