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Morality is About What You Do, Not Where You Sit

Recently, a person I respect, who professes a certain religious perspective, said they were tired of welfare moms and others who seemed to believe that they were entitled to certain government benefits. Ok, a lot of religious people I respect have said pretty much the same thing. And I agreed that, to some degree, government handouts, whether to individuals or to corporations, foster a sense of dependency. Look how upset business-types get when legislatures advise they are going to cut corporate tax breaks. How dare they?

Individuals on government benefits also get pretty upset when said benefits are reduced or eliminated.

I’m not advocating that we try our best to get more people on welfare (or more corporations). But I am troubled when any religious people advocate turning our community backs on people in need. I seem to recall a Jewish gentleman from  Galilee who advocated helping everyone you can, including giving them the shirt off your back. I actually do see some religious people acting and thinking that way, and I hope they know they are appreciated.

But there seems to be a sense of moral entitlement among many religious people, that says basically this: I am the moral elite because I practice this religion. My practice of said religion actually makes my choices morally elite. Therefore, whatever I choose to do, because I am a religious person, is the will of God.

No, it isn’t.

The will of God, whatever your religious proclivities, is for you to live a good life, be a positive influence to your family, your neighbors and your community, and show some appreciation and humility for your life and all the great things in it.

Maybe political parties could benefit from this thinking, too.

I bring all of this up for two reasons. One, it annoys me when people say they know their religion, but act antithetically to it. And two, this is one of the themes in my novel, Virtual Silence, which is available at amazon.com in paperback and on Kindle.

Do something good today!


4 thoughts on “Morality is About What You Do, Not Where You Sit

  1. Extremely well said and I applaud you for doing so. The behavior of religious elitists are the prime reason so many of us have abandoned the churches and gone towards secular spirituality. where your behavior states your beliefs. A hand up is altogether different from a handout.

    • No doubt there are people taking advantage, and there are abuses of generosity. But I’m not aware of any religious figures, from Jesus, to Mohammed, to Ghandi who said to stop helping if people are jerks.

  2. Thanks for talking about this topic. One time a woman said to me, “You know those homeless who hang out in the park across the street from the cathedral? They let them inside this morning because it was so cold.” I was thinking how great that was and how wonderful a church was doing something to reach out to those less fortunate. But the woman continued her babble. “And that’s why I can’t go to mass there any more. Can you imagine letting them sit in the pews, all dirty and gross like that? I can’t stand the thought.”

    Sigh. I hope she found a place with people whose “you know what” doesn’t stink.

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