Let’s talk about a fun topic… how about religion. That’s always good for inspiring debate.
As many of you know, I was raised in religion, went to a Christian school, my dad was a pastor, etc. I always stayed involved, even if it was just in the music, because that was the one place I always felt like I fit in. I’ve been off recently, resting, getting some perspective, figuring out where I stand on things.
It’s one thing to go to church. It’s quite another thing to actually be spiritual. And I don’t mean that in the “Look how godly I am, holding myself to a higher standard” crap that I hear so often. I mean, living your life with the intention of doing the right thing, even when it’s hard or unpopular.
To me, if you flaunt your spirituality, but then live your life differently, you are no better than the “evil” person. Frankly, you are probably worse, because you can deceive and suck people in with your veneer. I’ve known so many hypocrites, growing up so immersed in religion. I suppose it’s inevitable, considering the sheer volume of “Christians” I have known.
There are so many guys out there, pretending to be good people, going through the motions, keeping up the image, and then going home and abusing their kids, cheating on their wife, breaking the speed limit to get to church on time (ironic, isn’t it), stealing from people, and generally being bad people. Many of them have been church leaders, like pastors, deacons, elders, etc.
It’s no wonder that so many people become disillusioned with religion, with such a poor example being set.
And then there are another group of people, that for the sake of simplicity, I’ll refer to as “Shallow Thinking Church Groupies,” or STCGs. STCGs are the people that for all intents and purposes are decent people, who are highly active in their church. They talk about spirituality constantly, look down on others that don’t do the same, yet if you ask them pretty much ANY real-life question, they will have no idea how to relate the concepts. They have head knowledge of spirituality, and they think it’s the same thing. But if you can’t actually use the information to help you make better decisions, then what use is it? I’ve known literally hundreds of these people. In fact, I admit, I was one of these people when I was in high school.
I thought I was spiritual because I could talk about it. I gave “advice” to my peers, and they looked up to me. I was thought to be quite the pillar, or whatever. The problem was, I was living in a vacuum… pastor’s kid, Christian school, no extracurriculars. I couldn’t actually have used what I knew, or “believed in” for anything useful whatsoever.
Of course, I have serious doubts as to whether someone in their teens really can get a handle on any of this. I think it takes more experience than most teens have, to be able to really understand.
That explains another phenomenon I’ve witnessed. People that were raised without religion or spirituality, then find it as adults, have a far deeper, and broader understanding than people that were steeped in it from the beginning. I’m not saying they don’t have some catching up to do on all the details, but as far as the big picture goes, they get it.
The newest cliche’ in Christian circles is “What Would Jesus Do?” WWJD. Well, I’m pretty sure that Jesus didn’t just sit around in the churches and read about things. In fact, it’s a matter of historical fact that he was out there meeting with people, living his life, accomplishing things. He didn’t even start his ministry until he was far into adulthood. That’s not to say he wasn’t having his due impact before that time, but most of his life, he was experiencing the “human existence.” So, WWJD? I think he’d be able to apply his knowledge to actually living a better life.