Our society has become so self centered and hedonistic society, and by no means am I innocent of this. But as I listen to the way my peers talk and listen to the news, I am disheartened by how immensely self centered we have become.
I’ll start with the birth control debate. This is probably getting old, but I can’t ignore it. I know everyone has very different views on sex, marriage, pregnancy, and contraception and that’s fine. I know some people are ok with sex before marriage. I know some people are ok with artificial contraception. And I accept that it is their choice to make. They don’t answer to me. So, as long as they are informed about all the options, they can make whatever choice they like. But it’s gotten to a point where it’s not just having the right to have sex without (supposedly) the consequences. It’s gotten to a point where that lack of consequence needs to be free to the individual and now people who do not believe in artificial contraception must pay for it. Really and truly, I don’t care if you want to have sex without the chance of pregnancy, that’s your prerogative (though I hope someday you will see the beauty of waiting and naturally planning a family). I’m not going to ask that artificial contraception be made illegal. But don’t make me (if I were to become a small business owner) pay for it. And the crux is that the people who seem most upset about the religious fighting back are those who can probably afford to pay for it themselves, or at least for a copay. I’m all for providing access to free preventative healthcare, especially to those who actually need it to be free, when that healthcare actually prevents a disease and not a natural part of life.
We insist that everyone accept our lifestyles as valid and equally good. Even if they don’t say, “No, you can’t do this,” but instead say, “I’m not going to stop you, but I don’t condone it either, ” it’s never good enough. We seek constant validation for our way of life and we condemn those who don’t agree. We expect validation of our views but refuse to validate the views of those who don’t agree. I will admit that this one is a slippery slope. A line has to be drawn somewhere. Not everyone can be right and we have to live our lives on a search for the truth and proclaim it when we find it (and this may come across as trying to have our views validated). But at the same time, we have to avoid trying to force others to see what we see and accepting our way of life as valid, for that is not the way to win others over. Love and patience is how we win others over, not forcefulness.
We ignore the poor because we are so concerned about ourselves and making our lives as enjoyable and “blissful” as possible. People talk about making things better for them and want the government to step in and fix it all. They want to take money from the rich and give it to the poor. But how many of us ever personally do anything to help the poor? How many of us pass by the man or woman with the sign asking for any help that can be given them without a second thought? How many of us volunteer at the local homeless shelter or food pantry? How many of us donate clothes and food to organizations that help the poor? How many of us continue to live in homes with way more things than we could ever need instead of living simply and helping those who can’t even afford the basics of living? How many of us blame the poor person for their situation without ever taking the time to hear their story? I know am guilty of doing (or not doing) all of these things on many occasions. Instead of waiting for the government to step in or for the poor man to “get off his butt and find a decent job,” how about we go out and purposefully help someone less fortunate than us? Maybe then the government wouldn’t even need to step in. Maybe if all of us who have a little extra would use that to help those in need instead of buying the latest gadget from apple or that fabulous pair of designer jeans there wouldn’t be so many people living in poverty, barely able to eat enough to survive.
All of these things, to me, seem to be a result of our very hedonistic nature in our society. We only think of what will feel good in the moment. We do what we want when we want without taking into account morals or potential consequences. And on the rare occasion that we do consider the consequences, we only try to do everything in our power, or demand others do everything in their power, to remove the consequences. We don’t consider what is better for us in the long run. We only think about the now, pleasure in the moment. Unfortunately this is something I too am guilty of at times.
I pray that we as a society will learn to take accountability for our actions and that we will learn to help those who are in need. I pray that we will accept the consequences and risks of our behaviors and will foot our own bills for whatever we deem necessary to avoid said consequences. I pray that individuals will take the time to do something for those in need in their area, whether it be buying the beggar a meal or giving them a few bucks, or even just listening to their story. I have not lost all faith in humanity. I know that we can become a nation that is others centered rather than self centered.
And now I will step down off my soap box and get back to my homework.