An administrator of a clinic where I worked long ago and far away once told me how he had to go to an orthodox (Jewish) rabbi and get some sort of a special document in order to satisfy his community (and mostly his wife) when a cardiac surgeon decided to put a pig valve in his heart to keep him alive.
I was not as impressed with the gravity of the situation as he wanted me to be. Sure, I know that Jews aren’t supposed to eat anything that comes from a pig because it wallows in the mud and is thus “dirty.”
The prohibition against consuming its flesh is often credited with saving generations of (religious) Jews from getting sick with trichinosis. Medicine has, however, advanced considerably since Biblical designs.
Whatever people believe about our Creator, there is no way that he or she is going to introduce information to the world that we can’t understand because our technology is not advanced enough. Nobody told about genetic recombination on Mount Sinai. Nobody talked about transplantation in the era when the Gospels were being written.
The obvious conclusion is that it is time to stop worrying about right or wrong in religious doctrine and start living as fully and joyously as our medicine and technology will permit. Instead, I find that people whose spiritual beliefs seem associated with organized churches, seem to be given easily to generalizations and even name-calling: blatant intolerance. Read more on Animal Rights vs. Human Progress…
I have sat silent for a long time, waiting for the news to come in from Fort Hood, waiting for people to understand and explain. Now, I have read and seen enough that I think I understand.
As always, my own life and experiences have been so rich and so diverse that I have an overwhelming memory or vision.
It was a California state prison; I have worked in a few. Religion was always especially popular within the prisons where I worked. I assumed, as did the mental health personnel in general, that it was because inmates felt so dehumanized and downtrodden that they could be expected to grasp onto anything that made them feel good. We knew and understood this.
I certainly maintained friendly associations with all chaplains. I considered them a bit idealistic, a bit naive, but I also considered myself that way. And in that feeling, that belief, that “give them the extra mile” feeling, I got some peace.
Still, I remember the day I was scared. I rarely ventured into the areas of religious worship, but once, just once, I happened to be out crossing the yard during one of the five daily times of Muslim prayer. I could not count the number of inmates, as they covered the yard.