“Killing kittens is fun.”
“Whoa, Amy. What the heck? What is going on here? Oh my gosh, did you hear that Amy Thomas said that killing kittens was fun? She is a horrible human being.”
“Now, hold on guys. Just a minute. That is not what I said.”
“Oh yes, you did. Somebody posted it in a meme on Facebook and I saw it. It’s true! They were your words!”
“Well, that’s only partly true. You didn’t read what I really said. You just took a piece of something I said out of context and formulated judgement based on that without taking the time to read my actual words. What I really said was: ‘Killing kittens is fun. That is, if you are an evil and heartless individual. Serial killers often start out harming or killing small animals.’ Takes on a whole different meaning when you read it in its entirety, doesn’t it?”
This happens a lot nowadays. Honestly, I feel like we can’t take anything at face value and we have to constantly be vigilant for the truth. It’s exhausting really, because if you decide that you aren’t going to be intellectually lazy, you are forced to check into EVERYTHING.
So, where am I going with all this? Well, this week I saw something that bugged me. Someone posted this meme:
The person posting this was using this as a reason to not go to church. Gandhi is a respected individual and so anything he said holds a lot of merit. Believe me, I have nothing against Gandhi and his peaceful revolution against England is something that is to be admired. I believe he was a good man and had many good things to say. Problem is, he never said this. When I saw this, I thought two things:
1) “Well, duh, God would not have a religion since He is the one being worshipped. So what’s your point?” But, I knew this was not the reason that thousands of people were posting this meme. Which led me to ask…
2) “Did he really say this?” If he did say this, in what context? I wanted to read this quote in the context it was being used so that I could get a handle on his thoughts. If he did say this quote it isn’t like he said this sentence in a vacuum. He didn’t just walk out somewhere and state, “God has no religion” and then walk away. If he said it, there had to be a dialogue around this sentence. I googled it and googled it and looked through all his quotes. I looked upwards and backwards, but finding this quote anywhere other than in a meme is impossible. Now, people have said that they love this quote from him, but you can’t find any reputable site that shows he ever said this.
What does this mean?
Well, it means that people are using a well-liked, intelligent man to push an agenda. Dishonest people know that people will listen to what this very religious man has said, because, well, he’s Gandhi. So, they put words in his mouth hoping that people will glom onto it and start to follow it. They’ve done a pretty good job, because the lady that I saw post this, uses it as justification for being spiritual and not religious.
But why spiritual and not religious? Well, the popular idea goes that religions are bad and control people, but being spiritual never leads to that. This is dangerous thinking. I’ve had tons of people tell me, “I’m spiritual, not religious.” When I ask what they mean by that they say, “I don’t need a church to tell me what to do. I can read the Bible and talk to God in my house and that’s all I really need.”
In honest curiosity, I then go on to ask how often they are reading scripture or praying or doing anything “spiritual” and I always get a glazed over look and they quickly change the subject. Now, that isn’t to say that there aren’t spiritual people out there that do read their faith’s book and pray often. But, is that what’s best?
I’m going to speak about Christianity because that is what I know. When we are baptized we become children of God. In the Bible we are told that we are the body of Christ. He is the head of the Mystical Body, we are the body. All children of God make up the body. Using our many talents and abilities, we carry out God’s will here on earth. Well, how do we do this? By being apart of the Church. Let’s look at an example.
Let’s pretend that I am the thumb in the body of Christ. I’m extremely important. I help the hand work properly. But, let’s say that I decide to remove myself from the body in order to be spiritual and do my own thing. So, I cut myself off of the body. To look at me, I’m still the thumb. But, how much better would I be if I was attached to the body? The Church is weakened when members start cutting themselves off from the body and we are not united. United we are strong, broken apart we are weakened. I would wager that this is what is intended by using this meme and guising it as an insightful quote from a respected man. It’s something to consider.
But, what bothers me most is that with the proliferation of the internet, slander and taking things out of context runs rampant. This is dangerous and incredibly wrong. My point in the example at the very beginning is to show how character and reputation can be ruined by taking things out of context. It also leads to people believing in things that were never said or are just not true. This unethical practice causes confusion and mistrust, not to mention it’s just morally wrong. It’s tough to check out every little thing that you read or come across, but if we don’t and we allow lies and deceit to be the bigger voice, we will lose everything that we hold dear. Our country, our children, our lives are worth the effort of seeking the truth.