When I lived in New Jersey in the early 90s, I had a third floor apartment across the street from a huge, ornate Catholic church. As is my wont, I took the time to observe on Sundays the coming and going of the flock.
Upon arrival, the procession from parking lot to church was fascinating in its somber, desultory entrance. The gait was slow, almost like there was an inertia keeping their entrance to a sluggish pace. There was clearly no sense of urgency, no haste to get inside. I think this somnambulant rendition of the Bataan Death March was a physical manifestation of their reluctance to go inside. It became clear to me that the majority of people were entering the church under the burden of "duty", not desire. As if they were forging upstream against the gravity of common sense.
Upon exit, it was as if someone poured hot molasses on a very active ant hill. They came scurrying out of the church like an anxious ferret on a triple espresso. And the aggressive driving getting out of the lot was, ah, very un God-like (keep in mind this was New Jersey).
It was fascinating, and eye opening. And it brought me back to my days as a child when I had Catholicism shoved down my throat via 8 years of Catholic grade school and daily, yes daily, trips to mass with my dad at 6:30am. The only day church attendance was not required was Saturday. Any more explanation needed as to why Saturday is my favorite day of the week?
What I observed in Jersey forced me to remember sensing the same dynamic as a child going to church. Except then, I was too unformed to consciously understand what I was seeing. I was part of the death march, which meant unthinkingly entering the church.
A laborious entrance; an exit that resembled flight. What to make of it? Remember, I saw this exact phenomenon at least 30 times.
I sincerely believe most people attend church, and by extension, believe in God, out of a sense of duty, of something they were trained and taught to do. And once the duty is done? Well, they can't get out of there fast enough. Kind of like getting out of prison, or the army. Nobody lingers during those exits.
So, where is the hypocrisy in all this? Well, much of it is unconscious. There is a very fundamental stream of hypocrisy folded into all organized religion. It is built in, unavoidable. God, and organized religion, is a refuge for the emotionally bankrupt. It is the AA for those who choose against self reliance. I have neither time nor energy for such people. They have without fail, proven to be disappointments.
Religion breeds hypocrisy.
© Copyright 2017 Bill Rayburn. All rights reserved.
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