I have political opinions. I try to keep them off this blog. I have shared my thoughts in past posts (here, here, and here) about Christians and politics, so if you want to read my opinions on that subject you can check those out. In this post I want to talk about a couple things that are somewhat political in nature, but I only want to use them as examples to demonstrate a larger point. I realize that what I will say will most likely make me sound like a downer. I apologize for that, but I just found this observation interesting and thought it may be worth sharing.
Last week the press was ablaze with coverage of the royal wedding. People were really into it. It was kinda nice to see this real life example of a fairytale, where a girl marries her prince and becomes the princess and all that. It was nice. Of course it didn’t and doesn’t really mean anything. British royalty is like historical buildings. They remind people of something of the past but no longer carry any real significance beyond that. But, seeing a girl marry a prince and become a princess is still nice, and obviously A LOT of people thought it was nice because it got an insane amount of news coverage.
Last night President Obama informed us that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. Finally America had dealt justice to the guy responsible for the murder of thousands of Americans on Sept 11, 2001. I have been watching all the news coverage of this and trying to find out why it is so important. Mostly everything has to do with the morale of our troops or validation that we have been doing the right thing in our war or encouragement to the American people or the families who lost their loved ones on 9/11. So essentially it doesn’t actually DO a whole lot except make people feel good. I’ve heard several experts explain that Bin Laden’s death may somewhat dampen the morale of his followers, but Al Qaeda has gotten much bigger than him and won’t be seriously affected by losing him. Several groups had already splintered off and developed their own organizations with their own leaders. I would say that Bin Laden’s death is MORE important than the royal wedding, but it’s still just about people feeling good, with little actual importance.
You may not agree with those observations. Feel free to share differing opinions. But, I feel like these two major world events demonstrate something about people, at least western people: sometimes we just do things, or like things, because they make us feel good, even if they don’t really matter in any real sense.
Sometimes I look at “Christianity” in America and I wonder if it is sort of dealt with in the same fashion. People go to church, they don’t get anything really worthwhile out of being there. They don’t usually learn a whole lot, they don’t usually walk away changed, they don’t usually even pay much attention to what is going on, but it feels good to go, it feels good to be part of the religious observations and you walk away with that warm fuzzy in your heart. It seems like real substance is, in large part, replaced with things that don’t really do much good but are “nice.” Maybe Americans and westerners are like this because we are so comfortable that we can afford to be this way, but I wonder if this mentality is dangerous, what if, in seeking that nice feeling we miss out on stuff that actually matters? I don’t know the answer to these questions. I think that it is very possible that we are missing out on the important stuff everyday, and I think that this pursuit of “nice” feelings and happy endings could be part of that.