Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Breaking News: Religious People Sometimes Do Nice Things

Toaster sculpture, 1993?

Religious people are more likely, statistically, to perform altruistic acts. That's a fancy way of saying the people with a moral standard are more likely to do something nice for someone than a complete jerk.

But, of course, it's not a given.

Anyone who has ever been to church knows that religious people can also possess a complete ineptitude to do anything nice beyond shaking hands during the greeting time. The fact is that as long as sinners are allowed in the church, and they should always be allowed, altruistic acts will always be something which may or may not happen.

James was right to challenge the first-century Christians. "Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do" ~James 2:18.

If religious people are found to be more likely to perform loving deeds, it can only be due to their proximity to the Creator of loving deeds. A person closest to the fire is more likely to get burned than those not even at the campsite. But even the person close to the fire will have to jump in if getting burned is the goal. 

Perhaps you don't like this word-picture. After all, you've been warned to avoid the hot stove since hanging around your mother's knees as a kid. But don't miss the point. We're talking about the likelihood that you will perform altruistic acts. It won't happen simply because you enter a place of worship.

After all, there's a really good chance that someone at church will be a moron and you will be left with a choice as to how to respond. Someone will sit in your pew, or take your parking place. Someone won't stop talking and give you a chance to share an intelligent thought. Your favorite songs won't be sung, or worse, your faves will be sung poorly. 

Let the surveys and statistics say what they want. Bread is more likely to be toasted if it's placed in a toaster. But action is still required.

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