Religious Scripts

As my readers know, I have immersed and re-immersed myself from many different doctrinal systems.  See my confessions here. After leaving one of those groups, Evangelical Christianity, I lost most of my friends, including a dear friend from my High School days, Tim.  Four years after freedom from Evangelicalism, I ran into Tim again.  We were both returning together in a car from my mother’s funeral. Tim had seen me both convert to his flavor of Christianity and then deconvert 5 years later. Tim just happened to be back on furlough from being a Missionary in the Dubai — a tough mission, because Muslims rarely convert.

Tim waited until we had enough polite conversation and then he brought up my lost relationship with Jesus Christ.  He started with the four spiritual laws and started quoting scriptures to me in order to bring me back to Jesus.

Tim knew my fervent Christian credentials (see here), yet he still lectured me as if I had never heard of any of the things he was parroting.  Tim was doing the Christian script.  Never once did he stop to ask about me, my various experiences, my thoughts.  And why should he?  Because if I didn’t believe what he did, then I must not know these things or must be confused.  He had to straighten me out.

He was not talking to Sabio, he was talking *at* a non-Christian.

I’ve had Hindu-phile mystics, Buddhists, Homeopaths, and many more such people do the same to me.  Spouting their scripts almost automatically — never wondering if the listener had already heard their religious scripts.  They don’t stop to find out about their listener, but instead, they jump right into their hackneyed, impersonal aphorisms and pablum.

They know how things are. They know the truth. They see reality as it truly is.  They are all ready to teach you the truth. You are an object — something to be converted.  A mistake to be corrected.

Scripts don’t have to be religious, of course, but when they are, they are horribly ugly.

Question for readers:  Tell us a story of scripts you caught yourself delivering or haved delivered to you.



Filed under Philosophy & Religion

6 responses to “Religious Scripts

  1. hey ratamacueo — google “hinduphile” and you will see many others who coined this word in a similar way.

  2. rautakyy

    Many a times have I been faced with people who perform their religious scripts. Some do it passionately believing in every word, some do it lame, just monotomically going through the script and some seem to really believe, it comes from their own hearts and that they are doing me a service.

    But I think even an atheist may have a “religious” script. Something that convinced them and they think could convince the other person of the truth. As you say, there are plenty of people with “religious” feelings about the nature of reality, in politics for example.

    What I find curious, is the way a “religiously” inspired person reacts to comments about their script. Not all though, but a good number of them seem to fall into a state of unable to even hear what the other person is saying in response. Both in political and religious script performances I have run into these people who simply rewind to the beginning of their script, if they are interjected, or if there are any comments posed, that even might challenge the inner coherency of their script. Not to mention when they receive some new information from outside the script. Is it because they have build their very identity and a sense of safety around their own beliefs? Am I guilty of this also, and if so, how could I recognize it in myself?

  3. agreed, rautakyy, well said

  4. @rautakyy and sabio
    “Am I guilty of this also, and if so, how could I recognize it in myself”

    Guilty? There is always the “sin” script thing of course. Mindfulness practice is often advised as the antidote, but Is that a “script” as well? Or is it “skillful means”?

  5. @ brmckay,

    “Guilty” (rautakyy used this, not me), can be used for “sin” –> “being guilty of a sin”, and such, but only you mention “sin” here. Neither rautakky or myself mentioned “sin”. Guilt of sin is indeed part of the techniques used by both Christians and Jews (and, heck, I have even seen Buddhists and Hindus used it — remember, I lived for more than a decade in countries with those religions). But guilt also has a secular use of breaking a rule or practice that should not be broken.

    Certainly, paying attention (? being mindful) to the person you are talking to and trying to really understand and deeply relate to them is something most would agree is a goal worth pursuing and practicing. And as my above post claims, speaking from scripts would make one “guilty” of violating that agreed goal (even if it is a tacit agreement).

    So, I am not sure what you are trying to imply in your comment.
    Do you ever feel you are speaking from scripts and ignoring the person you are talking to, but instead just trying to get your message out on the internet?

    I do, at times, I am occasionally GUILTY of that (no Christian implications meant), and try to stay mindful enough to catch and stop myself.

    As for “skillful means”: Being in Buddhist circles for decades, I am of course aware of this term and how it is used. For instance, in this post on Non-sense Chanting, I speak of “Upaya” (expedient means), and here in my post “Atheist in Rehab“, I speak of an atheist using “God” as an expedient mean or here where I talk about my “Atheist Shrine“.

    But I am not sure what you were using “skillful means” to justify. Let us know.

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