Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Christians Behaving Badly

I'm usually not very interested in celebrity news, but Mel Gibson's recent rantings made me wonder about something. Let me illustrate:

- My wife had her rental car damaged in a parking lot in Minnesota by the wife of a professor of religious studies at a Lutheran college there. When the car rental company demanded compensation for the damage from my wife, she referred them to the woman who caused it. She and her husband initially denied they were responsible, then avoided phone calls from both the company and from my wife until my wife finally threatened them with legal action.

- A former neighbor sold a house on our street with a septic system that was on the verge of failing. The symptoms were clear but the former neighbor failed to disclose the problem, leaving the new owners with an unexpected $20,000 bill. The former neighbors claim to be devout Christians.

- Need I mention Catholic priests?

You would think that people who publicly proclaim their faith would feel some responsibility to live up to the values of that faith, but in some cases it seems the opposite is true. Why is that? Do some Christians feel that, because they're essentially good and moral people, anything unethical they do is OK because they're still good people underneath? Or does the weekly trek to church relieve them of their sins so they can pile more on during the week? Does bad behavior in the secular world not count for much in the spiritual world?

Some right wing Christians, including my mom, seem to think that all morality stems from religion, so atheists can't be trusted because they lack a moral foundation. Like many things, I think this notion is supported more by faith than by evidence.