I worked closely for several years with a lady that I will always dearly admire. She is truly an amazing person with a huge heart filled with kindness and compassion. She is among the most positive people I’ve ever known. She always sees the good in a person, always. That’s just her heart’s default setting. I so admire her.
I recently had an occasion to talk with her for a while as we stood in the rain in the parking lot after an event we both happened to attend. She seemed a little weary of the emotional and moral tone of the nation, which is unusual for her typically upbeat personality. She has become deeply distressed by the fact that people in the church have so whole heartedly dismissed the gross immorality, greed, and dishonesty Trump personifies. She lamented the fact that greed has consumed people of faith who should be the very people standing up for taking care of “the least of these.”
I commented to her that I have become so disillusioned with religion and faith practice, that I’ve thrown the baby and the bath water out altogether. I’ve come to see religion as the greatest source of evil in our country, hands down. I told her I want nothing, absolutely nothing to do with church or religious expression. I find it a revolting reminder of meanness and hatefulness and ignorance, and consuming greed.
She challenged my thinking. “You know as well I as I do, Tim. There are some good people sitting in those churches—really, really good people that don’t believe all of those hateful, greedy things their church leaders espouse and defend.” I felt I had to concede that she’s right.
But is she?
Is she really?
Are you a good person, really, if you remain involved in a church or religious institution whose leadership is greedy? Are you a good person if you financially contribute to a church that supports hate and defends immoral, decadent, lavishly selfish behavior? Are you a good person if you just sit there quietly and allow this to go on year after year?
I just don’t think so. But, perhaps, I’m beginning to understand it better.
I personally find that as I get older, I’m less inclined to pluck up for a good fight. I’m more inclined to just say, “Whatever, asshole.”, and walk away—which is exactly what I’ve done with church and religion. I just don’t want to get the filth of confronting religiosity all over me. The cost/benefit ratio just isn’t worth it to me any more. Am I too then part of the same problem just in a slightly different way?
Susan, once again, challenged me to think and reflect. She always does.
Top photo credit of bible thumper not helping injured man: sbhland @Flickr