Monday, March 9, 2015

Is religion good or bad?

My favorite In-n-Out Burger was packed, so Bob, a business acquaintance, made small talk while we stood in line, “What was your favorite rock group in high school?”

“The Association. Saw them in concert and they seemed positive and filled with promise. I loved the song ‘Enter the Young.’”  And then I recited a verse:

            “Here they come, some with questions, some decisions
            Here they come, some with facts and some with visions
            Of a place to multiply without the use of divisions
            To win a prize that no one’s every one.
            Enter the young!”

“You still remember that?”

I nodded.  “I’ll tell you why.  Jules Alexander was a member of the group whose stated goal was to study the religious life of India.  He left the band at its height just to do that.  And when he returned, I saw The Association once again in concert, but this time they were all drugged out and seemed empty…all except Jules Alexander.  It made a huge impression on me.”

By now, we had had received our orders. I dived into my no-salt hand-cut fries.

“So you think religion made the difference, huh?”

“In general, I think religion is good for people and makes them better than they would otherwise be.” 

“Are you kidding?  Look at all the wars fought over religion!” Bob declared as he bit into his Double-Double.

I pointed a fry at him. “Name a religious war of the 20th Century.”  He frowned.  He couldn’t think of any.  “I’m sure there was one, but World War I and World War II were not fought over religion.”

And then he smiled and said, “Well in this century, we have jihad.”

“You have a point there,” I relented, “although I wonder how much of that is thugs using an ideology to unite the masses.” 

“Still religion,” my friend emphasized, “and they want to kill every Jew alive.  I’m sensitive to that because I’m a Jew.”

“But do you think religion itself is bad?”  He shrugged, so I said, “Let me paint a picture.”

He nodded “okay” as he sucked his chocolate shake. 

I charged on: “Imagine it’s late at night and you’re on a dark street.  You see a gang of teen boys walking towards you.  Would you be glad to know they just got out of a Bible class?”

“Okay, you got me. And I’ve been baitin’ ya.”  He laughed. “I kinda agree with you, but here’s the problem: most religious people don’t practice their religion.  But if they did, I would agree that they would be better people and the world would be a better place.” And that was that.

So is religion good or bad?  I share this conversation with you because Bob makes a good point. In my opinion, we shouldn’t be “In” and then “Out” with God.  I firmly believe that we become better with God and religion in our lives and hearts, and so I urge you to include God in yours…and to keep living.


  1. Didn't know you were a believer, Dave. Glad to meet another brother. I like your posts. By the way, thanks for taking the time to answer my question, oh, several years ago. I had emailed you a question I had about screenplay format and you replied right away. Trivial as that might seem, I greatly appreciated it and often think back to that example of courtesy from a professional such as yourself. I also appreciate what I learned from THE SCREENWRITERS BIBLE that was instrumental in turning me into a very good screenwriter. Thanks again!

  2. Kevin, thanks for writing and for the kind words. I'm glad the screenwriting is going well. Best wishes and God bless....

  3. Dave I don’t agree with the notion that Christianity has caused so many problems and here’s why:
    A bell curve focuses on people that are embracing Christian concepts and their personal correct reactions IAW the Bible. People that get what Christianity teaches and adjust their lives accordingly, as they learn the difference between the world’s ideas and God’s wisdom; are the people that tend to fall in the center of the bell curve. People that use their own reasoning and wisdom to try to do what they think the Bible teaches are people that fall on the outer edges of the bell curve and are not what the whole is all about at all. But they get all the bad press and confuse the real issues. E.g. Witch trials, killing in the name of Jesus, etc. So Christian concepts haven’t caused problems; ignorant people falsely applying Christian concepts for their own gain is what is causing all the so called Christian bad events. We need to point out that the relatively few that have done hateful things don’t represent Christianity, so stop focusing on them and see what the centrists are all about.

    Also, I don’t like to use the word “religion” because it means so many different things to different people. That is another discussion.

  4. Neil, thank you for your comments. Christian doctrine is aimed at peace, love, etc. That seems pretty clear. Keep living!