The Problem with Religion

Posted Thursday, August 11, 2011

I have a problem. I like to be right. I've always been this way—at least as long as I can remember. 

In grade school, sometimes the only thing I had to hold onto was the fact that I was right about the answer. One not so emotionally intelligent teacher gave me some advice on how to deal with bullies that called me names; she told me to tell them to "prove it." For all the bullies and for the bullied out there—you know what happened when I said "prove it." The bullies just started chanting prove it, prove it, prove it. 

I learned though—that I could know the most and have at least some confidence as I went through my life. I definitely enjoyed proving people wrong—which didn't win me very many friends as a young student.

So midway through high school, I decided to completely choose my religion. I was cocky, bold, and used to getting picked on. Not such a great combination. I soon took the messages of love that were given to me by my church and turned them into messages of exclusion. I was genuinely worried about the souls of my friends, my girlfriend, and co-workers. I quickly learned as much as I could about how to evangelize everyone who was far from God (at least from my point of view.) I wore t-shirts that proclaimed my devotion to Jesus and every conversation I had with someone that didn't believe like I did was an opportunity to tell them about the "good news."

As an adult, I simply took this with me and although more subtle, I had a belief that I knew the answer to my co-workers and non-christian friends lives.

This is the problem. The problem with religion. The problem with politics. The problem with really any organized belief system. We begin with a belief that we KNOW more than someone else. We begin with a belief that we know what other people need to be or do.

How ludicrous. How unbelievably foolish of me to think that I could possibly know the complexity of someone else's heart—much less the complexity of their relationship with the God of the Universe. 

These days, I've decided to choose a different way. My choice instead of judgement is curiosity. Someone told me recently that judgement and curiosity cannot exist in the same moment. Judgement is about control. Curiosity is about love—it's about not knowing, it's about discovering. 

So I carry some of these questions around with me:

  • What can I discover about this moment right now? 
  • What can this person teach me about the world?
  • What can this person teach me about me?
  • I wonder how I can make an impact positively here?
  • I wonder what the universe is doing in this moment by bringing these circumstances here? 

You might want to try them too. I don't know what you will discover—but I'd love to hear about it.

Check out our last 6 eNewsletters:

November 4, 2016--Crossing the Continental Divide (Both Literally and Metaphorically)

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