Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Stroky Beard Talk

I take issue with the idea that one would choose against Christianity, or any religion as far as that goes, on the sole basis that there are poor examples of Christianity/those who profess affiliation with a religion in the world. Please note that I do not take offense, rather, noting that this has been a topic of discussion in a few different settings over the last month or so.

I'd start by saying simply that I have no personal opinion on what religion, or lack thereof, people decide to associate with. I do not walk around trying to win the world for Christ, nor do I feel it's my job to rescue people from the jaws of hell, and my own "brand " of understanding Christianity is pretty minimalist. Therefore, I feel relatively unemotionally attached to the discussion beyond simply enjoying the conversation.

That said, I'd really like to engage this idea of rejecting a system of belief because it's members are just bad examples of it. As a sole basis for rejection, I think it's lazy. Every single one of us is guilty of not practicing what we preach as the saying goes. For instance, as a hygienist, I constantly drive into my patients not to drink pop because it's really harmful to your teeth. And almost every day, I'll go home and drink a big fat can of Coke. And I rarely brush before bed. I've set a bad example. For one to look at my behavior and subsequently judge that dentistry is categorically horrid and refuse to participate is silly.

Now I realize that that metaphor can only apply to an extent and that I've grossly simplified the problem. But, in a sense it is that simple. The problem with this rationale is that it grants other people a ridiculous amount of power that they simply shouldn't have. As adults we are all fully capable of making decisions for ourselves. To allow others the power to make our decisions for us is irresponsible and does not allow for growth.

I rather think that bad examples of Christians are actually just bad examples of humanity in general. It would be ridiculous to say one rejects humanity because there are humans who are behaving poorly. Humans will always behave poorly in some respect or another. I recognize that it's more apparent when some humans who are behaving poorly are also riding the high horse of religious morality. I also recognize that was a super clunky sentence but I don't care enough to go back and rewrite it.

I've not turned a blind eye to some very real situations and hardships that lead people away from a system of belief. There are some very public religious folk who, behind closed doors lead a very different life. Some of those folk are in positions of power and take advantage of others. Some of those people are responsible for a great deal of hurt. I've been on the wrong end of a church lynch mob. It sucks and it hurts and in some respects I'm still dealing with the fallout of that some 8 years later. I believe I'll always carry a little of it around with me, if nothing more than to remember how not to be. Having come out on the other side, though, I waded through all the bullshit and looked at all the people who behaved grossly out of turn and still found something worth pursuing a little. That's my story, though. I take no issue with people having an honest look and deciding not to look any further. That's their story. And we can be friends and coexist peacefully, each living our stories in the way that makes the best sense. I see no reason why others living their lives differently need be threatening.

I guess my point is that it's irresponsible to ourselves to decide against a way of life simply because some other people who ascribe to that way have behaved poorly. People will always find a way to fuck it up. That's life. We can only be responsible for ourselves and cannot choose other's actions for them. While other's actions sometimes do have an effect on our lives, it's only up to us to decide how much power that has over us.

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