I have to wonder if I’m not more Christian than I realize—even though I grew up not attending church and have remained “unchurched” as an adult. I accept Jesus’ main teachings on an instinctual level, as do the people to whom I’m close. From a very young age, I understood that others are no different from me and that anything I do or say is experienced by them in the same way I might experience it. I also understood that every person is a significant and equally valuable being. So integral to my way of thinking is this that it’s difficult to imagine a time in human history when this reasoning wasn’t the norm, when certain people were considered no better than lion bait, existing for the sole purpose of being ripped from limb to limb for entertainment. I can imagine that Jesus’ “Golden Rule” must have seemed like a novel idea back then.
I read about a recent spate of billboards being erected in a few key cities paid for by an atheist group. They picture smiling faces with the quote, “I can be good without God.” I have no doubt this is true, that the people pictured are kind-hearted and well-meaning, though I might argue that technically the “without God” is a bit misleading as they are likely leaning on the spiritual work of previous generations. So that while these individuals may personally be taking a break from thinking about God, their great-grandmothers and great-great grandmothers probably spent quite a bit of time honoring the divine and whatever wisdom they gathered they passed down to their children who passed it down to their children, and so on.
But this billboard raises an excellent question for me personally: isn’t religion about a lot more than just being good? I’m really hoping so because I’m shooting for something more along the lines of deep inner peace.
- Corinna Nicolaou