When I woke, because it is Sunday, I thought about religion as I saw it as a child. Our Church of England did a lot for the young. It had a full gamut of Scouting with a band, girl guide troops, and there were lectures every Wednesday evening for the young with a religious content, and we pretty well believed what we were told. It stopped when I discovered the rector did not practise what he preached. See The Religious Round’ which describes this instance. We enjoyed one other thing, the Church had a full peal of bells which rang out every Sunday calling the parish to prayer. Those bells had the most beautiful sound and have stayed with me for the rest of my life.
I have a strong visual imagination, and see things in the round, like looking at an oil painting. In those early days I was highly religious, went to Sunday school and church, where our rector and all the other instructors were very insistent on Heaven, and hell. I imagined heaven as it was depicted in oil paintings with everyone dressed in a white flowing gowns sitting about. My problem was that I had been told this went on from the dawn of time, that Peter stood at the gate and checked your passport, and there was some deadline determining entry, but I failed to see how all these burgeoning generations could be accommodated, and why we were not told the limiting factors that denied our entry. I also believe that subconsciously I felt it was unfair for all the other religions to be debarred.
Those were times when people didn’t question anything that they were told, by people whose standing and education gave them the authority. It is only when you become adult and well read that you begin to question the damage that has been done in the name of religion, to all those indigenous tribes and nations, many of which are now misusing their religions as a political excuse for material gain. Perforce, people today are ever more questioning. Religion is a very personal philosophy upon which many people depend on for various reasons, and especially in later life. The basic tenets of religion are sound policies for communal living, I feel it’s just a pity that at this time, when we are so materialistic, and to some extent irreligious, that there is not a viable alternative that will catch the imagination, uphold these values, and have sufficient influence to deter, in a way that religion once had.
I miss the sound of those bells, all those things that religion stood for and have been set aside because they don’t stand up to critical examination. The problem is that the human psyche, whether it is aware of it or not, does not want existentialism, but some power, of an unworldly nature, to answer the imponderable questions, and while religion in all its forms is adequate for the many, those who seem to have power and influence, may give token service to religion, but in fact are really materialistic with their own agenda, that often bodes ill.