Monday, 20 July 2015

If religion doesn't matter. . .

Every now and then, I post something that could be controversial.  I thank you kindly for keeping the discussion respectful and retain the right to delete and block any commenters whom I feel are not remaining so.

I was browsing Instagram, one of my favorite pastimes, as it can be done through snatches of seconds at a red light or while waiting for the bacon to sizzle.  The hashtags are so interesting.  But I came upon one I found curious, almost amusing.  It was #religiondoesntmatter.

The sentiment was encouraging.  One would think it the signature hashtag of atheists and agnostics, and that would make sense in that case.  They would say religion doesn't matter because all religion is false.  But it turns out that the hashtag appeared in support of various religions, and that made it all the more confusing.  Why, if religion doesn't matter, are the Instagramers members of any religion at all?

They'd probably say something like, "Because we like it."  And to that I'd say, so?  

It doesn't matter if we like it.  Because it doesn't matter.  And if it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter in any circumstances.  And why do we expend any energy whatsoever on something that doesn't matter?  There are certainly other worthy endeavors we could be lending our precious time to: like writing the next great American novel, traveling the globe, or spending time with family.

(This is not to say that those who struggle or doubt are hypocrites.  It is not hypocrisy to say with the apostles, "Lord, to whom should we go?  You have the words of everlasting life.")

It reminded me of a conversation I had with a religious Sister and a few others.  A person said, "I don't think my religion is better--or more true--than anyone else's."  

I replied, "I hope you do.  I hope you love your faith or religion or beliefs with the fierceness of a mother's love.  Otherwise, what's the point?  Why bother practicing religion?  If there is one you find better, you should belong to it.  Or keep searching until you find your preference."

It's what C.S. Lewis means in his introduction to {Mere Christianity}, when he writes about his book being only the hall in a large house with many doors.  One does not stay in the corridor but "above all you must be asking which door is the true one; not which pleases you best by its paint and paneling."

At this point, the Sister mumbled something which, to this day, is one of the saddest things I have ever heard.  "I can't leave my religion; I've been Catholic all my life and am too old too become anything else now."

I don't pity her.  She's a good woman and doubtless has done much more pleasing in the eyes of God than my feeble prayers and half-hearted Mass attendance.  To pity someone is God's work, and I am not fit to pity anyone.  Rather, it makes me grateful.  Grateful that I should have been born into, through no virtue of my own, this most beautiful of faiths, and the last living home of truth, goodness, and beauty on this old, tired planet.  And sad that there are some who are not partakers of the banquet at which is served the Eternal Bread from Heaven.


  1. Love this!!!

    It reminds me of a bit in a Bright Eyes song that I love: "If you say that there's no truth, and who cares, how come you say it like your right?"


    1. EXACTLY! Drives me nuts! If we followed that belief to its logical conclusions, we'd drive ourselves insane.


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