Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What to Give Up for Lent

The season of Lent begins tomorrow, and even if you're not a Catholic I challenge you to give up one (or all) of the following for the next forty days (or for as long as you live).

  1. Superstitious thinking - Maybe you're the sort of person that thinks walking under ladders or breaking mirrors is "bad", or maybe you own a lucky sock, penny, shirt, or animal foot. Perhaps you're afraid of certain numbers, or think something will happen on a given day just because of the numbers in the date. Maybe you think crackers can become human flesh, or that talking to yourself can help you find your car keys or cure your cold. For the next few days, attempt to willfully break yourself of whatever mental habit you have that can be labeled superstitious. Put away belief in magic and learn about the laws of nature.

  2. Credulity - If you're the kind of person who accepts things you're told without checking into the details, try for the next month to instead check into what you hear. Think about something you feel you know and actively check it out. For many faith is a virtue, but for these next few days, let it be a defect. Instead seek to back up claims you hear or ideas you come up with. The key point here is that you learn the what a reputable source is. The best sources are backed up by evidence. Gullibility won't get you as far as you think in this world.

  3. Apathy (especially towards the "god question") - If you'd rather not ponder on the existence of a Supreme Being, over the coming days I urge you to do so. A lot of people are apatheists; they don't care or just don't ever think about their position on theism. For this season of Lent, take some time and gather your thoughts on this matter. It's important to understand what you think about theology, because if there is no such thing that could be called "God", millions of people are wasting their lives (and hurting the lives of others). But if there is a god, it's the most important thing for us all. If you've already made up your mind on the matter, again toss aside apathy and speak out about it. If you haven't approached the question before, take the next few days and just think about how you feel. Do you really believe in God?