Thursday, February 26, 2009

My opinion on Lent

I'm not a religious guy. A lot of that comes from the fact that while I appreciate the good the religious community does, I also recognize that it's done a lot of harm as well. Even if someone accepts that thousands of years ago God spoke to some guys and they put it in a book, you still shouldn't accept the Bible as the verbatim word of God if for no other reason than it's been translated a zillion times and it's caretakers were always just men. Wait scratch that, they weren't just men. They were men with power and influence. And we all know how those things corrupt by their nature.

So I have no problem with religious people so long as they don't try to get me to follow any strict form of dogma. If someone wants to go to church every Sunday I'm fine with it just so long as it doesn't close their mind to learning anything new.

And now Lent has begun. I know because I saw a few people with ash on their foreheads yesterday (side note: the first time I saw widespread use of this practice was when I was in college, and had no clue what the hell was going on. For all I knew it was a pledge stunt). As I understand it, people take Lent to abstain from a certain vice for forty days. I don't think that by not drinking booze for a month a person is more or less likely to get into heaven, but I can appreciate the practice as something that's just good for people to do once in a while.

I like the idea that a group of people come together and assert some willpower over themselves, even if it's just to swear off chocolate for a month and a half. If you succeed in doing that then it'll give you some confidence that you can control other aspects of your life, and that's good. People should challenge themselves, especially when we're living in a society used to spoiling itself.

Really if you think about it, it's almost like a dry run at a New Years Resolution. I'll bet a bunch of people made a resolution to stop eating chocolate and weren't able to keep it for a full year. If they try again with a support system and can make it 40 days, maybe there's hope they could do it for longer.

I'm still not going to participate in Lent. I'd be up for the challenge but to be honest I'd feel like a bit of a hypocrite joining in on the religious aspects of the holiday. I wish good luck to those who are making an effort to better themselves.

And now I'm going to go drink some coffee before I go out at lunch for some red meat and a chocolate chip cookie.

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