Sunday, 13 November 2011


I saw a beautiful film on Netflix today: Arranged. It is a small independent film about an orthodox Jewish woman and her Muslim friend, and how these two young women approach the idea of arranged marriage within their religion. (I highly recommend it. For you gals.)

What I loved most was that this wasn't a "Grease" type makeover movie. This film was not about how these girls need to get into the 21st century, that their religions are archaic, oppressive, and should be abandoned. It simply and honestly dealt with how one might feel in modern day New York about embracing such ideas.

My favourite line was this: "Why do you equate tradition with nonsense?" (one lead actor to her well-meaning boss, an older feminist trying to help her young employees see that life has more to offer than "a young marriage and a house full of children.") I am quite intrigued by all the different orthodox religions and traditions that exist in our world. I see something very beautiful in such strong faith.

I've often thought about the existence of so many deeply entrenched religions in the world. I know each religion must take the stance that theirs alone is the right one; that is an intrinsic part of religion. But each faith has very well-thought out doctrines and long-standing traditions, it makes each one so unique. From a scholarly stand-point, it makes me wonder if belief in religion is actually the fifth "necessity of life" (Thoreau) along with food, shelter, clothing and fuel.

It would be interesting to discover that if there is no Intelligent Design or Supreme Being, that in fact we are nothing more than an evolutionary accident, we would still need to believe in something of a higher power to have a happy existence. There are several things that humanity has come to accept as an identifier of our species, things that we have decided make a person's life better. We have formed family units that generally stay together for life (something unique in the animal kingdom). We have also decided that society works best when we each take on a specialty and help each other, rather than trying to be a jack-of-all-trades. So I wonder if the case could be made the one is happier, calmer, more settled, "better off" in fact, if one has a deeply seeded religious belief of some sort. Perhaps that is why there exists so many strong world religions; each culture on its own (long before the world become so connected) knew that man had a basic spiritual need that had to be met in the same way our physical needs for food, shelter, clothing and fuel needed to be met.

At any rate, I loved this film and it's strong position that tradition is not antiquated in today's society, and that these women are not somehow less woman for embracing these ideas. Definitely worth a look when you get the chance.

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