Wednesday, July 29, 2009

An Old Reflection

I recently got a bunch of papers and other miscellaneous items back from my JC friends (whom I was very excited to see), and was sorting through them. Among the heap of scraps I had scattered on my bedroom floor were many random bits of paper I had seized as temporary journals to house my immediate thoughts of the time. Most of them were easily discarded. My journal-type writing is usually done for myself, in that moment, and doesn't often hold any long term significance. But one particular exploratory literary musing held my attention as a piece of writing with some good thoughts to be carried on, and to be shared. And so here it is: a slightly edited version of a stream of consciousness write from over a year ago.

Why is there so much unbelief and doubt: in the world and in me? So much of religion is just a dishonest game, so how do you find real truth? I think truth is in values and principles. Doing the right thing in order to improve the world and to improve yourself is what is needed more than religion. Jesus said some beautiful things about love. If we actually believed and practiced those things, the we could get somewhere.

"God is love" and wants us to love each other. We can use "God" to represent all the good forces in the world [and all the things for which we have no explanation] - so why do people kill in the name of God? Must be a different God...

[Our purpose in life] is for us to "do unto others as we would have done to us". That purpose is for us to give, to love, to learn and to grow. A simple lifestyle is important to these objectives because material abundance only hinders and chokes. In living with less we can identify with those who have less out of necessity and not choice.

It is important for us to become aware of how our lives affect others and the world around us. The affluent masses can continue to consume without conscience because they have cut themselves off from the darkness in the world. The churches [and the people] "ignore the crying outside the door. Sure you'll pray for their burdens but you don't wanna make it yours" [quote from "What About Them", by John Reuben]. The religious excuse is that "Jesus did it all". They teach that "good works" (doing what is right and helping others) are not necessary for a spiritual [or fulfilled] life.

Now you ask me, "How do we know what is right and wrong?" But it is so simple! [We were built with] an inbuilt sense of justice, of truth, that most of society chooses to ignore. But they can't block it out completely. We [all] can tell that suffering is wrong, that killing, that selfishness, is wrong. {We are given] a desire to see things set straight. We naturally want to change things. But we are told "God has it under control, so don't try!", among other untruths aimed at keeping us complacent.

We are fed selfishness and distractions. But if we can let go of [and fight] these things, our faith can be placed in something deeper. Don't give up the fight for what is right.

-Spring 2008


  1. Interesting thoughts!

    You write that "The churches ignore the crying outside the door..." etc.
    I'm glad that not all churches are like that, that would indeed be very sad.
    My local church has several ministries that actively help people in the neighborhood that are homeless or in other ways disadvantaged or are having problems.
    "Good works" can't buy you salvation or anything, but anyone who truely believes that "Jesus did it all" are so thankful that they want to give back in any way they can, by good works, praying, etc. So a spiritual life without good works is missing something very important...

  2. Swan,
    Thanks for the comments. I must clarify that it isn't me who wrote "the churches ignore the crying outside the door...", it was a popular Christian rapper I was quoting (a personal favorite), John Reuben.

    You would be surprised at how many churches, and actually how many individuals in those churches, do in fact live detached from the suffering of others in our societies.

    People tend to think that throwing money at a problem, or sending other people to do the work, is enough to assuage the pain. Enough to lessen their guilt maybe; enough to make a real difference, no. I believe it takes each person making an individual commitment to change their lives into a less harmful lifestyle. I believe it takes a personal interaction with those in need.

    Keep in mind, of course, that these things I write are only the opinions of one person, and one person not even 21 years old. But I old these opinions strongly. :)

    Thanks for reading.