Tuesday, August 11, 2009

home made religion...

just got back to hotel after performing with Mira Awad in Paola, Itlay. The concert was great. people were warm and receptive. the goal was to raisie money to re-build a church that had been destroyed by the earthquake in l'aquila.
i have mixed feelings.
on the one hand, i can commend the church of st. francesco de paola for making this effort. it is noble, on their part..and no doubt, san francesco was one of the 'good guys' of his genre, nature loving, modest, kind. but i can not help but wonder, would it not make more sense to use all that power and money to build a new school, orphanage, library, shelter for battered women or homeless people, rehabilitating clinic, etc etc etc...?

this brings us to my problem with religion.
first, it amazes me what an ENORMOUS amount of money and resources go into the maintenance and cultivation of the religious institutions wherever they may be, money that could go into making people's lives better...feeding, educating, healing...for a start. i mean, could it be that proportionally, churches, temples, mosques and synagogues are THAT much more important than schools, hospitals and museums?

then, it AMAZES me how much war, hatred, misogyny, prejudice , and violence is waged in the name if this or that religion. from the crusades to the Inquisition to 9/11 and the list us WAYYY long. fueled by fear and greed, religion will ever too often transform into a dark-hearted monster, evoking pandemonium, sweeping all it's believers along in the great flood.

for me, there is only one justification for the term god, and that is, if it is in direct correlation with the term LOVE. love, and with it, compassion, unity, fraternity, solidarity, benevolence, kindness, generosity, and so on and on and on, the heart's to-do list. love your brother as you love yourself.

and the question is asked: if these terms are universal, if they exist in every single human being's heart, if they are known to every mother nurturing her child, why then, do we need religion?

don't get me wrong. i can respect anybody's religious beliefs, UNTIL they tangle with morals and values that should be shared by all humanity. until they get ugly and violent and domineering and worse of all: self righteous. until they become the moral apron for hiding behind. until they separate the world into 'them' and 'us'. until they become dangerously judgemental. and so sadly, much too often, religion is the source of all of the above, where it should never be. it should be solely a source of hope, light, positive energy and solace.

recommended reading: 'the god delusion', by richard dawkins.
and/or check out the lyrics of a song i wrote called "home made religion", from the album "blue touches blue".

tomorrow ravello. a very beautiful place. we'll take it from there...

good night.


  1. Hi. Glad yet another concert went with a bang. Of course it did - it's Noa and Mira! But I agree with you about the church, although that church, by bringing Catholics together will - no matter what I as a Quaker think of them, with their often rather dogmatic beliefs - result in them doing good works in their community and raising money for charity from now into the future. This is what churches do. (Quakers, however, do not have churches or priests!).
    I thought your blog quite profound, especially paragraph 3 about the atrocities committed in the name of religion. But when you say, quite brilliantly: "religion will ever too often transform into a dark-hearted monster, evoking pandemonium, sweeping all it's believers along in the great flood", I had to ask: All believers? Not me, nor any of the other millions of believers who believe in a loving, forgiving, compassionate creator. Believers of all religions are changing, slowly (yes, too slowly!). Fanaticism is the cause of the world's pain, not religion. It permeates politics too, as you know too well in Israel. And fanatics use religion to justify their own hatred of life.
    I think this is where I part company with Richard Dawkins. In the book you mentioned, he seems, by assuming all believers are fanatical fundamentalists, to be throwing the baby out with the bathwater, the baby being the mystery of life, the spiritual aspects to our lives.
    And maybe instead of asking why do we need God, which is a perfectly valid question considering love already exists in the ways you said, we should ask: do we need a spiritual aspect to our live to try and explain the mystery of life? I say yes, yes and yes! By the way, maybe you'd be interested in an artist friend of mine who's an agnostic struggling to find a way to the spiritual. His website is www.modernreligiousart.co.uk. His work is amazing. The spaceman cradling the dead Christ on the first page is his. His 16-year-old son is a great fan of Dawkins!
    Have a great time in Ravello. Best wishes, Anne

  2. I love your Home Made Religion. Your spirituality shines through! But I've always known this from your music. I've sent the lyrics to my artist friend who's struggling with his own stuff. He relates to them. By the way, I read your tweets about Lourdes. They made me laugh. I have to admit, for once, even I can't find anything positive to say about Lourdes! Let me see. I know, maybe psychologically, it helps people who.... no, I can't, it's no use. Well, let's say, for instance, my younger sister. She had breast cancer six years ago. And she's well now, thakfully. But it was 'aggressive', so it can come back as secondary within 10 years. So, if it came back, God forbid, and she said she's going to Lourdes. Well, I would say, I'm coming with you! But then, as a Quaker, she would never say she's going to Lourdes. Or would she? Hmmm, even as a Quaker, I have so many questions! Glad you had such a fab time touring. But you must be so happy to be home! Keep well.

  3. I don't feel shoked for what you say in your post.... i think that men have also spiritual needs and not only material needs... Men it is not only brain and flesh. So, why not to re-built a church as well?



  4. Hi Noa, how great that you share youre deepest feelings with us. Your lirics made these questions very clear to me already. This is always THE Question. It led me have my own home religion, but after a period with troubles I found out that I want to have a group of people to talk to, about my questions.
    And now I'm part of a church, Its not perfect, but I'm not perfect too... I try to take the good stuff out of it and do good myself. See the world trough the eyes of Love... Also thank you Anne for your comment! Love and Light Marijke

  5. Are you serious "giacomo"???

    My conviction is that religions have much more to do with POWER and politics, than with spirituality. Two thousand years of history are there to prove it, and as stated above, the list of crimes perpetrated by and in the name of religions is WAYYY too long!

  6. Wow, i liked your words.
    I'm waiting you in Caulonia, i think will be a wonderful night of music :)