To live by what is right is to be in conflict with society.
From a Christian view the modern world makes it very difficult to live as is being taught in church. I was raised Roman Catholic. I attended Sunday mass pretty much every week for the first eighteen years of my life. My elementary school education was in a school run by the church. For the first part of my life I was taught to be “Christ-like”, meaning to try and live as Jesus would have. Follow the idea of “W.W.J.D?”. I never gave it much thought, until yesterday. Or at least I never thought of it quite in this way.
I have a day job; a regular 9 to 5. After all, philosophical writing doesn’t exactly pay the bills. Near where I work there is usually a fair number of individuals asking for spare change. As I was walking around, as I do when taking a break from the corporate world, I passed by one of these persons. As I did, he caught my attention and asked me if I could help him out. At the time I didn’t have anything on me, so I had nothing to give. As I walked away, and for pretty much the rest of the day my mind was occupied with that brief moment. I was filled with all sorts of mixed emotions. Firstly, I felt bad that I had nothing to spare at the moment, but beyond that I started thinking. I thought that many people encounter individuals of this same sort and don’t give anything out of distrust or even disgust. It has become the stereotype that anyone asking for spare change is either going to use it on drugs or something else. It has even been suggested that some of these people are simply out there to scam those who would give something. Have we become so paranoid? And even if the donated change were to be used for “less than noble pursuits”, why can we not spare even 75 cents that we ourselves would probably waste on something similar or even more wasteful anyway? Why are we so quick to judge? Who are we to judge anyway? Whatever happened to compassion?
This now brings me to my other thoughts of religion and society. What would Jesus do? Going by everything I have ever been taught about Jesus, I would have to say that he would indeed spare some change. Most likely each and every time; so much so that he himself would be left with nothing. Honestly, I don’t see anything wrong with that, although, I see the potential for conflict with the modern world. If any of us were to follow that example our friends and family would think we were nuts, crazy, raving loons. One can’t just give away money. Money is everything. Money is needed to buy pointless material goods, to buy food, to pay taxes. We have become so non-self-sufficient, obsessed with material possessions, and so beaten into mindless submission by the government. In the modern world, to function as a member of society, one must be greedy. If Jesus were to show up in the modern world we would tell the bum to get a job, completely dismiss him as a dirty hippy, and maybe even lock him up in jail or a mental facility.
True Christians cannot live in society. Society does not tolerate their kind.