What do you like about your religion?
It’s a strange question, I know. I can hear it now: “Like? Its religion, what’s to like about it?”
I asked several people this question over the last couple of days and got some interesting answers ranging from “I like the sense of community” to “I like the music” or “it’s good to talk to everyone once a week”. Other answers were more like “our pastor is really nice”; “it’s more for the kids, y’know? It gives them a good grounding in the right things”. The most honest answer I received was “its church. There’s nothing to like; you go because you’re supposed to go, that’s all.”
It’s kind of a trick question. I’m not really asking about your church, but about your religion. For most people there is no difference.
A church is not just the building it’s housed in, but the community that uses it. It’s the people that gather together for a specific reason every week or two for a meeting. At this meeting there is a set of actions and behaviors that take place. This is called worship. Music may or may not be performed, either by a choir and accompanist or by the entire group. Other activities may be attached, such as study of holy books, socializing, sports activities, educational activities and the like. Most of the functions of a church are socially connected, when you think about it.
A religion is defined as a commitment to or practice of a set of beliefs or practices devoted to the service of a deity or principles. This can be as loose or as regimented as the individual needs, whether it’s “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” or the rigidity of Kosher law or Sharia, it would appear that there is something out there for everyone.
So my question could be redefined as this: What do you like enough about your religion that it brings you back, week after week? What is it about your beliefs that you actually like? What’s the appeal?
Is it knowing that someone has set boundaries for you; that there are carefully drawn out limits on behavior and thoughts?
Is it a sense of service to something outside you?
Some people say it is the idea of salvation; but from what are you being saved? And please don’t say ‘sin’, because that’s merely a catch-all term for anything not allowed by one’s own religious practices. There are definitely crimes going on in the world, but sin is far too broad a term to have real meaning.
Is it the drama that attracts you? Most of the legends and mythologies behind modern religions and especially the ancient ones are very dramatic, wonderful tales of adventures and sacrifices made to make the world a better place. Good vs. Evil has to be the most basic storyline of them all.
Is it really the music? Handel’s ‘Messiah’ and ‘Amazing Grace’ are passionate, moving pieces of lyric composition that tug at the heart in many different ways. Walk into any decent Baptist church and that choir will have you moving faster than any disco you’ve been to. They are amazing.
I’m curious, so please, think about it and drop us a line. What holds you, moves you, draws you in and keeps you coming back? Is it love, passion, fear, gratitude? What do you like about your religion?
Whatever it may be, I hope it helps you find your peace, friends.