By Kenneth Justice
“There’s so much turmoil in the world and in my life. I graduated college in 2008, the housing bubble burst and I’ve never felt very much stability” she said
Last week in Chicago during my Drinking in the Culture Tour I met a late 20ish woman who brought up the subject of prayer, “Both of my parents are hardcore atheists, but I found that I feel much better about my life if I pray before I go to bed at night” she told me
“How did you learn to pray” I asked, “Do you have religious friends, Christian, Muslim or something that taught you about god?
“Nope” she said, “I’ve never really had any Christian friends at all. I guess when I was a teenager I just noticed people praying in movies or on television and I thought I would try it. I miss once in a while, but I would say that 90% of the time I pray before I go to bed” she said
Apparently her parents, especially her mother, gives her a lot of hell for praying, “I guess you would say that I’ve become more agnostic lately and my parents hate it. My mother thinks I’m stupid for not being atheist” she said
I’ve spent much of the past week thinking about the praying agnostic woman, I’d never had a conversation quite like that one and I keep asking myself what it is that would lead the daughter of two hardened atheists to a life of prayer; even though the young woman has had no direct Christian or religious influences in her life.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not throwing stones at atheists. It just struck me as odd that this young woman with no religious influences in her life whatsoever would adopt prayer to a god she doesn’t know or doesn’t even know is hearing her as an important facet of her daily life.
Perhaps the answer is simple; Western Culture is in a state of panic. After that damn housing bubble burst in 2008 the world we thought we were living in radically changed overnight. Entire economies all across Europe and the America’s went into a tailspin. The cost of gasoline (petrol) skyrocketed, the price of gold & silver hit record levels, people lost their houses to foreclosure, and bankruptcies became common fare.
Perhaps in a world that seems out of control; turning to a higher power for answers becomes a soothing salve for our aching soul. Young adults now live in a world that no longer offers them the promises given to previous generations; the baby-boomer generation was told that if they worked hard and committed themselves to certain company ideals then a nice little pension or retirement income awaited them alongside a vacation home in a warm climate. But any dreams of a rosy future have been destroyed by our failed economies.
Greece, Ukraine, the United States….the list of countries struggling financially is endless. Many countries are living on fumes and even the future of the European Union is in doubt. At some point we might see another great recession; some talking-heads believe the next big crash might be bigger than the one we experienced six years ago.
In a world gone mad people turn to prayer.
Admittedly, I’ve never been very good at prayer. For all my years attending church and being taught the intricate tenants of Christianity; prayer is something I’ve always struggled with and been uncomfortable around.
The agnostic woman explained to me that much of her prayer life is listing the things she is thankful for, “I kneel next to my bed and I thank god for everything that I’m thankful for and it makes me feel more grateful for my life” she said
Sociologists throughout the years often remarked that each generation tends to experience a gap between the ages; “older adults often have a difficult time connecting with young adults and vice-versa” they observe. But in this brave new world that we are living in, I’ve noticed that more than ever; older adults have been very understanding of what the younger generation is experiencing; things are so out-of-whack that all of us can see that the gap between the rich and the poor is widening before our very eyes. With each new day the middle-class shrinks.
In a world gone mad people turn to prayer.
Last week, workers protested outside a local fast food restaurant. The employees stood in a line outside the drive-thru window and prevented the place from operating. “We are overworked for the amount of money they pay us” the workers yelled. A good friend of mine is a hardcore conservative republican and even he says it is bizarre how hard they work fast-food employees, “When I used to work at a fast food restaurant it was the hardest job I’ve ever had. I was exhausted at the end of every day. During the rush hours the line would go out the door and the stress level was through the roof……all for a measly few bucks an hour that wasn’t even enough to make a car payment” he said
My Drinking in the Culture Tour has barely begun but already I’ve met people that have really challenged me to think. More often than not I find myself with more questions than answers, but at least it gives me something to think about as I sip my coffee each morning,
I will be in Pittsburgh in seven days! I’d love to have coffee with you; check out my homepage for dates and locations.
Categories: Culture & Society