Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Inevitable Religious Fad

In the immediate days following disasters or tragedies, there is the inevitable religious fad. All of a sudden, it is okay for people to say the word "prayer" in public. All of a sudden, people are much more willing to hold hands or candles and sing religious songs. They're suddenly more willing to participate in a public prayer.

Godless people or people who are otherwise areligious seem to be quite eager to do the churchy thing whenever tragedy strikes. Well, who can blame them? We are all created in the image of God and inside, we long for God. Unfortunately, there are probably many people who go to God only in times of despair. God brings both times of happiness and despair. It is not you, O pagan, who has masterfully crafted your own life which is now experiencing this thing called "happiness." It is not you, O pagan, who lavishly bestows blessings upon thine own life.

Ecclesiastes 7:14

14When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future.

Rather than making flower and teddy bear memorials, why not turn to God, go to church, and make a serious commitment? It's for life, and much less wasteful than leaving perfectly good teddy bears to get stinky and moldy from exposure to the elements. Spare the bears, please. I suppose if you want to do both, I can't stop you. If you must, you must.

True Christianity should deliver a rude awakening to the fad follower; that is, there's a lot more expected of you than just paying your homage to "the Man upstairs" (BTW, I use that phrase only to let you know that I can't stand it). I believe it is disrespectful to treat God as if He only exists in times of sorrow, while otherwise living your life as you please. He is not solely a grief counselor for you to utilize at your pleasure in tough times. He's the Creator of this universe and the one who put that longing inside you in the first place.

EDIT: I admit religious fads can have a good effect. Someone who would not have usually gone to church might start attending regularly and turn to God. This would be a Good ThingTM.

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  • Janie

    I know what you mean. My family members are not Christians, and when tragedy strikes, they bring out the teddy bears, the Precious Moments figurines, and the Chicken Soup for the Grieving Soul type of stuff. They will give a sudden lip service to "a better place", keeping people's memory "alive" if they cannot even bring themselves to believe in a benign "better place" and so on and so forth. I always wonder why believing in the Bible is such a stretch for them but when bad things happen they latch on to the most flimsy substitutions.