On GMA the other day, Ann Curry (whose hair, BTW, I would love to have), did a piece on how during the holidays, and especially during the current economic crisis, people are becoming more religious. This is amazing to me considering how pop-culture our religion has become. Our President-elect claims Christianity while upholding beliefs that are out of line with that belief system. Nancy Pelosi, in a now-famous interview, was clearly out of bounds on the Catholic view of abortion. And these aren’t fundamentalist whack-jobs, like many of the weirdos that we hear about on the news.
And the holiday season is replete with exhortations to “believe”. “Just believe”, says the song. A childlike faith is part and parcel of the “magic of the holidays”.
Which got me to thinking about faith and tradition and this concept of cultural belief. You know, the idea that you aren’t a practicing Christian but you celebrate Christmas. You are Catholic but haven’t set foot in a confessional in years. Or the type of “spirituality” found on Sex and the City. The friend who is “deeply spiritual” but not religious (said in a whispered undertone or with a short laugh). The kind where you pick and choose the parts you find attractive and conveniently ignore the rest.
It’s interesting to me that we can laud people who devote themselves so entirely to a political campaign or legal proposition, but think that people who consistently live a worldview are…strange. Passion is all fine and good, we say, as long as you’re just not too passionate. As long as you don’t talk about it too much, especially not in public.
Interesting, too, that we’re quick to clear up any misunderstanding about a candidate’s position or news topic, but when faced with a point of belief we find challenging, shy away in embarrassment. A good bit of the thinking person’s time and energy on this earth is spent in the pursuit of truth. Have we lost the goal, too wrapped up in the pursuit? When did the pursuit become what mattered, and the goal not at all? Hmmmm….