Posted: 03 January 2011 at 7:04am | IP Logged
Originally posted by return_to_hades
The question caught my attention at the mall yesterday. Although related to God and religion, this topic is not intended much to be about God and religion - more so about faith and appearance. This question was on the poster advertising a church. It is one of those questions that instantly sparks curiosity. So I went up and read the entire poster. Here is what it said.
Outward appearances often don't reflect what's going on in someone's heart and life. This is an age old problem, even as Jesus walked the earth. Many dressed the religious part but were rotten on the inside. Jesus called these people "hypocrites" (Matthew 23:27-28). Maybe you think Christianity and church are scams because you've experienced this hypocrisy. I apologize on behalf of Christians. In addition, maybe you feel as if your appearance or past excludes you from God's love.
But please, don't give up on God just yet! I want to invite you to check out epikos church and hear what Jesus taught, lived for, and died for. I invite you to be part of a church where we recognize that all of us are dependent on the grace and hope offered through Jesus Christ.
So come as you are, No need to dress up or hide your tattoos'
The poster was for Epikos Church: http://epikos.org/index.php
No matter what religion you are, most likely you have had to follow a "dress code" for religious events or religious places. You have also probably seen whispers, gossip, murmurs, frowns and nasty looks being cast upon people who do not follow this "dress code". One school of thought is that this is a religious place/event. It is something that commands respect and reverence. People ought to dress with dignity and modesty to reflect that. It is a fair school of thought that has its own merit.
However, I think stringent application of such "dress codes" and looking down on people who look/dress differently actually alienates good people from faith. Its not a veil over the head or a short skirt that represents faith or lack of, its whats within. Its whether one is well dressed or sports spiky hair and tattoos, but how one conducts themselves that is important. Faith has no "dress code" and is reflected in actions - not clothes.
So what do other people feel about the expectations of stringent dress codes related to faith and worship. Is it right or does it defeat the purpose of faith?
Religious places and events hold a lot of meaning for certain people and it is important to try to uphold the sanctity of the environment merely out of respect for others' feelings. Some of those people might be hypocrites and only comply with the outward aspects of faith. But those that enter the environment with genuine beliefs deserve their dressing regulations to be followed. A library may have readers who aren't really there to read, but we still ought to maintain silence for those that are there to read. Similarly, covering the head in a gurdwara or going barefoot in a mandir are simple dressing regulations to which everyone should adhere. Modest dressing is a gray area and it is a call that everyone should be allowed to take for themselves: a girl turning up in a bikini at a mosque should expect raised eyebrows, just as she would for dressing like that to a friend's wedding reception.