Hurting, Helping, and Holes in Your Heart

Disclaimer: This post is from the archives, and may not represent the current views of the author. It also may not be at all interesting to read. Continue at your own peril!

I think it’s time for a rant. There’s something that pastors and other Christians tend to say that bugs me. It’s the idea that “this world is hurting and lost.” During my years as a Christian, I must have heard this countless times. If I had a nickel for every time I heard it, I’d be a millionaire, I’m sure. But why does this get repeated so often? When was the last time these people looked outside?

Don’t get me wrong. I understand that there are a lot of hurting people out there. Bad things happen, and they cause pain. There are definitely a lot of sad and hurting people out there; I’m not trying to deny this. But on the whole, this is not my experience of things. Most of the people I meet seem to be happy, at the very least. Maybe they’re all faking it, but that seems a little unlikely. On the whole, people seem to take life in stride, and be fairly optimistic about things. And this is the case no matter whether someone is Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, non-religious, or atheist. I’m part of an atheist, agnostic, and freethinkers club on campus, and the people I meet there certainly seem to be happy with life. We joke around, we have deep discussions, and we all have a great time about it. If life without God leads to pain, hurt, and sadness, then something’s not right here. Moreover, I’ve been in both camps. I’ve seen life “with God” and life “without God”. I know my evidence here is anecdotal, but as a rough estimate, I’d say that I’ve seen just as many hurting Christians as hurting non-Christians. I’d be willing to bet that if you did a big survey, the percentages would end up roughly equal.

In support of their statement, though, I’ve heard some Christians who will talk about people who drink excessively or do drugs in order to deal with their problems. Of course, it is an unfortunate reality that some people do these things, but seriously – pointing to alcoholics and drug addicts does not let you generalize that to the rest of the population. Are they trying to say that everyone without God is an alcoholic? That doesn’t seem to work. Maybe it’s just that everyone has that “hole in their heart” that people fill in different ways. Oh, please. Give me a break. That sounds like it actually means something, but when you really think about it, it’s just a meaningless cliche. Yes, okay, people have needs to fulfill, and they do fulfill those needs in different ways. But a hole in their heart? It doesn’t seem so. Christians who use this phrase like to say that it’s a “hole only God can fill”, as if that makes it clearer. But there are plenty of people who are living without God, and they are doing just fine. Yes, they still have needs to fulfill, and they do that using social interaction, achievement of meaningful goals, and loving and being loved. Those are the real needs that humans have. And yes, some people use God to fulfill those needs. Religion can provide all three of these. But that doesn’t mean that it’s the only answer. That’s just ridiculous posturing in order to make a specific set of beliefs more attractive. It’s the same as Coca-Cola trying to convince you that you “need” to buy their drink, and nothing else will quench your thirst like it can. In other words, there’s a “hole in your heart” that only Coca-Cola can fill.

I just get sick and tired of hearing that somehow life is completely meaningless and miserable without God – or more specifically, without the Christian God. I think that the evidence clearly goes against this statement. It’s not fair to take a small minority of people (the grieving, the depressed, the alcoholics, etc.) and try to generalize that to the rest. There are plenty of non-hurting non-Christians, and plenty of hurting Christians. So if God is supposed to stop you from hurting, why is that the case? The excuse for this is that God doesn’t stop you from hurting; he just helps you through the process. Well so what? Who cares? There are plenty of people who make it through the grief of losing a loved one, going bankrupt, or experiencing other forms of pain, and they may never even think about using God for help. You want to know what the best way to deal with grief is? Find a social support system to help you. It can be family, friends, a support group – it doesn’t matter who it is; it just matters that it is a person or group of people who will show you empathy and support, and help you through the process. Now if you find this support in God, fine. But don’t try to tell everyone else that their support systems won’t work, that somehow God is the only option. Not only are you not telling the truth, but you may actually be doing damage by convincing someone not to rely on the support of others and instead try to only use one source, a source that really just might not work out too well for them.

So here you go: people in general aren’t depressed and miserable, God doesn’t prevent hurt from happening, and he’s not the only option for support through hurt and grief. I think that sounds like a much more reasonable view of the way things are. People have a need for love and support, and those without that social support are much more likely to have a difficult time when things go wrong. But life goes up and down like a roller coaster. Giving up God is not like falling off a cliff. It’s the same roller coaster ride. So instead of insisting that your method is the one that everyone should use, why don’t you just find a friend and enjoy the ride?

Alright, rant over. I think that was therapeutic. I guess I just needed to write that down to deal with the grief of hearing bad cliches…

7 responses to “Hurting, Helping, and Holes in Your Heart”

feeno

I too hate cliches especially Christian ones. They really are usually real cheesy.

And I too have heard about a hurting world many many times. But when I heard it the Pastor usually never made the distinction that it was only the "lost" who were hurting. There's no doubt we can all be happy, but happiness usually depends on circumstances, sometimes I'm happy, some times I'm sad? There are good times and there are bad ones, for Believers and non believers. (God causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust. And he causes the sun to shine on the just and the unjust. (that's not a cliche, it's a verse).

If I was to use that "World is hurting" cliche I'd follow it up by saying this world has a lot of pain in it, but we have something to look forward to when we get to Heaven, no more tears, death, sickness, pain, nohunger and it will be peaceful and beautiful and perfect.

Although this world has pain and suffering I still will agree with you that we can be happy for the most part. And I will even agree that skeptics and believers are probably about the same in that department. And as my Brother always says when we are gathered around family and friends having a good time he says "All this, and Heaven too".

Now just a little more of my overbearing fundy ass advice giving, if you are hurting you should go to your family/friends/support group, that's a good idea, but remember God is there as well.

I am truly craving a Coke now.(because of your hole in heart thingy,another cliche). And will have to have one or two tonight as I watch the Yankees and Phils play, or the Lakers and
Clippers. Actually I'll be clicking back and forth.

Oh, speaking of cliches, my nephew has a video of his old band on youtube. The name of his band is REXY, the name of the song is "This is no cliche". Try to find it, his band used our church for the scene with all the doors in it. My nephew is the one dressed like Wendy. He's in another band now with the dude who's dressed like Big Boy.

I like when you rant, you sound funny. If we lived around each other I'd meat you for breakfast every saturday morning and listen to you rant while I eat pancakes. Now that's livin'.

Hope my response didn't sound to defensive. We really do agree on most things, it's just that we arrive there from different starting points?

Talk with ya soon, feeno

Jeff

Hey feeno,

Yeah I guess sometimes this cliche doesn't get used in the context I was talking about. But I have definitely heard it said that way, so I'm stickin' to my guns here 😛

Lol anyway that music video was pretty funny…their music sort of sounded like Fall Out Boy…and similar to another band that I just can't think of the name of right now. But I guess that's not important. That video was pretty well done! And seeing the Colonel playing bass cracked me up lol…

feeno

That is so cool you found it. The whole video was done within about 2miles of my house. My nephew is very unique. He works for me a couple days a week, when he's not in school. Most homeowners are scared of him, so I introduce him as my nephew, and then after they warm up to him they end up loving him.

BTW, the Yankees and Phillies didn't even play last night. It's tonight.

Have you and that Christian girl, "Kristen"(?) I think, ever hook up and talk? She sounded pretty cool?

Damn I'm nosy.

Later Brothah, feen

Cori-Bee

Hope all is well. feeno

Cori-Beth

Hey feeno! Yes, all is well. Just been busy working on my online shoe shop and preparing for an upcoming Christmas craft sale for the past number of weeks. Not that Jeff wants to hear it, but, crocheted a number of slippers, made innukshuks, pet rocks (eyeballs on river rocks – kids love them!), seed bead earrings, fancy earrings, pillows, etc., etc. My mind has been wrapped up in so much of this, it's hard to think about anything else! lol Hope to post more on my blogs soon! (-: Maybe tackle the cliche thing. I must say, I have to agree with most of what Jeff said. Too many "buzzwords" in the Christian faith as well that we over use and become meaningless…

Well, should go. Yes, more earrings to make today. Christmas stockings! Well, at least until my eyes go cross-eyed from looking at the tiny beads too long! (-:

Corinne

feeno

Hey Jeff

Well, I ended up playing real well. We won both games. They batted me 4th in the line up. I didn't know many of the guys (beer league) but they were real cool and treated me well. I started out slow 0for2 and they were probably thinking I sucked. I felt bad, then when we needed a good hit I got one and that game ended up 2for4. The next game I went 3for3. But it was 40 degrees out and I needed to get warmed up.

I really like when you comment on my blog. It's good brain excercise.
Thanks. feen

Jeff

Hey feeno,

Very nice! Yeah 40 degrees is a little cold (I had to convert that to Celsius first, but yeah, it's cold!) but I guess once you get yourself warmed up and get into the game you'd tend to do better. But hey – at least you guys won both your games 😀

Leave a Reply