The Non-Religious Religion

I went to a meditation class last night. I’ll tell you one reason why I love the Buddhists so much: They don’t proselytize. Ever! If you want to learn how to meditate or learn about Buddha’s teachings, you have to seek it out. You have to ask to be taught.

The Christian and Muslim lunatic fringe have a frighteningly dissimilar mandate. They want everyone on the planet to convert to their belief system. It’s a matter of life and death. The Christians condemn you to hell if you don’t and the Muslims want to blow you off the face of the earth. I’m only referring to the violent minority of these two religions, but they exist.

Have you ever heard of a sect of maniac Buddhists monks who will threaten your life (or afterlife) if you don’t convert? Of course not. In fact, they say that using meditation in conjunction with your already existing belief system will enhance your spiritual journey. (I can’t stand that phrase. Spiritual journey. It sounds too flaky and new age-y but I can’t come up with a better one at the moment.) There’s never a suggestion that you should abandon your faith.

I admire the Jews for the same reason. They don’t threaten you if you don’t convert to Judaism. In fact, there are some hardcore Jews who want to kick a lot of Jewish people OUT of the faith because they’re not Jewish enough! Reverse proselytizing.

* * *

I had some time to kill before class so I popped into the Public Library on 42nd Street and 5th Avenue—the one with the marble lions out front—for an Art Deco Design exhibit.


It’s a small but really beautiful show. On display are books, photographs, fabrics, prints and architectural plans all created between 1920-39. What a beautiful era for design! Compare this stuff with the crap that was created in the 70s.


Fun fact: the term “Art Deco” wasn’t coined until 1968.

* * *

Before class I had a very un-Zen like double Whopper with cheese. I choose not to adhere too strongly to one ideology. While sitting in an orange plastic booth enjoying my greasy fries, a pretty girl who was visiting from Brazil came up to me with an open map and asked for directions to the subway. I happily obliged but I think I might have burped a noxious cloud of beef essence in her direction.

9 thoughts on “The Non-Religious Religion

  1. if you hadn’t spewed “essence of grilled cow” on her, it wouldn’t have given her the true NYC experience, would it?trust your instincts and gaseous emissions, Grasshopper 🙂

  2. Buddhist monks have attacked other religions in Sri Lanka and Nepal. They are probably just violent fanatics just like the other religious extremists are though.I admire the Jewish people also, but I’d point to the legacy of Jewish violence in the middle east.Every religious conflict seems to have wack jobs in every corner.In my opinion spirituality is good/organized religion bad.

  3. I LOVE that public library – must you keep visiting all my favourite spots – you’re making me so nostalgic for nyc.didn’t know how new the term ‘art deco’ was. thanks for the info

  4. daisy & pearl: That’s true! I can be the New York story she takes back to Brazil with Correct on all accounts! Now that you mention it, I DO remember hearing the renegade monk stories. I stand corrected. I also concur with your assessment of organized religion. Have you been poking around inside my brain?Nurse: C’mon down! NYC is waiting for you.

  5. Nurse-If you ever make it to NYC you must have Unbearable take you around. Our first time there he woke us up in the wee morning…put us on a subway and would not tell us where we were going. It was the most amazing journey we had. Since my hubby is into photography he got the most amazing pictures of the Brooklyn Bridge at sunrise. A time spent we will forever treasure. MT

  6. I have been attending a “fundamental Bible-believing” Baptist Church for at least three years now…Our pastor seems to be a rationally thinking (He graduated as a mechanical engineer and worked for Hughes Aircraft company), but sometimes he can be really annoying…esp. when it comes to baptising supposedly “new believers”. For example, I have been wanting to get baptised since day one, but every time I see him, he claims that I am not a “true” Christian/Baptist. He seems to stress that I must make some serious sacrifices before baptism. You would think that Baptists would want to keep or recruit more followers, but instead their ideology seems to practice sacrifice and “moderate” living. I am a moderate, but I’m starting to question how much I have to sacrifice…how can I break away from this kind of “obligation”?

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