Finances & Money

Faith and Hypocrisy

Two things I do not intend this site to be about are faith and politics. One reason is because no one has the right answer to either. In my post about The Golden Compass, I used somewhat strong language to describe what I thought as a deceptive method for purposely subverting people’s faith in God. I understand now that I jumped the gun and assigned blame without investigating something fully, but I’ll also use this as an opportunity to explain some things about my faith or whatever we can call it.

Let’s start with “faith” and what I think about it. I want to state up front that none of what I say applies to my wife as she has her own beliefs and probably doesn’t want to share them in such a public manner.

I went to Catholic school for 12 years (plus kindergarten), but I was never strong in my faith. I went through all of the motions, but never bothered trying to believe in God. Once in college, I didn’t go to church until I met Stacie in my final year. Even then, I only went with her to support her and keep her company (and because I like being with her). I’ll state to everyone right now that I still just go through the motions. I taught Sunday school for the last 4 years without really believing many of the things the church teaches.

However, although we had a curriculum to teach to the children, I mostly used the class to try to drill home the idea of being a good person, not being “a good Catholic”. I used the class as a conversation, not as a lecture. I loved getting questions from the kids and having them help me through to an answer. Sometimes I said “I don’t know”. I never lied to them that I knew the answer when I wasn’t sure about what I was saying. I treated them as adults in that we all still have room to learn, and we all have perspectives that add to the discussion.

Did the kids get anything out of our class? Did they learn the curriculum the church wanted? Sure, some of them memorized the Apostle’s Creed, and some can now say the Rosary, but ultimately, I don’t care about memorized or methodical prayers, “Tradition” (with a capital T) or living exactly “by the Book”. It doesn’t get me anywhere in my faith, but that doesn’t mean that I think prayer is wrong. It helps you focus and get things off your chest if anything, but it’s not the only answer to being a good person.

I do claim to be a Christian, but what does that mean? It means that I don’t claim to be a Hindu, Muslim, Jew, Taoist, Atheist, or anything else. It means that I was raised to learn and understand the Christian faith. But that’s where the claim ends. I was raised as a Christian and still go to a Christian church, but doesn’t mean that I don’t investigate other ideas from other faiths. Six years ago, I was pretty serious into understanding and accepting the inner god proposed by Buddhism, but then I got distracted by other life events and never got back to my studies. I still don’t rule it out because it sounded more applicable to my life than what I’ve learned through Christianity.

But let me say something very, very important to many of your comments:


I mean the entire world and everything in it. Wars have been waged in God’s name when that same God is taught to be accepting and understanding. War is being waged right now for the same reason in every part of the world (except Antarctica perhaps), and no one will ever win because it’s not a war by God, for God or even about God. Perhaps I’m actually more like the author of the Golden Compass than I thought, based on this article sent to me by Plonkee.

Here’s another truth I believe:


I make mistakes, you make mistakes, the Pope makes mistakes. No one was perfect. Even Jesus got upset with his mother (with what he said during the whole wine-to-water wedding event) although I’m sure someone would have a different explanation for the event than I.

And here’s one last truth I believe:


I must accept that I will never write something that every one of the billions on the planet agrees with or loves. I will make enemies and upset people, but I can also take advantage of opportunities like this to explain myself further and even admit some fault. I don’t find that people continue to dislike me or hold grudges against me simply because I like to find out why I was wrong.

So there you have it. I’m sure that any conservative Christian who loved my article yesterday will now despise me for what I just said, and I’m sure many other people will still find fault with anything I write, but that’s just the way it is. I’m not a hypocrite, I just don’t have all the answers. I’ll complain strongly about many things, but there is nothing I firmly believe 100% as to never allow an argument against it. It’s all about your perspective and your experience.

About the author

Clever Dude


  • People that despise you for telling the truth about your own personal beliefs when they do not impact adversely on anyone else, are not worth the space that they take up on the planet.

  • Just wanted to say that I fully understand and support your opinion and your blog. You are entitled to your opinion and nobody can deny your experiences and your current relationship to your faith right now. You are right- your faith must be much more personal than just showing up at church or going through the motions. I wish you the best on your journey to learning what you think is the ‘best’ answer for a religion and sincerely hope that you spend some time studying the Bible to discover how your faith can become alive and engaging to you. I was once like you in your situation and I found that I needed to go to a different church to get my faith nurtured in a way that was meaningful to me and to nurture and grow my understanding and relationship with Jesus. Blessings

  • Great post. As a practicing Mormon who often struggles with some of the history and doctrines of my faith, I can totally relate to “going through the motions.” But I think those things (like going to church on Sundays, praying, reading scripture) has helped me become a better person even when I’m not sure if I actually believe what I’m hearing over the pulpit or reading in the Bible. There’s always good message I can glean from that and apply it to my life.

    I’ll have to disagree with you that “organized religion is one of the worst things that has happened to this world.” Sure, I agree that religion has brought a lot of bad in the world (wars, inquisitions, witch hunts, ect) but it has also brought a lot of good. If it weren’t for organized religion, specifically the Catholic Church, we would have missed out on the beautiful art and architecture in Rome and in all of Europe. Organized religion also played crucial role in the ending of slavery (many abolitionists were clergymen) and in the Civil Rights movement (blacks often organized within their churches). And hey, I’m a product of organized religion and I think I turned out to be a pretty decent guy who tries to help others. So, with religion, like in all things in life, I’ll take the ugly with the marvelous.

  • Brett, (not meaning to pick at one point of a good comment) unfortunately with every good comes a bad and vice versa (at least in someone’s perspective). Some slave owners justified the practice since it was mentioned as Ok in the New Testament. The Church stole many pieces of art in the name of God. And so on. However, I usually see the bad first since I seem to be a pessimist, but I do recognize that I need to appreciate the good a bit more.

  • Oh, I should also state that I don’t disagree with evolution, but I also can’t say that some supreme being didn’t put us here 5 seconds ago and create all of our world and what we think are lifelong memories. I just don’t know the answer.


    I went through the same exact process that you did regarding The Golden Compass. I wasn’t going to go see it but then I read more about it and I changed my mind. Organized Religion scares the hell out of me. So i’m going to go see it with my nine year old daughter. Luckily, she doesn’t like to read so I know she won’t go out and read the other books but if she does I’ll be sure to read them with her and have a discussion about the book and the author’s views.

    Great Post btw. It’s good to change it up every now and then…

  • Nothing matters in life except having a personal relationship with Jesus. Organized religion was created by man for man!! Always remember that! Jesus did not have a RELIGION! He had God, and God is all he needed. Read the Bible instead of books that bash the Bible and you may realize that your views were very off-based. God is all that is right in the world.

    The problem with all of world is that the focus is directed on “me” instead of “Him.” If we’d all stop trying to please ourselves, but actually please “Him”, things would be quite different. Why did Buddhism become so popular? The reason is because it’s all about you – what person does not like self-fulfilling practices? It’s this misdirection that causes our world to always please themselves and not others.

    The real problem I have here is that all of you do not see the real light in this world. The Light of God is terrific – you just have to let yourself go and have it not always be about you. “I’m going to be rich” “I’m going to win this job” “I think I look good” “My house is better” etc etc. This attitude and inner-ego is what destroys your possible views of being in the light. Try it, sincerely, and you’ll be surprised.

  • Tyler, I’m not sure that you understand Buddhism the way you seem to imply that you do, yet some of what you said sounds like calling the same thing by different names.

    Either way, though, it doesn’t seem productive to me to tell others What is Important in Life, unless an individual asks. I can’t be the only one who feels something like revulsion when a comment leads out with, “Nothing matters in life except…”

    It’s probably great for you that you have such strong convictions, and that they work so well for you. But when you say something like that, it should be understood that it is you that is speaking, and not some universal Truth. I mean, speaking of ego.

  • I feel like I am basically on the same page as you are with the whole religion philosophy. I was raised catholic but I no longer believe that someone needs to go to church or be a part of an organized religion to have faith. I no longer attend church and I’m not a fan of organized religion. I do have faith and I don’t believe that being in one place at the same time every week to prove that I have faith in God is necessary.

    Having faith in something bigger than life is important. Going to church every Sunday to have someone tell you what to believe and then dropping a ten spot in their basket at the end of the mass isn’t important to me.

  • I will say that I do give to our church, and I don’t mind the small sacrifice to do so. I think their community programs are valuable, and I like the good feeling the church brings to its congregation as a whole.

    I also enjoy the music (when I get to sing it, not the choir), but I’ve never been much of a lyrics guy, so I don’t read into meaning of songs often. It’s not all lost on me when I attend church 🙂

  • Tyler —

    Great that you have such strong beliefs. Please keep in mind that Jesus had religion — Judaism. Also, you might want to be more careful about how you espouse your beliefs. Right now, it reads like you’re claiming to know the mind of G-d, which is a little arrogant. Why can’t the things that please us also please Him?

  • @Chris:
    You aren’t the only person.

    That depends entirely on how you define being a Christian. Some people and groups of people define it more narrowly than others. Personally, if a person self-describes as Christian, I take their word for it.

  • CD, I think your post is beautiful. I was raised Catholic and went to Cath school for 13 years, but I have not actively practiced since I left my parents’ home-in other words, since I had a choice. I stopped going to church because I got nothing out of it.

    I think there is a God, I think He is a good, generous, kind being, and I think He is horrified at the atrocities that have been committed in His name. I pray regularly. However, I agree with whoever said “If your only prayer was thank you, that would be enough.” I try to be a kind, decent person and to be grateful for what I have. I don’t think going through the rituals associated with organized religion does anything to help my growth. If others get something from those rituals, then good for them. Personally, I don’t.

    Thanks again for another fantastic post. Although I always enjoy your pf ones, this was great, too.

  • Based on the comment: “Being raised ________[insert any religion here], going to a _________ church [or synagogue or any place of “worship”], and knowing and understanding the ________ [insert any religion here] faith doesn’t necessarily make you a ________ [again, any religion].” I believe that this statement could be true no matter what religion you claim, even if it ISN’T any organized religion. It’s not about the motions but how you LIVE your faith, right?

    So, no matter what you believe or what you don’t believe, let’s stop being negative about each other and truly try to live out whatever religion we believe…and I bet all of them teach that being a good person to yourself AND to those around you and treating each other (and each other’s ideas) with respect IS important.

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