Religious Belief vs Universal Belief

Got an interesting link from Ubuntu planet. [1] It's about two different churches with different path. To take a short, there was a church that glares on the poster because of his outfit (blue jeans, long hair, and t-shirt) when he comes to the church. The church have people wearing formal outfit and with "good" look. The other one, on the contrary, is a church with 60 people and having non-formal wearing. Even the pastor use the same outfit as the poster.

They both embrace the Bible. Yet, they differ in social life. Why the both of the church have different views?

The short answer is because of different experience of the church leaders.

Many, even in Indonesia, churches have comes with tight culture and holds traditional values that their founder have planted. The leaders of that church usually get their views from the dogmatic revelation of the previous leaders. The thinking doesn't evolve, no, they even don't dare to cross the line of values that the previous leaders have planted.

In "The Messenger", Milla Jovovich as Jean d'Arc, was burnt down by the church law under the pressure of England. At the time, it was unproper if a women dressed with man outfit. With the accusing of heresy, Jean was convicted with high treason against the law of church. There was a gap between men and women and any traditional value. The church at that time is canonize from ages of old civilization.

Now, consider today's trend. Men tends to wear women dress and vice versa. I even sometimes hardly distinguish of people, which are men which are women and which are .... Furthermore, these added with the clashing culture, east meet west, southern meet western, and many more, creating a new global culture, sadly, under the banner of consumerism and in the spirit of globalization.

The social revolution also started when the Industry Revolution creating new society of worker class. The modern working men and women having rat race made them revolutionize the way of family. Traditionally, people usually life in the big family consists from grandfather to grandchildren. Now, we have satellite family with a parent and (optionally) children.

These condition creating new perception in society, but something is true: people are lonely now.

So, what is the link of what I've just write above with the thing that I want to say?

Traditional church leaders are not aware with these facts. They have a stable community, generation per generation. They have traditionally linked themselves with many culture and have stagnant development. In software world, they are in maintaining mode. The ABI is freeze and no feature request will be executed.

A modern church leader once told that he was thinking that the remote, secluded of Papua tribe is a lost tribe. But then, he thought again and found out that there was a lost tribe that need to be evangelized. The young generation! They are not to be found in church, mosque, vihara, etc but in malls and theme park. Wandering with lost mind with modern culture.

The modern leader is actually being able to experience, to be able to live in what we call now a modern society. To find their ways in the culture and see where the humanity falling. They take the context of the Bible into the modern concept and seek to fit the modern culture with the message of The Bible.

They would turn any canonical ways of churches with new implementation. Many modernist would compromised with what yesterday's prohibited act as an okay action. One of the big changes like the compromised of clothing, church songs, and sermons.

How would I view that?

Well, AFAIK, Jesus was a great humanist (of course He is my Saviour and Lord, but that's a different story). His great teaching is probably in the Matthew 5 which inspired Gandhi. The teaching is about human should act as human, show humanity to each other. That this life is not for oneself but to share with everyone. So, human should stay human, not homo ho mini lupus.

I would not say that a religion is 100% of their founder idea. Many of those idea was implemented from other idea of the past. Of course, each religion would have their own idea and add spicy to things.

The liturgy of early Christians was canonized based on the liturgy of old religion, preferably the Jew zealots of Jesus' disciples which influenced by Jew's synagogue. Later after the bishop of Roma consider himself as Pope, the Christian moved into European culture. Latin became the language of the church.

After the 15th century reformation, many churches goes into modification. The 95 statements of Martin Luther change the way church narrate themselves. They would open some rules like pastor may have a wife and some fundamental dogmatic teaching like the position of Mother Mary and the definition of saints. One of the big change is the creation of Bible in English known as King James version of the Bible.

Now, how about in Indonesia?

When Nomensen brought the Christianity to Batak tribe, he then made some changes in canon, which use the Bataknese language. Catholic church assimilate their canon with local culture, like in Java and in Papua. The influence of African-American in church denomination also creates the gospel/soul music which influence the modern church. The reformation usually introduce new way of canon even from the early Christianity. [2]

And the list of innovation go on...

So, there is a different between time to time on church teaching. But, the essential remains the same. Even the fundamentalist were considered experimental and considered as heresy in their first time. As they grow old and have many believer, they are considered as conservatives.

Don't you think all religion like that?

As the part of Indonesian people, I believe we have a lot of differences, not just between religions but also religious factions. They held their respective view based on each experiences. Sometimes the conservatives get flamed by the reformators that see a problem from different great view.

How would you see this world?

This is not a black and white painting, this is a mural painting.


Hmm.. kok bukan jadi tulisan rohani. Wakakak... kebanyakan nulis humanisme jadi lupa nulis buat rohani, deleting rohani from label. :D


  1. boy, i'm always amazed by the way you see things, comprehensive yet simple that makes it understandable. great article jep.


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