We shouldn’t talk about politics, religion, and money. Or so they say. With people having strong views on these sensitive topics, I can see why many choose to steer away from such conversations.
But lo and behold, social media opened the Pandora’s box of people’s deep-seated stance on political and social issues, whether as an informed decision or simply siding with one’s biases. What I am hoping for as an opportunity for open communication to better understand each other led to hate posts and judgments, and losing friends and family in the process.
Enter religion. As a Christian, I grew up believing that our purpose is to sow love and kindness in the world. As you can imagine, this is not always evident in the words and actions of those who claim to follow Christ. Interestingly, all Christians are expected to be morally perfect; as environmentalists like me are expected to be vegans or vegetarians. But it’s not so much as being perfect but the striving to be decent human beings. Which brings me to how the religious try to defend the, in my opinion, questionable leadership of the country. Seems like a case of cognitive dissonance to me.
I watched “PK” an Indian film that bravely explored the world of different religions. Its about an alien who tried to make sense of different faiths and in the end concluded how religious leaders espouse meaningless rituals and beliefs. Incidentally, I got to read “The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason” and “Letter to a Christian Nation” by Sam Harris which criticized different religions. It got me thinking about my own faith. And I asked, “What if all I believe in are but a social construct?”
Sometimes having the mindset of “learned meaninglessness” where there is no grand purpose, it just is, can help us not to take everything seriously. But we also want to be happy. In Viktor Frankl’s book, “Mans Search for Meaning,” it states that happiness cannot be pursued. It must ensue, that is, there should be a reason to be happy. That reason could come from meaning we realize from work, from experiencing something or encountering or loving someone, and from turning predicaments into achievements or finding meaning in suffering.
It’s a crazy world we’re living in right now but my faith still gives me hope as I try to find meaning in this collective suffering we’re experiencing. It is my prayer that you find reasons to be happy, too.