“Christians are happier than atheists”. That was the consensus of a CNN article in 2013.
Duh, you say. Well…hold onto your halos, folks. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride to heaven.
Here’s the article if you’re so inclined to read it.
The article continues with a rebuke of the study:
After reading an article about the study on Pacific Standard magazine’s website, Richard Wade, an advice columnist for the blog Friendly Atheist, called it “useless and misleading” and based on “sloppy research.” He wrote, “The takeaway for most lay people is ‘Atheists are unhappy people.’ … How do you quantify ‘happiness’? How do you quantify ‘analytical thinking?
Even in their acknowledgments about the possible biases in their study, the authors still use absurd and meaningless terms like ‘militant atheist,’” he added. “This study suffers from the same negative stereotypes about atheists that most society has, and it has simply reinforced that prejudice with more muddled thinking.
Even though the study presumes Christians are happier on Twitter, I wish we acted more like it in real life.
As I was reading the above article, another one caught my eye, so I pulled it up too. The caption was Gay detective’s mother booted from church.
I wonder how the researchers of the first article would have interpreted over 3300 comments on the second one. You can read them too, but here are just a few from so-called “Christians” My BS meter was going off a lot, but there were some honorable mentions:
- From Dale, “If God ever does light this planet on fire, I pray that those churches of hate and prejudice should be the first to burn.” (Wow…can you feel the love oozing from our friend Dale here?!)
- From Starr: “May God treat them the way they have treated this woman.” (Yeah, go get em’ Starr. That’s a sure invite to your church!)
The following comment, I believe, tells it all:
- From Katy: “Religion preaches hatred…glad I comprehended that at a young age and left Catholicism. Now I am a happy Secular!” (Hum)
Richard Rohr has something to say about where so many “Christians” reside:
So how do we love God? Most of us seem to have concluded we love God by attending church services. For some reason, we thought that made God happy. I’m not sure why. That idea probably has more to do with clergy job security! Jesus never talked about attending services; although church can be an excellent container to start with, we tend to become like the folks we hang out with. The prophets often portray God’s disdain for self-serving church services. “The sanctuary, the sanctuary, the sanctuary” is all we care about, Jeremiah shouts (7:4).
The prophetic message is absolutely clear, yet we went right back to loving church services instead of Reality. Our inability to recognize and love God in what is right in front of us has made us separate religion from our actual lives. There is Sunday morning, and then there is real life.
God certainly gave us minds to use. But, when the mind is given dominance over heart, again Rohr says:
The mind starts steering, judging, analyzing, fixing, controlling, and trying to dominate body and soul….your endless mental commentary on everything. It really doesn’t matter what you think about things, believe it or not. This is a revolutionary and humiliating breakthrough for most people. What matters is WHAT IS.
Our egos are forever getting in our way, and “Christian” egos are scrumptious, lip-smacking fodder for unbelievers.
I believe that when the mind controls our every thought, word, and action, it is because we do not have the courage to be imperfect ourselves, and we make our life’s mission to fix, manage, or adjust everyone around us because we know for a fact that they are imperfect slobs in need of a Savior.
Sorry to inform you…you are not the Savior of the world. That position is already taken. The sooner we realize that, the sooner we will stop sending people like Katy running away from God. He’s not pleased with us when we do that, you know. As a matter of fact, the hairs on the back of His neck stand stiff when he sees us acting or speaking like we’ve forgotten who and Who’s we are. I manage to forget that far too often as some snarky thought or remark manages to slip past my not-so-vigilant-act-like-you-have-the-tiniest-bit-of-Christian-love monitor…
When you are tempted to “set someone straight” remember that in every circumstance, God calls us to manifest his love at that moment, to that person. Now, look back at the article and comments above and tell me who Christ was for all the people involved? Was it the church that kicked the mother out? The “Christians” who posted mean, insensitive comments?
Do we see God in the actions of the likes of Westboro Baptist Church, that is always in the news because of their hatred toward others? Do we see him in you or me when we judge and speak hatefully to or about others and refuse to accept them?
And let me say this about quoting Scripture: That’s fine. But if you find yourself frantically searching with the only purpose of finding that one nugget to smack someone sideways…knock it off! You can cut and paste your beliefs and certainties to prove yourself all day long, but what will you have gained for God’s kingdom? Besides, someone will just cut and paste their own “proof” that they’re right, and you’re a moron. And then what?
Words of wisdom from Shane Claiborne:
Something powerful happens when we can connect our faith with the pain of our world…. We’re not throwing out the things we believe, but we’re also focusing on practices that work out those beliefs. In the past few decades, Christianity has primarily been about what we believe. But in Jesus, we see an invitation to join our actions with a movement rather than ideas and doctrine.
I’m hopeful because people have grown tired of a Christianity that can say what it believes on paper but doesn’t have anything to show with our lives. Ideologies and doctrines aren’t easy things to love.
Pray that God would give us the eyes to see the pain….
“You can show your love to others by not wishing that they should be better Christians.” –Francis of Assisi
And, finally – what your mother always told you is still valid today, “If you can’t say something nice, keep your mouth shut!”