Giving people something to believe in

Kevin Hall, Assistant Photo Editor

For the past several semesters I have been at Eastern, the visit of Brother Jed sparked strong opinions and de­bate. As I listened to the words of Brother Jed April 5 and the remarks of those he spoke with at the Mellin Steps I couldn’t help but reconsider my stance on orga­nized religion.

Although I attended a Catholic elementary school for over 10 years I’ve never considered myself a religious per­son.

Yes, I am a firm believer that there is a higher pow­er. Somewhere in the universe, amongst the clouds, the planets, but most importantly in our hearts, lies a piece of the creator but somewhere in the technicalities of reli­gion I think society has lost track of this fact.

For hundreds of years, different deities have been cel­ebrated and praised, but in different forms and fashions.

I find that it is not whom you praise that defines you but rather how you praise is what really holds weight.

I understand that as human beings we all have unique qualities and characteristics that link us to the cre­ator; therefore, I find it hard to judge those who seek him (or her for that matter) in ways that are different from my own.

I realize that when forming a relationship with the higher power, one must first be comfortable with him or herself before they are able to seek anything on a larg­er scale.

The older I get and the more experiences I have, I be­gin to the shift my thinking on organized religions.

Much like many of the arts of today’s society, religion has been given a price tag and used to create social barri­ers throughout society.

For example, several years ago I attended a church ser­vice with a friend, and I must say, until this day it is still one of the most profound church experiences I have had to date.

I mean there was nothing out of the ordinary going on, but the life that congregation displayed and the ener­gy they exuded reminded me of a concert.

There was praise—dancers pranced, lights flashed and discoed throughout the church, congregation mem­bers screamed to the heavens and a choir wailed praise on the high right at the front of the stage.

Though this is probably normal church behavior for some, the scene took me aback on this day between the walls of the home of the Lord. However, it wasn’t until the pastor of the church and his wife spoke that I really became perplexed.

After the pastor’s speech, the wife collected “dues” for the church. Once again—not an unusual task, but it was her words that made me question everything.

To persuade church members to donate their funds, she told her story of how she used her gain to help those around her.

She not only asked for donations, but she was very specific for what they would be accepting and what was “enough” and what wasn’t. It shocked me because I didn’t understand why.

If we were in fact in the “House of God” who was she to deem individuals unworthy of donating to God.

After that day I began to look a religion for what it is: a social institution created to invoke order on society and make its members feel as though they are a part of a greater structure, gearing their lives to a higher cause.

To give our lives meaning and purpose, we put our faith in scripture or words that we believe have major meaning. Nevertheless, I’m here to tell everyone that if you do not answer the call from god within yourself, seeking him in the physical universe will be a never-end­ing journey.

 

Kevin Hall is a senior journalism major. He can be reached at [email protected]