As we approach Christmas, I’ve been reminded again and again that the majority of Australians aren’t anti-Christian, because to be anti-anything it would imply they cared. What they are is apathetic. Jesus is not rejected with vitrol, but with a yawn.
It would be a misnomer to call such Australians Atheist. Atheists at least have conviction in their non-convictions. Atheists are at least interested in religious conversation if only for arguing against religion(s). No, what I keep encountering is indifference, a focus on the immediate, on the superficial. So I find my self wondering: what prompts people to care? And more: how do I increase my care for people who don’t care?
5 thoughts on “How to care for the apathetic?”
If people are yawning it’s to a metaphysical otherwordly religion that is a sort of aesthetic hobby for people “into that sort of thing”. You can’t be upset people don’t share your hobby.
Perhaps find out what does interest people and see how your god applies?
My experience is that it is a bit more complicated than that. People’s preconceptions can often get in the way of actually seeing what following Jesus is for me, and what it could be for them too.
I, for one, am as indifferent to otherworldly-style Christianity as the next guy. I find very little value in discussions about heaven, angels and life after death. I’m far more interesting in how to experience more life right here, right now, before death. How do I deal with stress? How can I become a better father? How can I live a life of significance? These as religious questions that concern me. Yet I find non-Christians often presume the former of me, and worse, dismiss anything I might say or do to the contrary as implausible.
I once had a woman say to me, “Oh, I rejected Christianity because I love spending time in nature, drumming, dancing, meditating with incense, etc.” “That’s very curious”, I said, “because I love doing all those things too, as a Christian.” She couldn’t quite believe it, but for me it was all quite normal.
It’s very difficult to shake some people’s preconceptions. I find many, for instance, view Christianity through a powerful anti/Catholic filter. Well, I’m not Catholic. I rejected the authority of the Pope back in my teens, I’m okay with condoms and I see worship as a way of life rather than a ceremonial occasion. So, bitch about the Pope all you like, I say, but don’t project him onto me, the Reformation was 500 years ago. That doesn’t stop them projecting the worst of Catholic style Christianity onto me though. When the apathy is grounded in Christianity imagined far more than Christianity experienced, its hard to extend an authentic invitation.
But beyond this, my deeper concern is the unwillingness of many Australians to engage in ANYTHING deep. I’m not talking just about Christianity here. I’m talking about anything beyond the world of night time TV, cricket and french fries. Forget the answers to the deeper things in life, they’re not even interested in the questions.
Matt, I assumed your not into airy Christianity as I enjoy following yous blog but that’s how many people will perceive such topics.
I take it as a rule that I am always finishing the last coversation someone had. If I mention anything to you, gardening for example, its like I’m standing in for the last person you talked gardening with. It’s a product of how much poor listening in the moment goes on.
Rest assured though that your conduct will impact on the next conversation someone has with a Christian even if you feel ignored in the moment.
As for the general disinterest of Aussies in anything, I disagree. I reckon its more complex and more about an anti-holiness streak in our culture.
To elaborate I think Australians (like many others too) will often advance in speech a standard below their actions so as to never to be caught out in hipocrisy.
That said of any country its hard to generalise and fear of ridicule in eternal culture dampens enthusiasm.