16 Jun God is a Happy Meal
I grew up in a Christian home. Not just any Christian home but a first generation born-again Christian home which meant my parents were quite zealous about it. I considered myself a Christian for quite awhile and then things began to just sort of “fizzle out” after I had gone through counseling in my mid 20s. In the past year I have opened myself back up to the Christian faith to explore it, explore God, Christ, and all that comes with the description, “Christian.” In the time I have been in exile from Christianity, I have read a lot of Buddhism and find the thoughts there profound and freeing. I am not devout to either philosophy at this point as I’m not sure prescribing to a set of beliefs means anything. I continue to bounce back and forth between Christianity and Buddhism. Right now I’m reading a lot more Buddhism because it provides much more in the way of living one’s everyday life, while Christianity is mostly focused on what you should believe and the best advice it has on our everyday lives is to rely on Jesus. I’m oversimplifying but you get the gist.
So what am I? Does it matter? When I was five, the age of my daughter Jamison, I supposedly accepted Jesus into my heart. I look at my daughter and think there’s no way she would grasp or understand what that means. Why? Cause I don’t even know what that means. I don’t think anyone knows what that means. So did that make me a Christian at that point in time? Evangelicals would say it did. But it all seems so trite. There is nothing about that process that lends itself to deep life change. It’s just a moment.
I was reading some Nietzsche last night, and although I’d love to say I understood everything he was saying, I can’t. I wish I could because I can tell I would love it. He is breaking through paradigms in huge blasts that we can’t even see it – or at least I can’t. I need to spend more time with him.
While I was reading Nietzsche I was wondering what he would think if he were in an American Evangelical church service and there was an altar call. For those of my readers who don’t know what an altar call is, it’s when the pastor calls folks up to the front of the church at the end to give their lives to Christ. It all sounds so cultish, I know, but it’s what happens. What would make Nietzsche become a Christian? A heartfelt and moving church service? An emotional high about how Jesus has taken away all your problems by dying on the cross and if you just come up here and “accept him into your heart” you will be saved forever? How would Nietzsche respond to this I wonder. It just seems so fantastical and overly simplistic laid against the background of his thought. Is that all the Christian faith is? I think Jesus would be so annoyed with this. He would not suffer the foolishness here. He taught and preached much more than this. If Jesus were to return he would completely smash Evangelical Christianity because it is ruining his name.
Modern day Christianity seems more like a marketing plan than a religion, than a way of life. I’m not saying that people are not changed by Jesus’ presence in their lives, or that they are not thoughtful to The Way. But I don’t think a lot of modern day Christianity realizes the boiling pot they are sitting in. I don’t think they realize the marketing scheme they have gotten involved in. I don’t think they realize how the phrases they throw around are slogans, lines a copywriter would write. It has become a mass marketing plan, instead of Good News.
So I think Nietzsche would be even more dumbfounded by the Christian faith today. He would be sitting in a church and wondering what the hell was going on? He would need a knew phrase besides “God is Dead” as that wouldn’t even apply anymore? What would be the next step from there?
For now, I’m done trying to figure out “what I am” when it comes to religion. I love spirituality, I love philosophy, I love psychology. I love being human. I understand there is another dimension to our humanity and that is deepened through our humanity not in spite of it. I love many aspects of Buddhism but don’t prescribe to the whole thing. I find a lot of what Jesus said to be revolutionary but don’t feel I have to devote myself to him in the way it is presented. I am fine with believing he died on the cross and was/is God. But I don’t think THAT makes me anything.
When I’m quiet, I feel the presence of God, of being created, of my humanity, of what the Buddha taught. I feel calm and whole. Spirituality and the human experience are much more profound than what religion offers, which is one big marketing campaign. I would encourage you to step outside your belief system and see how much of it is about truth and how much is about marketing. I think if Nietzsche were here he would say “God is a Happy Meal.”