Recently in class, we watched a documentary following two different people whose churches are in very close proximity to one another, yet they have contrasting approaches towards religion and possess different relationships with God. Susan belongs to St. Paul’s Episcopal and struggles with the topic of religion. She doesn’t question the belief in a higher power, but doubts her prayers are actually listened to. She doesn’t openly discuss her views on religion either, as she views it as a private matter. Susan asks God to show himself to her through a sign to confirm he is listening to her, and she “wants the guts to stick with” religion, as she doesn’t feel she is capable of being that committed to it. In my opinion, if she has trouble maintaining her religion, perhaps she is not truly in the right one. “Sticking with something” brings to mind taking a difficult course, or perhaps trying a strenuous diet and fitness regime, not practicing religion. Religion requires faith and hope, which will carry you through it. If you come to find you no longer want to associate with your current religion, why bother sticking through when you can find a better fit for yourself? Perhaps her personal struggles are confusing, but It is not something that will become easier through time if she does not try to evaluate herself.
On the contrary, Glenn Stover believes he was saved to tell people about the power of Christ. Formerly an alcoholic, he quit drinking and credits religion to fixing his life. He now wholeheartedly discusses his love for Jesus in a very public matter that might make Susan uncomfortable. While his life may have improved after he overcame his alcohol addiction, I wonder how much of that should be attributed to Christ, and how much was the lack of alcohol. He mentioned how his wife didn’t like drinking, so perhaps his sobriety helped their marriage. While he may have gotten his strength from Christ, it could be debatable how much was a personal decision removed from religion. Overall, these two people show contrasting strengths of faith in religion, and how it can affect people differently depending on how they feel about their current religion. While some religions give people strength, some give others self doubt and confusion.