Faith or Ideology – Checking Personal Morality

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Gary L. Clark is an author. After a thirty year career he retired to write a novel. He then joined a counselor-in-training program at the local community mental health center and worked three years as a substance abuse counselor. He retired again and has written two more novels. He recently completed the annotation of a self-help book on faith-based self-help. Two published novels (available on address social justice. Mr. Clark is the Editor of He lives in St. Joseph, Missouri.

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Faith or Ideology – Checking Personal Morality

This guy “Francis, Pope” made some comments recently regarding Christian ideology.  He must be famous or something because the internet is frying cables in dispensing his remarks.  Who he is is not as important was what he said.  I believe that words and ideas stand alone, regardless of who conjured them. Mr. Francis said something about Christianity being subverted when used as an ideology.  His thoughts bear thoughtful consideration.  This shift from faith to ideology is not uncommon.  It is almost natural in the course of human events.  This mental trickery has not served organized religion well.

This distortion of faith into personal morality is perhaps the singular most devastating process in the history of mankind.  Many people make broad statements like “Religion is the greatest excuse for War in history”.   What they are really saying is that an idealized faith, distorted with municipal values, is the source of conflict.  And they are correct.

What can we say to the man who claims moral superiority based on his personal revelations from God?   When idealized morals are equated with a particular faith system then there is no discussion.  The faithful will proclaim that their God can not be questioned.  But the problem is that the faithful do not realize how they have injected their personal values into their God’s message.  They only claim to be following God.  Sadly, they are so entrenched in their pseudo-faith that they cannot be dissuaded.  If such a person is reading this the hairs on the backs of their necks is bristling.  If you are reading this and feel threatened, feel angry, feel fearful – then you might be a candidate for reconsideration of your faith values.

The metal process of associating one’s family or geographic values with faith is not uncommon – we cannot stress this enough.  We are not saying a person is a fool for mixing values – we are only saying that the distortion of faith is common and must be guarded against.   This strikes at the heart of the difference between religion and spirituality.  Dogmatic, unyielding, and judgmental processes are rarely spiritual – but they are often religious.

For this reason we must always question our faith.  We must be vigilant about letting our personal hopes and dreams interfere with our faith.  We must be vigilant about letting our long held morals override our faith.  Faith is a slippery slope – be careful!

Pope Francis should be allowed to speak for himself.  Check this out:

Cool.  We should understand more about the meaning of ‘ideology’ before we can assess his comments.

From the internet (wisegeek):

“……ideology tends to refer to the way in which people think about the world and their ideal concept of how to live in the world. This is slightly different from philosophy in the sense that ideology encompasses the concept that one’s ideals are the best way….

“Philosophy on the other hand may examine the way ideology affects others from a more distant perspective. Philosophy however may become ideology when a philosopher sets forth ideal concepts for the way people should live. Plato’s Republic, for example, is his ideology of the best way to proceed in life.

“The term ideology also may be used to describe the shared beliefs of a group of people, for example a nation, a sect of a religion, or a group of theorists. The term was most likely coined first by the French philosopher, Count Destutt de Tracy, who used the term in the 1700s to describe the more specific definition of the science of ideas”

From an internet dictionary:


[ahy-dee-oluh-jee, id-ee-] Show IPA

noun, plural i·de·ol·o·gies.


the body of doctrine, myth, belief, etc., that guides an individual, social movement, institution, class, or large group.

such a body of doctrine, myth, etc., with reference to some political and social plan, as that of fascism, along with the devices for putting it into operation.
Those darn details, such as definitions, seem to come up regularly when trying to understand complex thought.  But words are important, and the meaning of words carries the day.

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