The International Fellowship of Chivalry-Now

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Chivalry-Now and Religion

Chivalry-Now, in order to be relevant for all men, cannot purposely align with or endorse any religion. Agnostics, atheists and humanists can all be welcomed and honored for sharing a mutual quest for truth.
      That being said, Chivalry-Now is capable of playing an especially supportive role for the religious mind, especially in regards to morality.
      Every religious tradition rightfully concerns itself with moral issues. This is evident in a variety of scriptures, writings and stories about saints and holy people.
      But the basic nature of religion is concerned with more than just morality. Its primary concern is to establish a mode of relationship between believers and the divine. Morality is part of that, of course, but the religious perspective usually focuses on establishing and maintaining that relationship. Because of this, God often becomes the reason for moral behavior, and leading an exemplary life.
      When this happens, some of the validity of moral ideas, true and valid in themselves, is not only glossed over, but even replaced. The validity is there, make no mistake about it. It merely gets lost when held against the God/believer relationship.
      Religions tell us that a pure heart is pleasing to God, who considers sin an abomination that is worthy of hell. Sin separates us from the divine. It is the task of religion to repair that connection. How? Some traditions describe heavenly reward for the righteous (i.e.; people of faith), and hellfire for just about everyone else. Those that believe in reincarnation speak about karma, or nirvana, and the struggle to attain higher consciousness.
All these traditions recognize the full value of moral action, but their means to reconnect with the divine tend to supersede that value in the minds of many believers.
It comes down to this: shall I act rightly toward my neighbor because it is right to do so? Or because it pleases God and may help me avoid eternal punishment? Which of these choices is more genuinely moral?
Scripture tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves (which answers that question unequivocally, unhampered by threats), or for doing good things on behalf of God, rather than our neighbor's need. It is easy to find ourselves thinking more about ourselves and the possibility of eternal rewarded. Moral acts without moral intent implicitly disregards the authenticity of the act.
Helping my neighbor in order to win points with God is decidedly different than doing it out of love, kindness or respect. The impetus does not come from our hearts, but from fear, from selfishness. Where there is fear, good, clean morality usually recedes.
Another example: We are told to forgive so that we may be forgiven. Theologically, this makes perfect sense, but to most people the threat is implicit. Do we forgive others out of fear, because God demands it? Is real forgiveness even possible under such conditions?
This scriptural mandate, quoted as is, puts us in a bind. The moral dynamics of forgiveness break down when they are not genuine, a willing act of compassion toward the offending party. To repair this situation, we have to come to grips with forgiveness for what it is, a moral dynamic. That means freeing it from the restraints of reward and punishment. How else can it be real and not just forced behavior?
Chivalry-Now can help with this. It concerns itself with moral action in and of itself. It can serve as a supplemental approach to just about any religious tradition to help explain the reasonableness of moral virtue.
rying to relate with the infinite is naturally overwhelming for our finite minds. Chivalry-Now presents moral explanations that are down to earth, examining values for what they are in and of themselves. This is not surprising, considering the impact that religion had on chivalry's earlier development. The code's moral and spiritual aspects merged with a warrior tradition that was simple, realistic and applicable to everyday life.
Chivalry-Now does not challenge the completeness of any religious tradition. It merely provides a different perspective that illustrates their moral teachings on a very human level. This can only enrich the spiritual experience of the believer, while offering bridges of connection between us all.


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