Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A (Not So) Security Blanket

I'm often awake during the wee hours of the morning. I usually pass the time reading, doing accounting work for the Green Party, playing word games on my computer or writing entries for this blog. Sometimes though, I go downstairs and flip through the channels on the 'ol TV.

While channel surfing last night, I happened upon one of those ubiquitous infomercials for a Christian denomination -- I don't even remember which one. Our host was looking plaintively at the camera, "Is your life spinning out of control? Are you unhappy or stressed? Do you feel you're not as successful as you should be?"

He had the prescription for you -- become a particular brand of Christian! Get to know God and Jesus. Your life will change dramatically.

This got me to thinking. If Christianity is supposed to change one's life dramatically, why then are Christians beset with the same worries, anxieties and stress as non-believers?

Though I'm not looking at any particular studies or research -- I'm going solely on my own experiences -- the lives of most of my Christian friends and acquaintances are not altogether different than anyone else's. Christians (or a follower of any religion, for that matter) are prone to the same foibles, vices and shortcomings as the next person and these imperfections are the fuel of anxiety and stress.

It would seem that the security blanket of religion provides no security at all. In fact, in many ways, the religious are more hamstrung that the non-religious simply because the latter aren't constantly falling short of the former's rigid standards.

It's akin to going to the doctor because you're concerned with the potentiality of a certain infirmity or disease. The doctor tells you to follow a prescribed plan to ward off the illness. You try to follow it to a tee, yet, in the end, you contract it anyway or you worry just as before that you might contract it.

Wouldn't you be upset with the doctor? Wouldn't you complain that his prescribed treatment was bogus? Wouldn't you be just a tad bit upset with yourself for having wasted so much time and money on what amounted to snake oil?

For all the time devotees of religion spend praying, repenting, going to church and doing good works, they still wind up with the same fear of the unknown and the uncertainty of the meaning of life.

In essence, the security they so desperately look to religion to provide remains elusive and this elusiveness creates more stress and anxiety. This increased stress causes many to cling tighter to their religion which generates even greater amounts of stress and anxiety.

In essence, the cure becomes more intolerable that the original malady.

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