I've been a Methodist my entire life. And while I know that many people in the scene feel at least somewhat religious towards raving and it's lifestyle, it is far from being an organized one. I mean there is no clear sharing of similar beliefs, ideas, or moral opinions. Oh shure, there are a couple of things that are shared, like a belief in living with Peace Love Unity & Respect, or that blacklites are pretty cool, and Underground Dance Music rules, but that's far from being a complete religion. What do I mean by "complete religion"? Every major religion that I can think of has a belief about how/why the world came into being, how/why human beings showed up, specific do's and don'ts, ect. There are exceptions, of course. I can't really say I know much about Scientology (except that they hate newsgroups), for example. Or remote religions like Balinese or Confucianism.
I do wish that Christianity would in some ways be more accepted into Raving
culture. Often I see Buddhist or Hindu or some other "eastern" religion's
art at a party. I guess this is because because Christianity has in the
past been the most visible religion for people in this country and eastern
religions in general have a more open attitude about altered states, sex,
I think that part of the reason Christianity is not incorporated into raves is that as an organized religion it has a history of repression and exclusion. Repression of many of the more villiage centered tribal religions (by wiping them out or replacing pagan ceremonies with Christian ones), witch burning (which is about repression of womens knowledge). Exclusion: there is a tendency for christianity to mark a line believe in christ and those who don't. a line while historically has been used to say basically who is thought of as human and who are not. In addition, much of christianity is based on having the priest as the intermediary between the lay person and God. I know that for many of the protestant religions this does not stricly hold, but there still seems to be something of that attitude among many of the people.
The eastern religions (mysticism, really- and this may really be the key point) are a bit more about self-discovery. In addition, they tend to be a bit more about the "here and now" rather than focusing on the afterlife. Thus eastern mysticism is genrrally a process of enlightenment and it deals with many thinhgs which are not generally discussed in our culture. Mainly, I am thinking of the conception of our bodies and souls as energy. They also highlight the "oneness" and connectedness of us all, which makes sense when thinking about dancing and the group collective energy that flows at the rave and beyound.
Raves are these little mini-tribal experiences and they have that mixture of life and mysticism rolled up in the event. So the eastern religions (and tribal religions) with the emphasis on sprituality as an aspect of living day to day life speak a bit more directly to what a rave is all about. Whereas with Christianity, where much of the spiritual experience is reserved for the afterlife, it misses speaking to some of the magic of the rave. (O.K. this previous passage is quite vague and sloppy- so sorry if you don't know what I am talking about). Finally one last point reguarding *magic*: Christianity has tended to view much of this as being somewhat sinister and from the devil, thus a bit suspect. While, the eastern (and tribal) religions/mysticisms tend to connect it to our very life force. Talking about Chakras, transcendentalism, Chi and the like. More of a natural mystery to be explored - the way we are- instead of good or bad. You know?
I really believe that Christ was a pretty amazing person/diety/budda. What he supposedly had to say is very powerful and really fits right in with the eastern religions/mysticism. Especially his message of love-- intense stuff when you really think about it. Fits in with PLUR as well. But people read Christ's words with many different interpretations-- look to the relatively new school of revisionist theology, who ask WHAT did Christ REALLY say to the stereotyped Southern Baptist who tend to follow a more literal take on the Bible. But the organized religion of Christianity has a pretty poor track record over history of truly promoting this message of universal love. So many of the symbols of the church are apt to be very loaded symbols.
Peace, Understanding, and
Personally I believe Raving is about unity, and therefore should has no conection to contempary religions which tend without exception to be divisive. The whole point (for me at least) is to get away from differences between us.
For example, laying on the partys free, so that it is not just for those with cash.... OOPS drifting to another topic.
While Dancing and experiencing a party, I feel that we are able to get away from the need to invent gods and spirits and relate to each other instead. I think that the deitys that are defined in the various religious texts are not really refering to another great organism, but the great power of a collective group of people.
Raving for me is the greatest way yet to get people to believe in a group larger than a small circle of friends.
[[[-------- Rob Coles --------]]]
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