Posted: 05 January 2011 at 8:34am | IP Logged
Originally posted by return_to_hades
I think there is a fine line between blatant disrespect towards a belief and having a questioning outlook towards certain beliefs. The problem that occurs is when a group of people determine based on their genuine beliefs that other people should be excluded from worship or are below religious standards. While turning up at a place of religious worship in a bikini is scandalous to one extreme - many religious groups are guilty of being judgmental to the extreme. There is a serious problem in faith when someone who is not necessarily disrespectful, but has a minor difference of perception has to feel excluded from faith or that their faith is not good enough. Irrational stringency in faith and these faith based dress codes is what pushes many youth or skeptics away from faith and some into the other extreme form of rebellion.
"I think there is a fine line between blatant disrespect towards a belief and having a questioning outlook towards certain beliefs."
I would present the dichotomy differently: religion versus tradition, where modesty is the principle preached by religion and ethnic or formal clothing is the traditional practice.
A religious environment rightly requires decency and other marks of respect (such as going barefoot or covering the head) from visitors. But to extend that to demand formal, traditional or ethnic clothing is superfluous. Adhering to Hindu religious requirements is not the same as adopting Indian culture and outfits. As Dia's experience tells us, her mandir has no problem with her dressing in skinny jeans and a top when she's rushing back from uni - what matters is that she is decently dressed, not Indianly dressed.
As you say, it is problematic when religious people get more involved in the cultural trappings of their religion and shun those who have genuine beliefs but do not dress, eat or speak in the "appropriate" way. The Epikos Church is doing a good job by highlighting this contrast between religion and culture. Jesus, if he was alive today, would not need to dress like a monk to lead a virtuous and decent life. He'd be fine in jeans.
Sikhism and Islam, however, seem to have a dress code as part of their religious -not cultural- requirements. My knowledge of these religions is very limited but if the fact is that Sikhs are supposed to leave their hair uncut and if Islam requires women to cover all but their face in public, then those requirements are just as much part of the religion as any other preaching. In that case the religion should not relax its rules just to avoid driving people away from faith. The religious community should be honest about its dress code and justify it as well as it can.
Edited by xobile - 05 January 2011 at 8:50am