My view on religion has changed since I came to Ecuador. I finally figured religion out.
As a graduation requirement, I took three courses in religion. I learned much. In fact, I learned that my Catholic training has many loopholes. Add to that, all religious beliefs have loopholes, some are just richer than others.
Having practiced trial law I had a black female client who needed to escape the clutches of the mentally ill diagnosis that surrounded her. I knew I could convince a jury to find her not guilty. The testimony and evaluation of a psychologist found her delusional and in need of treatment. She claimed she did not hear voices and bggfed not to go to the mental hospital.
I knew this psychologist had said in a previous case that a clear sign of auditory hallucinations could be readily verified because the person turned their head to address the voice. So I had witnesses who all claimed she did not turn her head. I would finally best this doctor.
I presented the witnesses during this pretrial hearing. They said she looked straight ahead during the supposed auditory events. I put the doctor on the stand and reminded him of his earlier statement about head turning and auditory hallucinations. He agreed.
Because of the pretrial rules, or lack thereof, the psychologist asked the judge if he could clarify my question by asking the witness a few questions. I objected. I got what I wanted. He had plenty of time to evaluate the witness beforeY no need to subject my client to open court evaluation.
The judge loved this psychologist and said, “This is a pretrial hearing and knowing the doctor’s reputation for honesty and accuracy I am interested in his findings.”
What about me? I served my client well and you don’t give me kudos.
The doctor reminds my client of their earlier evaluation. She giggles at some references he makes to things she said. Then he asks, “Remember when you heard those voices telling you to do things?”
“Why didn’t you turn your head toward the voice?”
“Because Jesus said, ‘Don’t turn your head child when I’m talking to you.'”
Bested again. Everyone laughed, including the judge. He sent my client for mental health services and took the psychologist into chambers where I am sure they had a good laugh. I’m not bitter.
This leads me to the topic of religion.
If you asked me the reason I came to Ecuador today I would say, “freedom of religion.”
You would counter that I came from the U.S. where freedom of religion is a right. It used to be. You see my definition of religion has broadened. A religion to me is ANY belief in something you can’t prove. The issue in the States, currently, is any belief outside the total acceptance of the progressive liberal thought is open to ridicule. The ridicule is bad enough but the media, the name calling, the misinformation does not allow you freedom but rather condemnation.
Since my entry into Ecuador I have encountered Shamans and a variety of healers. In a country that is 97% Catholic, the ex par community believes in a variety of things. I say things because I don’t know how to classify them
The Ecuadorian culture lives off of fear. Since I believe they only received seven of the ten commandments (missing 6.7, 8 –look them up you heathens) they have to somehow absolve their transgressions.
They blame others. They have a scapegoat for every issue. They care little for proof or rights they just need someone to blame.
The ex pats have varied religions. Religion as defined by me above. They believe in Shamans, healers, massage therapists, energy fields, different ways to adhere to God and a wide scope of searching for higher power.
I am truly in awe of the different beliefs the expats bring here. They have beliefs that can only exist if they blame someone. They blame the government they came from, they blame political parties, they blame the blacks and the gays (only not so much). But they never answer the big question — so where does your belief take you after you die?
I recently got an answer from a man who said he has followed the Bible faithfully and will fit the criteria necessary for heaven. I challenged him on his belief on homosexuality. He gave me several Biblical citations about this “abomination.” As I attempted to discuss the 16, 800 known discrepant translations from the original Bible, I believe in Greek, (he didn’t know either), he got angry with my deviled temptation. But he and his Bible friends knew they followed the road less traveled.
Lest you think I am anti-religious, I have several friends who believe in energy. (Apparently the only people who understand energy work for General Electric or similar agencies.) I digress.. My energy friends first know very little about energy, each has a differing opinion of how they will be transformed and all state that I don’t understand because my mind is closed. They say that science has clouded the receptors to my energy field or chi or cha or some such thing. Then to validate their belief they cite scientific studies. Albeit pseudo science.
The belief in a political party is a religion. You believe that the people you elect have your welfare in mind. First, you were forced to choose between two people that you would never have chosen in the first place. The local grocer had better ideas. Secondly, the party only exists because it has something to push against — the other party. The thing about each party is that your rationality must be checked at the door. Another blog, another day.
I had only one question for them, “When you have these beliefs, do you turn your head?”