How to Measure

Five hundred twenty five thousand, six hundred minutes.

If you know ‘Rent,’ you know where I’m going with this.

Good religion really isn’t rocket science. The militant secularist looks at practitioners of religion and lumps the entirety of practice together, so that guys who fly planes into buildings are in the same group as Mother Teresa. In some ways they are right. In both of the previous cases, I’d venture to say that love was a driving factor.

The love, in the former case, is one of ideology. To love an ideology, is to love oneself above all things, because you are the person who espouses the ideology. It is lifeless, immutable, and utterly resistant to care for other people. Any religious person is susceptible to this love, but so is any humanist / materialist. It is in our nature as humans to seek understanding, and ideologies make neat boxes to put the world in. They are easy to love, because they are simple. They are also easy to act on, because they create clear lines of ‘good’ and ‘evil.’

The actual world isn’t so neat, however. Many times, people are confused, struggling, and stuck. Not from any deficiency, or from anger, or repression, but simply from the actualities of life. This is where the second kind of love comes in. It is a love for people. A love that is alive and active. A love that doesn’t have a neat box. A love that is concerned about the whole person, not just the face we see before us. It also tends to be a very sacrificial love, but one that does not always get the recognition it deserves. Loving people is hard, because it is complex, and requires us to look outside personal gratification, sometimes even leaving us wondering if we did the right thing. It can’t be checked off the way an ideology can.

Good religion is about this love, because God is about this love.


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