Thursday, July 10, 2008

Marx, Micah, and Drugs of Choice

Is it religion that is is the opiate of the people or are opiates the religion of people (Micah 2:11)? Either one is not a very high view of religion.

When religion becomes an opiate, we call it by its right name, "feel good faith." If that is the main purpose of my spiritual practice, then it is probably true that my religion, for me, is an opiate, something which helps me to feel good in my pain. Or to ignore, deny, or run away from it. Love of God and neighbor? That would come after the primary goal of feeling good.

In a similar way, Hebrew prophets like Jeremiah (6: 14) and Micah were critical of the kind of religion that only smooths over, doesn't rock the boat, and deals lightly with human wounds of spirit. The problem is that such leadership offers to heal wounds "lightly," while our brokenness is anything but an abbreviated experience. We want to forget about it and not have to think about it anymore. That's what "feel good" faith does for us.

Feeling good, however, is not necessarily the opposite of genuine faith- not at all. It is just not the aim of the Christian spiritual life. Growth toward loving God and others as ourselves might deliver us from confusing faith in Jesus with drugs of choice. There is a religion of glitter, a self deception of claiming the name of Christ only, as in "Christian." Spiritual well- being includes healthy self-awareness- and seeing what kind of impact your faith has on others.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Oldies but Goodies