What Value Is Faith?I’ve been accused of not having faith, because I don’t attend church services. Its usually said with a bit of derision, or pity it seems. It’s true I don’t attend anymore, this is because I found way too much hypocrisy and self righteous judgment going on in the church for my taste.
Faith isn’t about perfect attendance to services or how much money you put on a little plate, or meditating each day on the divine. Its about what you believe in.
In my life I’ve come across way too many self proclaimed “faithful” that are out and out jackasses, or incredibly unethical, or bigots, or even criminals. These same people seem to be the quickest to accuse me of not having faith, in what appears to be an attempt to show me what a better person they are than I. I have to ask what value is your faith if you live your life this way? Having faith obviously (to me) is not what makes us a good person as some would have us believe. Conversely, lack of faith by whatever definition you choose for it doesn’t make you a bad person either.
More important than faith is a inner desire to be better, and nobler and kinder than you are. It’s about making sacrifices for others, its about being selfless and doing what is right, even when there’s not going be anyone telling you what a hero you are. It’s about having ethics and morals and integrity, even when it means taking the hard road.
This is what I teach my children. I encourage them to attend church services (of all denominations) and find myself in discussions of religion and faith with them from time to time. I also encourage them to think for themselves, to be responsible for their actions, and to carry on through life in a way they will be proud of.
Far too many people seem to think that having faith and attending services justifies their living their life selfishly, or worse. If you want to fault me for not going to Sunday services you have every right do so, but no freaking way can you tell me that you are a better person than me because you do!
Church is a positive thing for many many people. I recognize this, and agree with it, but to say someone’s lack of religion (or, heaven forbid following the “wrong” religion) is overstepping the bounds.
I know who I am. I am mostly happy with who I am. I sleep very well at night with this knowledge. That’s what really matters.