To blindly follow traditions without question is absurd. Tradition is who we were, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it is who we will become. Oftentimes, there are many religious, cultural, and social traditions that we’ve followed without question for centuries because it has always been done that way. If someone questions the status quo, they are branded a traitor or deemed not true to their roots. I find this in my culture, where many Hmong people think that if you question something, you are denigrating who we are as a people. If so, are we not allowed to question anything just because someone feels threatened by it? Growing up in a Christian household, I was taught never to question the wisdom of God, even if he instructs Abraham to kill his son. Why would I follow such a God as this without being able to question why? We have to realize that we don’t lose who we are by questioning, but that we can grow because of it.
Others may think it as blasphemy to question these long-held beliefs, but I think if you are not able to question a religious organization, it is merely a cult. If you are not allowed to question cultures, you are part of a regime. I see many people who spout Christian rhetoric that God is all mighty and not to be questioned. If he instructs you to kill your son, you kill your son because you are his servant. If there was an actual being who instructed these terrible things and rewarded you because of them, I may follow them simply to be rewarded. However, that is not the case. The case is that humans take this logic and make followers of that religion sheep. They must follow the word of God because a human is his mouthpiece. If they question the logic, they are cast out because they are unworthy. That is what these beliefs can be used for. In cultural situations, people are threatened by questioning because they feel as if their whole being is brought into question, so they state that no questions should be asked. And they continue to follow arcane traditions because they don’t want the balance of power to shift.
When culture and religion intersect, it can become a powerful tool to wield over the masses. You can see this in genital mutilation. Some religious sects have done it for years and may not even know why they do it anymore. Culturally, if you refuse to follow this act, you are challenging your whole past and the elders who came before. You can also see this in the polygamous Mormon sects in Utah. They use both to hold their followers to a system that only benefits the elder males in the society. Some the of the elder males may not even enjoy or understand the system, but it is simply ingrained as part of their heritage. When you break these things down, you see it comes down to power. Genital mutilation is the act of cutting off a woman’s sexuality. It allows the men of the village to have power over the bodies of girls and women through their sexuality. This particular polygamous Mormon sect allows for the men of the religion to have power over the relationships and bodies of girls and women through their submissiveness before God.
You may choose to believe in God or you may not, but you should know that you always have the right to question everything around you, even God. Should you follow a God who is so vain that he will not let you into heaven because you don’t know his name? Should you follow a God who tells you to kill your son just to prove your faith? Should you question if these are really the acts of a just God or the tales of humans crafted to control who you are? Who do you serve when you are so completely submissive? Is it God or the wishes of men who have culled a power passed down to them that they don’t even understand themselves? I choose to believe in a God who believes in you even if you don’t believe in him. Am I any more wrong than those who have come before me? Perhaps and perhaps not, but I know for certainty that a faith with question is stronger than a faith without.