Recently there was controversy online regarding whether or not a speech written by Pope Francis was really said to the public. While some regard the whole issue to be a complete hoax, stating the unlikeliness of such as a speech, others remain optimistic.
It is unfortunate though, that the speech was a joke of sorts written by an online new source similar to The Onion. The article is titled “Pope Francis Condemns Racism And Declares That “All Religions Are True” At Historic Third Vatican Council”. Notably, the most obvious clue to the inauthenticity of this article lies in the title. There has not by Third Vatican Council. The last one was held in 60s.
Yet even though the contents written may not be true, I think the author was smart enough to touch upon a number of topics that were relevant not only to Catholics but the religious sphere in general. Had he or she not addressed these topics, the hoax would have never taken off nor would people have been so convinced of its authenticity.
Included within the article were snippets of how Catholicism is now a “modern and reasonable religion, which has undergone evolutionary changes.” It continues to state that it has come to abandon all intolerance, and accepts all religions as true. Even more absurd were its statements supporting same-sex, pro-life, and pro-choice.
Catholicism has always represented the conservative side of Christianity. This is why these supposed sayings by Pope Francis were at the centre of such outrage and shock. Under Pope Francis’ reign, he is tasked with refreshing the Catholic Church and modernizing it to a point. While he is still considered conservative, the current Pope’s views are seen as more leftist than Pope Benedict XVI.
I would argue the new Pope is making a noticeable break from Vatican tradition, facing political issues head on and presenting a more all-inclusive attitude toward human right. Either way, I think the changes to Catholic Church have been aplenty since the Francis’ inauguration. He has broken away from tradition and is beginning a silent revolution to change the Catholic Church.
Recently in English class we were debating and discussing the difference between being religious and being spiritual. Previously, I did not realize there was a difference between the two but further analysis has revealed otherwise. I thought I would share some thoughts.
Being religious meaning adhering to a certain set of specific system of belief, worship, or conduct that prescribes certain responses to the existence. I see spirituality as a deeply personal connection to a greater force which cannot be personified. Therefore religious people can be spiritual. However, spiritual people do not necessarily have to be religious. Many people who do feel that deep personal connection but who are not affiliated with any organized religion prefer to refer to themselves as “spiritual”.
I see religion as a way to help people achieve spiritual connection. In a sense, many who are spiritual but not religious actually have a greater grasp of life and their existence because in order to be spiritual, one must have a clear goal or a purpose which leads them to believe.
I’ve been reading up on Buddhism for the past couple of weeks and I’m finding many of its values appealing. This might be because, arguably, Buddhism is just as much as a philosophy as it is a religion. In that sense, many of its core principles such as respect and toleration are not only achievable goals but can also be implemented on a daily basis. Don’t get me wrong though, the whole achieving Enlightenment and Nirvana before death thing is nowhere near easy. Still, Buddhism separates itself from other by faiths by providing long term purpose within our existence. I find Buddhism’s appeal in its grounded approach and simplistic (debatable??) outlook. Maybe what I’m really seeking is not religion, but rather a set of guidelines to help me better enjoy and live out my days.
In my last draft (mysteriously gone because I am inept with WordPress), I somehow ended up rambling about how its important to have a firm understanding of your faith if you decide religion is something which is going to a part of your life. I say this because I think a lot of tragedy and conflict has occurred through the ages as a result of people blindly following their religion. Now I’m stepping on a fine line here. I’m not saying people should not be allowed to interpret religion in their own way. If there was conformity across the board, all the different branches within each religion would disappear. Anyways, I just think there are those out there who are willing to abuse faith by committing acts such taking religious texts out of context to justify their actions or using religion as a crutch to further their own beliefs.
Back to Buddhism, it is less of a fixed package of beliefs which is to be accepted in its entirety, and more of a teaching which each person learns and uses in his/her own way. In this increasingly materialistic world, I think more and more people are beginning to realize the value of simplicity. While I agree simplicity is important, I don’t think I’m ready to fully accept it yet. Maybe it has to do with age. I haven’t experienced enough of the world yet or obtained the wisdom which can only come with age to realize one does not need a whole lot of things in order to obtain happiness (another Buddhist philosophy). In my current environment, simplicity can be viewed as less, and therefore can mean poor. I don’t know if that’s the right way to put it but I hope you get a sense of what I’m trying to express.
I’m getting off-topic now, and veering away. If only had my previous draft. There were some good points there too that I would’ve liked to share 🙁
So off the top, when I do come around to thinking about this project and where it’s going to take me, I spend a lot of time contemplating where to start. I mean, I need a concrete blueprint to how this IRP is going to work out. So the way I figure, this is going to be broken down into a three step process.
1. Do some extensive background research. It’s important to understand some of the fundamental ideas and beliefs surrounding each faith. I need some substance before moving on to part two.
2. What better way to find out about a faith than to have a chat with an expert (priest, pastor, rabbi, etc.)? Fortunately, I currently live in a very multicultural city, so there are plenty of opportunities. I’d tell you where I actually live, but I’ve been recently warned that sharing one’s personal information freely on the cyberspace is apparently dangerous! (what???)
3. After some conversations (and maybe a few congregations), I shall commence a thorough analysis of my findings. I haven’t really figured out what happens after. I expect there will be some sort of process of elimination. I’ll probably have to come up with a criteria list as well.
The goal is to finish the bulk of my precursor research before term one of the school year ends (prior to Christmas). I hope to establish my contacts and book all of the meetings by this point as well. This leaves term two to complete parts two and three. I realise this is a half-year coarse and some aspects might be a tight fit. However, if all goes according to structure, this project is definately doable.
Hi there! If by any chance anybody will ever view this blog other than the folks at my school…DON’T LEAVE ME! My name’s Leon and we’re about to go on a journey of sorts. Before I share with you my grand scheme of enlightenment thought, let me tell you a little bit about myself.
Current Location: Vancouver, British Columbia/Age: 17/Fun fact: I’m probably taller than you/Pet peeves: loose threads/Hobbies: reading, travelling, running/Athletics: rowing crew (not dragon boating), volleyball
So the creation of this blog is part of a course I am enrolled in called the Independent Research Project. I am currently attending my last year in high-school. This course allows senior students a opportunity to explore any topic of interest with the requirement of presenting their findings through some sort of medium at the conclusion.
What does my project involve? Well, its kind of a spiritual journey of sorts. As a child raised in a secular family, I’ve always mingled with the idea of spirituality. But until now, further exploration on this subject has never presented itself. My thesis, if you will, is to embrace a clustor of faiths in order to find personal spirituality. I hope to learn a little more about myself through this experience as well.
Alongside this blog, I will also be completing a research paper in an attempt to discover why humans find religion so attractive and why we allow such an ambiguous concept to govern over ourselves.
This journey will be very open-ended. In that I mean I might come up completely empty-handed. In the end, maybe the only realization I’ll come to is that I’m perfectly content with the way I’ve been going about. Who knows?
*Pi is a reference to Yann Martel’s famous novel/film “Life of Pi.” The protagonist embarks on a similar journey with the goal of finding a faith of best fit.
Thanks for dropping by!