THE WAY TO LIVE_DOT III (YOUR ROLE) // CHAPTER 18
If you were raised in a religious home, or attended a religious school, it was probably the rules that made you question whether that religion had a place in your future. Rules can make us feel judged and ostracized. And rules often aren’t evenly applied, so religion also seems to breed endless hypocrisy.
Many religious people believe in their religion, but don’t live what they believe. In other words, they are bad philosophers: bad at living out their values. Good at believing, bad at behaving.
Religious people love loopholes. They look for loopholes in their faith systems to avoid more restrictive rules. Many Catholics have found ways to justify birth control. Only a percentage of Muslims pray with their faces to the ground five times a day. Just a small number of Christians show the type of kindness, love, and forgiveness that Jesus modeled. Every major faith tradition teaches some form of the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. But we’re all guilty of excusing our way around that rule. Bad news, we’re all hypocrites, not just religious people.
Despite that, all faith systems agree that to be in good standing, followers need to keep the rules. Belief and behavior are central to every major religion in the world. Obedience determines whether you are a good Muslim, Christian, or Jew. Whether it’s the Five Pillars of Islam, the Ten Commandments of ancient Judaism, or Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, rules define proper and improper behavior within a system.
We also live in a world that rewards performance. It’s ingrained in us from an early age. Answer the test questions right and you pass. Answer wrong and you fail. Score the most points and win. Score one point less than the other team and you lose. Do well in school and you’ll get a good job. Do well at work and you’ll get a promotion. In the world we live in, performance matters.