14 July 2009

Cultural or Religious Training?

I think that when preparing yourself for real-world interaction, you need to consider two things. One, what people are trained to do/ think; the other what the average person in that profile will probably do/ think. For instance, I grew up Catholic. We were a typical Catholic family: went to mass on Sunday, ate fish on Friday during Lent, went to confession every quarter or so... Then there are more devout, orthodox Catholics who actually don't use birth control, go to mass on the saint's days; know what the Pope says about stuff, really believe that the bread and wine turn into flesh and blood... and actually (try to) work their way into heaven by doing what real Catholic law says you have to do.

That difference is what I'm mentioning here: The difference between the average Muslim and the more religiously devout Muslim. I read an intriguing article in World magazine about the Muslim principle of taqiyya ("sanctified hypocrisy," or "guard, as in guarding oneself against unbelievers, which can include lying to them or deceiving them.")

Read the whole article, by Mindy Belz, HERE.

One thought I had was to wonder if this is so ingrained as a cultural element, instead of a religious element... Have you ever been in a foreign country and spotted another American? We walk like we own the street. Even if they aren't wearing floral jams, black socks, sandals, with a fanny pack, baseball cap, and a camera, they don't fit in because they walk so confidently. As if their culture told them "anyone can be president in America" their entire life. So read the article, and tell me what your thoughts are.