Beliefs and Addictions
House Thoughts (04/02/2017): I’m reading this extremely thought-provoking book on mass movements right now—True Believer by Eric Hoffer. My grandfather recommended it, in our very religious family he’s anti-religious. The book is definitely anti-Christian—well, that might be going too far. It’s definitely against certain tendencies of Christianity.
It was written in the 1950s as a response to the mass movements he had witnessed or studied: Communism, Fascism (mostly Nazism), nationalist movements like the French Revolution, Christianity, Judaism, Islam…the list goes on. As you can imagine, with having just experienced the Nazis, Hoffer is 100% against mass movements. He sees them as cruel, destructive, and remorseless.
It’s hard to stomach some of his ideas sometimes (especially since I’m a Catholic and love my faith), but his ideas are very eye-opening to why people do some of the things they do and also on how Christianity can go wrong if people are Christian for the wrong reasons.
One quote he had that I found very interesting was: “For though ours is a godless age, it is the very opposite of irreligious. The true believer is everywhere on the march, and both by converting and antagonizing he is shaping the world in his own image.”
I think that is so true—although many people do not worship God, they worship something—maybe it’s a political idea or movement, maybe it’s something personal, like possessions, relationships, career, the list could go on and on. G. K. Chesterton once said: “For when we cease to worship God, we do not worship nothing, we worship anything.” I mean, you just have to go on social media for all of a minute to realize that people flock behind the “cause of the minute” –maybe to the point of worshipping it?
SL: This is hard to comment on. I’m not in to discouraging anybody beliefs. As the quote state, “both by converting and antagonizing, he is shaping the world in his own image.” I agree. Everybody has an influence on somebody. Our thoughts, actions, or beliefs leaves and impression on somebody and people tend to mimic what they see.
I believe whatever helps that person be the best person they can be then I’m all for it. I don’ think everybody worship something. “Worship” is a strong word. I would replace worship with addicted. Worship is spiritual. If a person isn’t spiritual at all how could they worship something? IDK. This was deep. Religion is always deep.
HW: First of all, I totally agree that everyone has and influence on someone. For me, that’s why you have to work to do right by people—you never know what impact your influence will have.
I thought worship and addiction was an interesting distinction—I kind of like it. It keeps worship as a spiritual thing, a good thing, in a sense.
Addiction…when you get too wrapped up in something that isn’t good for you? Granted, I do think everyone’s addicted to something: it’s just whether it’s a really bad thing or a less bad thing, does that make sense?
SL: Bad is bad. Ain’t no such thing as a less bad thing. Can you give me an example? Cuz the bible say no sin is greater than another right? You can be addicted to something that’s good for you or bad for you either way we all have an addiction. What’s yours?
HW: “Less bad thing”…I think the obvious answer would be lying to someone versus murdering them. I think there’s a definite “scale” of evil. Both are wrong, but…we can function as a society if everyone lies now and then, but not if everyone murders now and again.
I don’t think the bible says that no sin is greater than another. Maybe it does, there’s a lot of the bible I don’t know. After a quick google search, I know that Jesus says to Pontius Pilate: “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.” (John 19:11), so there are greater sins. All sin turns you away from God, though, so in a way you’re right (sorry if this is getting overly religious).
Wow, what’s my addiction…deep question. Probably control. I need to be in control. I need to be able to plan out my day. I don’t like surprises. It’s an addiction I’m trying so hard to quit. But it catches up to me sometimes.