Religious Beliefs and Common Sense: There IS a Link!

Photo courtesy of Svadilfari, Flickr.com

By Julia Drewniak

It really doesn’t matter whether you believe in a higher power or not; sometimes what religions are preaching makes common sense. And as hard as it may be for Millennials to accept that we aren’t invincible (WHAT?!), it’s time for us to take a look at some world religions and see what they proclaim will help us live longer, happier, more fulfilling lives.

Religion: Mormonism
Belief:
Abstinence from alcohol, tobacco, coffee and tea.
Let’s start off easy. It may seem crazy to give up a lot of this stuff. I mean, I know plenty of young adults who can’t start off their day without their morning cup of brew/tea. But there’s of course plenty of medical evidence to back up how drinking/drugs aren’t exactly what should be going into the body either. Am I promoting that we should give it all up? No. But as Millennials working to discover ourselves and grow into happy adults, the most RESPONSIBLE way is to do everything in moderation. Just think before you do, because it’s gonna effect you somehow, either now or tomorrow, and the results may not be pretty.

Religion: Islam
Belief: Five Pillars: Faith, Prayer, Alms, Fasting, Pilgrimage
Let’s go one at a time with these pillars:
1. Faith – Again, you don’t necessarily have to believe in a higher power, but having someTHING (even a spaghetti monster in the sky) is always of great comfort in times of trouble.

2. Prayer – From personal experience, I find prayer/collecting my thoughts very relaxing. It could be as simple as turning off your car radio as you’re driving, or recounting the positives and negatives at the end of the day.

3. Alms - Especially with the holiday season in full swing, giving back is pretty big right now. But as George Clooney pointed out, why does giving only have to occur after a disaster or when it’s the “time to give?”

4. Fasting – This goes hand-in-hand with the last one. For the religious, fasting usually has special meaning. If you’re not, fasting can be a way for you to give alms. Give up a few “special treats” a few times a week and you could be saving the world. Plus, do you REALLY need those empty calories? Also, go and do a Google search and see all the free/easy ways to give back as well! This whole article was written using Google Chrome, and I’m working on giving books! Woo!

5. Pilgrimage - No matter how far you go in life, always remember where you came from and respect your past. Friends, even the closest ones, may come and go, but family is forever.

Religion: Catholicism (Christianity)
Belief: Abstinence Only Sex
Oh yeah, I’m sneaking this one in the middle. No matter how much protection you use while doing the deed, there is still a chance you could a.) Get pregnant, or b.) Get an STD. Yeah, there are fixes and special circumstances, but go out and watch Juno or Bella and you’ll see what good can come from a “bad mistake.” Or you can watch Teen Mom or Jersey Shore and see what a bad idea it is for Millennials to be “hooking up.” As a good friend of mine once said, “The only 100% protection is abstinence.”

Religion: Baha’i Faith
Belief: Hard work, education, work for social justice and equality
In order to get ahead in your chosen career, you must have the first two qualities; and because many companies now seek out “real caring people,” you must have the latter. Plus, doesn’t it feel GREAT to work hard and get what you want to achieve? Power to the Millennials? YES! Dear John Mayer: We are no longer “Waiting on the World to Change,” but rather doing it ourselves. Thanks!

Religion: Taoism
Belief: General attitude of detachment and non-struggle, “go with the flow” of the Tao. Pantheism – the Tao pervades all. Yin-yang – opposites make up a unity.
This one might be the toughest stretch, but I equate it all down to BALANCE. We live in a world constantly bombarded by media and immediacy. We spend so much time surrounded by media we must work to find that balance between being “on the grid” and “off” and taking that time to just shut down for a minute. So take that 30 minutes to close the laptop and close your eyes. Studies show that naps help make you more productive!

So, I call out to you, Millennials. Are you ready to open your mind and see that sometimes religion isn’t your “Papa Tryin’ to Preach,”  but really just some things that make common sense in general? I’m tellin’ you, it’s a pretty radical experience.

Next Great Posts labeled as Next Great are generally submissions by various contributors, whose information can be found within the text of the article. Next Great posts without author information are the collective effort of the editorial staff: Christine Peterson, Alex Pearlman and Edward Boches.

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9 Responses to “Religious Beliefs and Common Sense: There IS a Link!”

  1. Alex Pearlman

    I take huge issue with your idea that abstinence is common sense and the Church’s trying to indoctrinate their members to believe that abstinence is a good thing. It’s not. Sex is human nature. We are animals, at the end of the day, and sex is an important part of a balanced and healthy lifestyle. Preaching abstinence instead of safe sex only leads to the STDs and unwanted pregnancies that ruin lives. People are going to have sex, it’s as simple as that, and not having sex, repressing yourself and your energy is harmful.

    The same thing goes for the Mormon church’s abstinence from caffeine and alcohol. You say the common sense approach is moderation – but that’s not what the religion is based on. It’s based on repressing pleasure. Having a good glass of wine with dinner or a cup of tea on a rainy day isn’t a sin. And it’s certainly nonsensical to believe the doing so will somehow hurt your chances with god.

    While there are some common sense aspects to religion, such as the ten commandments, abstaining from pleasure is not one of them.

    Reply
    • Jessi Stafford

      My short and sweet response to this is 100% in agreement with Alex’s take on sexuality and freedom. Abstinence only education just evades the responsibility of taking precautions while being sexually active. And I know binge drinking, smoking or doing drugs is bad, but if I want to do those things, the consequences are on me. If I get cancer (extreme scenario here), my fault, but I don’t need a doctrine to tell me to lay off.

      Reply
  2. Caitlin Tremblay

    I 100% agree with Alex AND I am of the opinion that religion should be something you can BELIEVE in, not something your should have to worry about OBEYING.

    Reply
  3. Tom O'Brien :)

    LOL your Taoism is SO far off. “God” damn. This blog is pretty much creating more drastic memes than a religion would. You’re a journalist – be aware of the waves you make. But you’re kind of close so don’t feel too bad. Religion is a hard topic. Take nothing/everything personally.

    “Take another nap” is supposed to equal the enlightenment offered by understanding the awareness of Taoism? You’re basically spitting words like a religion right now. I’m trying not to be negative but…

    Religion is another form of art. And literally “believing” in any “rules” that are “taught,” means you’re taking power away from your own subconscious. You’re routing your decisions through an ego in order to think. Religion often provides the illusion of “know.”

    You need not route your conscious decision making through any ego, such as religion, or law, or family to understand what to do in life. Finding common sense in religion is kind of good and bad. You DO NOT want to do this because it causes tension between what is right – your desire to do (sex, caffeine, knowing answer to life) and what the ego of religion makes you think you should moderate or abstain from. Religion is good because it shows that lots of people want liberation – but it’s bad because they’re just feeding into illusions to make themselves happy. wah wah wah :/

    The oldest religions started from observing the sun – i.e, pondering the great question/ waiting for tomorrow’s sun. The sun perpetuates the schedule – waiting for tomorrow. This makes us lose the moment. We are always waiting. Waiting for success. Doing something now – for later. Not now for now. The moment is the answer. And we’re losing it every second.

    That’s why it’s easy to think that life is about moderation. That is something that is told in reflection. But that rather applies to someone who can’t appreciate the moment FULLY – EVERYTIME. I mean, hey, if you need to literally MODERATE your intake of things in order to not lose appreciation of them – you’re close – but not there. Kinda see what I’m saying?

    Life, rather, is about making decisions in the presence – “understanding” the moment fully. That means being supremely “aware” of what the moment is all about. Taoism provides an awareness of suffering as something that is neccessary and very real. In ourselves and around us. An awareness of one’s place among the suffering offers the treat of enlightenment. With all things in mind, only then can you make the right step forward.

    Proper life = an awareness of the potential waves of suffering and positivity in your every action, i.e, an action’s effect on yourself and others. This will provide enlightenment. Self = the true religion. Hey but good try and I like the voice of your writing!

    Reply

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