Saturday , 20 July 2019

Belief Matters ………… or Not?


Belief Matters …. or Not?

Here at KaleidoScot, we’ve decided we would try out a new idea – to look at different Belief systems, Faiths, Traditions and Customs.

Alongside this, we may look at different forms of Spirituality and ways in which people connect with their inner souls or spirits.

Some of the questions we could try to address are as follows:-

1. How Beliefs or traditions affect our lives personally as members of the LGBTQI community.

2. Does our adherence to a Belief or Religious tradition affect how we live our lives?

3. How do the attitudes of other people within the Belief or Faith traditions influence their attitudes to us as members of the LGBTQI community?

There are many Faith groups, within which are many differing traditions and ways of expressing and interpreting those Faiths.

For example, in the UK –

Christianity has many denominations: Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Anglo-Catholic, Anglican, [Church of England, Anglican Church of America etc], Metropolitan Community Church, Scottish Episcopal, Methodist, Baptist, Free Church of Scotland, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Church of Scotland [Kirk and the “official National Church in Scotland], Unitarian, United Church, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints [Mormons], Jehovah’s Witnesses and Congregationalists and so on.

Some Faiths or Belief systems are less evident in Scotland, such as the Church of England and Anglo-Catholics.

A comprehensive, but by no means complete, list of Faiths and Beliefs represented in Scotland may be found on Wikipedia together with results from the 2001 and 2011 Censuses indicating peoples’ religious affiliations or non-affiliation.

There are several traditions within Judaism: Ultra-Orthodox Judaism, Lubavitch Judaism (Chabad), Orthodox Judaism, Conservative Judaism, Masorti, Reform, Liberal and Progressive forms of Judaism etc. – the Liberal and Progressive movements in Judaism are very positive to LGBTQI members. In fact, Liberal Judaism was the first movement within Judaism to create and publish a form of same-sex Marriage Ceremony or Service, namely their “Covenant of Love” prayer book for use at such ceremonies.

There are many people in Scotland who do not adhere to any particular religion or tradition: for example Secularist and Humanists. Paganism and Wicca are traditions which may also be found in Scotland.

Beliefs and Traditions known to be positive towards LGBTQI community and issues – as represented on a panel at the Scottish Youth Parliament to discuss LGBTQI matters in 2012/2013 – include the Metropolitan Community Church, Pagans, Liberal Jewish Community, Unitarian Church, Quakers and Humanists. Representatives from the Church of Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church and others also support us.

Each tradition has its own customs and ceremonies whilst adhering to the basic tenets of their Faiths: for Jews it is Torah (the Law) and the other books of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) made up of Torah (Law), Neviim (Prophets) and Ketuvim (Writings), such as the Psalms, Sayings of the Fathers and other books in the Jewish Canon; for Christians it is the Holy Bible which consists of the Old Testament and the New Testament, including the Psalms; for Muslims it is the Noble Qur’an (often referred to as the Holy Koran) and the Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Within Islam there are other traditions such as Sufi, Ahmadiyya Islam and the Bahai’s.

Other Faith traditions have their own individual Scriptures: Sikhs have their principal book, the Guru Granth Sahib – this book is also known as the First Guru or Adi Granth; Hindus have The Four Vedas and other Vedic Scriptures, such as the Rig Veda. There are two main types of Buddhism – Tibetan which uses a Collection of Tipitaka and Chinese Buddhism which uses the Tripitaka mainly made up of the Mahayana Scriptures. There are many other writings.

We have other traditions: the Druid tradition, Wiccan tradition, Pagan tradition and what may be called “Earth Traditions” people who revere Gaia and Mother Earth, Father Sky. There are many such beliefs which have their origins in Nature and the cycles of the seasons. So many Belief systems and Faith traditions have certain things in common. Not all believe in a God, a Supreme Being or Great Spirit but each one carries with it an inner spirituality which is what sustains people.

Many people do not have a “Personal God” or a traditionally-defined Faith but a form of Belief which is appropriate for them. Many people have a very deep and honest spirituality which shines out of them and we respect this. Some Faiths have many gods whilst others have none – each one is valid and to be respected by others.

In this series of articles we hope to explore some of these themes – we cannot cover all of them but we may give our readers a taste at least. We hope readers will enjoy!

About Rebekah Gronowski

Rebekah Gronowski
Rebekah is a Jewish campaigner for LGBTI rights, people with disabilities and other Human Rights issues, based in East Lothian. She has been a leading member at Sukkat Shalom, Edinburgh's Liberal Jewish Community, having been one of the founding members in the Community's early days. Rebekah is also member of 'Inclusion Scotland', an organisation for and run by people with disabilities. Co-Founder of the Scottish Rainbow Covenant for LGBT Jews in Scotland and a member of Rabbis for Human Rights, promoting peace and understanding between Palestinians and Jews. She is an Independent Interfaith Rabbi and Spiritual Minister, and was ordained in 2012. Rebekah has been very involved in Interfaith issues and has a particular interest in Ancient Near Eastern Religions and Earth Traditions.

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