by Mark Antony Rossi
I become wary of those who wear religion on their sleeves. Past experience indicates they are hiding something about their character. If you examine them for a second you’ll notice you don’t learn much about the person. All you discover is their beliefs and maybe about a few activities in support of those beliefs.
Therefore you must also judge the so-called religious person the same way as everyone else. Do their non-religious actions match their words? Do they treat others with respect? Too often the churchgoer acts differently outside of the church and makes you wonder is this is an act, is this a game or is this a double standard to avoid completely.
Memorizing the Bible or other Holy Manuscripts is vanity if you punch your wife in the face two hours later. Saying Jesus or Buddha seventy-seven times a day does little to improve Zen-like behavior if you display disrespect and dishonesty on a regular basis. Religious historical figures often make sense. It’s their inconsistent followers I wonder about.
In viewing the big picture this is not an indictment against religion but a warning for those who blindly follow without thinking for themselves. Faith in God is a spiritual act and does not automatically enroll disciples into earthly expectations of ethical conduct. The human of good faith must choose the road to right every day and maintain that commitment as fervently as they affirm a Creator or a God.
My mother never went back to her faith when discovering her good church friend was having an affair with the married pastor. They were caught. He pleaded alcoholism. The church folded. Thousands questioned their beliefs and drifted back into a soulless age where men found solace in machines. And women plunged deeper into career fields to roll dice against self-worth for the reward of financial security.
I never understood my mother’s skepticism until I became a more world traveled man. Such a falling out is profoundly different than the dissolution of a marriage. One can always remarry. But how does one reconnect with a faith they lost through no fault of their own. How do look at someone who is supposed to be holy and suspect they are staring at your cleavage?
I have no answer for this directly and simply maintain my faith in prayer and good works as a means to actively be a person of faith with a fuller understanding that damaged people like my mother might one day return when they learn to forgive themselves of transgressions they never committed in the first place. Because God unlike churches or other places of religious expression does not shut down and vanish at the first sign of trouble. God is still there…waiting on us.
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