The Role of Tradition in Our Lives (good and bad)
Tradition, in its many forms, has always played a part in how we see ourselves, how we see life, others and the world. Sometimes this is constructive, and sometimes destructive. Some traditions make life easier for all of us, and some favor a particular group st the expense of other groups.
Traditions such as those which celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and family reunions can be joyful, goodwill producing and provide a healthy sense of identity.
Traditions which attempt to control how we think, or which promulgate prejudices, are destructive and contribute to conflict and distrust. Examples are: public prayer; the teaching of the Bible, the Koran or the
Torah as "the inspired word of God"; the father in the family acting as patriarch by controlling, ruling, oppressing the family members; the kind of patriotism which says "we" are always right and "they" are wrong or "my country, right or wrong".
The purpose of all of the destructive tradition is to bring pressure to bear on any who would put individual liberty before conformity to the powerful. Such traditions aim to subdue the doubter, the skeptic, the free thinker, in much the same manner as the Inquisitions and the burning of witches.