The QiRanger Adventures

Faith

with 8 comments

Hillside

Hillside

Living here in Korea the aspect of faith comes up quite often. That may sound surprising in the Land of the Morning Calm, but it’s true. Many people here in Korea are without any faith, but Buddhism and Christianity are the two main religions in the country. Furthermore, with the thirst for English education, more Christians, Jews, and Muslims arrive in the country each year to satisfy that teaching need.

But one of the more interesting things I’ve noticed here (and back home as well), is how lifestyle influences the way in which one practices their religion. To me, it just seems odd. If you claim to be a follower of Christ, the way you live your life should reflect such. The same holds true that call Judaism or Islam their faiths. Everything you do on a daily basis should reflect that commitment.

However, it is rarely the case. I may earn my living teaching English, but it isn’t my main job. No, I followed a calling I received last year and have enjoyed one of the most miraculous years I can remember. It’s because I believe and follow the teachings of my faith and put it into action on a daily basis.

In the 21st Century, it is hard to be “religious,” what ever that may mean to you. It is especially hard to be a believer in one of the Abrahamic faiths in this day and age of Humanism. But I challenge everyone, what ever your faith system entails, follow it. Believe it. Learn about it. Be sure that the tenets that you were taught are true. If you call yourself Christian, people should be able to look at your actions and know that. Likewise, if you are Jewish, live by the standards of Moses. If you are Muslim, then live by the teachings of Mohammad.

Here in Korea, the Jewish and Muslim communities are small and I find it odd that the young men and women of those faiths who come here use that as an excuse to suspend their religious practices. Muslims stop praying five times daily and rarely keep the month of Ramadan holy. Jews no longer practice Shabat and will continue to teach into the evening tonight as Rosh Hashanah begins. They probably will not fast or observe Yom Kippur as well.

The above actions are not limited to the youths teaching here in Korea, but something I’ve seen for years in the United States among all three Abrahamic faiths. People claim to follow a religion… but never put it into action. To me, that isn’t following a faith, it’s clinging to a label.

Advertisements

Written by Steve Miller

September 29, 2008 at 9:29 am

Posted in Religion, Thoughts

Tagged with , , ,

8 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Hi!

    I live in the Philippines and many Koreans are here to study English. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen or heard of any one of them going to church or talking about faith for instance. But they can always be found at the spa. I don’t have anything against Koreans though. It’ just that they’re kind of all over the place these days. It’s suffocating. I don’t like their liberated ways.

    I’m a Roman Catholic by the way and I regularly go to church. I am trying hard to keep my faith.

    Keep writing Sir! I’ll keep reading!

    Mary Jane

    September 29, 2008 at 9:47 am

  2. In the 21st Century, it is hard to be “religious,” what ever that may mean to you. It is especially hard to be a believer in one of the Abrahamic faiths in this day and age of Humanism.

    Is it hard to do, or is it just easier not to do? [I sound like I’m speaking in riddles. Perhaps I am.] I just wonder if there are obvious boundaries to practicing and demonstrating religious belief, or if people just feel compelled to “fit in” into the broader humanist society you speak of? I mean, on the one hand I wonder about the conviction of the religious belief in these circumstances… but by the same token, everyone is entitled to their own practice of said beliefs. I’ve always doubted that every individual in ANY congregation agrees on EVERYTHING within a given framework of belief. Just because an individual identifies himself as being Jewish it need not necessarily mean he does everything (or believes) another Jewish individual may do (or believes).

    I really believe we’ve been coached to think of religion as being a team sport. You pick the side you want to ‘play’ for, find out what the game plan is and what the chant sounds like. Obviously a great sense of community derives from this process. There is a great social aspect to religious congregations. This is wonderful.

    But to me spirituality and religion is not a team sport. It is an invitation to explore your relationship with your creator – whatever that might mean to you. It need not be scrunitised by other people. It need not be signed off on by religious officials. It need not be validated by your family or friends. Too frequently I see people identify something within their own religious tradition and they want to “take it to the world” and inflict it upon other people. Surely religion is an invitation toward introspection; toward looking at yourself and striving to be a better person, not an invitation to inflict your will upon others.

    John Lacey

    September 29, 2008 at 8:19 pm

  3. Good points John. But if you adhere to one of the Abrahmic faiths, there are certain things that remain uncontested within various groups. It is to those things to which I speak.

    Spiritual growth is largely an independent process, but one that can be facilitated through various forms of fellowship.

    Thanks for a great reply!

    qiranger

    September 29, 2008 at 9:59 pm

  4. I believe there is SOMETHING, but that we monkeys don’t have the mental horsepower to understand what it is, therefor almost all organized religion turns me off immediately. I just try to be a good person, that’s all.

    By the way, when you said “Be sure that the tenants that you were taught are true,” I believe you meant “tenets,” right? 😉

    Christopher Mast

    September 29, 2008 at 11:55 pm

  5. Thanks for the observation and I have a question here: Aren’t the ‘belief in God’ and the ‘belief in no-God,’ or more precisely religion in lieu of God (we may differ on what exactly God means here), all beliefs? My spirit, I tend to believe, grows more from understanding different beliefs, not necessarily agreeing though, than from adhering to a certain faith.

    galaxychorus

    September 30, 2008 at 3:41 am

  6. Galaxychorus writes:

    Thanks for the observation and I have a question here: Aren’t the ‘belief in God’ and the ‘belief in no-God,’ or more precisely religion in lieu of God (we may differ on what exactly God means here), all beliefs? My spirit, I tend to believe, grows more from understanding different beliefs, not necessarily agreeing though, than from adhering to a certain faith.

    You are correct in stating that they are all beliefs, and one of my pet peeves are those that claim that atheism isn’t a form of religion, for it a basis of beliefs as much as another religion on the planet with one exception.

    You are also correct in stating that knowing more about other belief systems can further your own growth. This is important for two reasons. First, it fosters a better understanding of our neighbors. Additionally, as we learn about other “systems,” we are often inspired to re-evaluate our own faith, and in turn grow as a person.

    qiranger

    September 30, 2008 at 6:23 am

  7. Christopher Mast writes:

    I believe there is SOMETHING, but that we monkeys don’t have the mental horsepower to understand what it is, therefor almost all organized religion turns me off immediately. I just try to be a good person, that’s all.

    I don’t think anyone in any religion can profess to know what God was thinking at any one moment in time or what the ultimate plan is. Individuals of faith can only read their scriptures and interprete the writings.

    As you’ve mentioned, this is where so many things have gone wrong over the years. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, there are three rules for scripture:

    * Take into context the surrounding passages.
    * Take into context the historical significance of when the passage was written.
    * Take into context the language in which it was written.

    Without doing that, how can we ever begin to understand what the author was thinking when they sat down to write?

    And you are right… most organized religion is corrupt and is more self-serving than serving.

    qiranger

    September 30, 2008 at 6:31 am

  8. Hey. I absolutely agree with the way you ended this article. It IS clinging to a label. I’m a Muslim myself, and I see the things you talk about here around me everyday. I’ve seen people open fasts with with alcohol, that’s about as bad as it can get.
    Enjoying your writing!

    Ibrahim

    October 2, 2008 at 11:53 pm


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: