It is amazing what you stumble across quite accidentally sometimes. This evening, in a fit of boredom, I flicked on the television and randomly hopped through the channels to see what's on, something I rarely do. In fact, catching me watching television at all is pretty difficult. But tonight, I stumbled across an absolutely fascinating documentary based on a tribe in the wilderness of Gabon and their religious practices. The contrast with civilisation as we know it is incredible; there might as well be no comparison at all. I'm sure even the slowest people grasp that tribal life deep within African jungles is much different to life in the West, but I don't know if many people see beyond the superficial differences. It's not just that they don't have electricity or running water or MP3 players, but in a materialistic society like ours, it seems some people (and I'd say this happens to all of us at some point or another) fail to see beyond the possessions and don't notice the cultural differences or how other societies work. Not being a particularly social person, I'm not one to lament that most places in the West don't have the same local unity, but if there is one thing I feel that is starkly lacking from our society today, it is a sense of co-operation and harmony. I can't say I'm a particular fan of the competitive impulses I observe here, at least outside of the sporting field. There's a time and a place for competition, and that time and place does not involve treading other people under foot in a drive for self-seeking glory.
I also think it's amazing how you can find truth in unexpected places. It saddens me to see a lot of people in both Christianity and other religions are far too quick to dismiss other faiths as wholly incorrect or of little value. Different cultures have different experiences and they're all relevant, and I also find it fascinating to see what concepts appear in wholly dissimilar cultures - for example, this particular tribe on the documentary had a concept of rebirth that was so similar to the Christian concept of rebirth that if you'd only seen that part of the documentary, you could've very easily thought you were watching a programme on Christian theology. There is such an appalling measure of disrespect in writing off the lessons of other faiths, and I don't just mean disrespect to the other faiths either, but to yourself and your own beliefs too, because you're only depriving yourself.
Well, there's my ramblings on society and religion for today. I don't think I've done that for a while.