Mickey Z. -- World News Trust
June 14, 2018
Humans were compassionate before we invented religion. Hold that thought…
While out making rounds for my project, Helping Homeless Women - NYC, I often encounter church types who seem to be following orders. Religious groups commonly put together “blessing bags” for homeless people. While much of these bags’ contents can be helpful, there’s nothing specific or personal about such service. Yet, time and time again, I see adults and/or children drop off such a bag -- without eye contact -- and scurry off before any words are exchanged.
On the rare occasion they start a conversation, it’s almost exclusively to talk about their faith and encourage the homeless women to come to some kind of meeting.
Are these folks compelled to do “good deeds” by their church and thus, just get them over with to satisfy this requirement? Or do they feel compelled to engage in acts of service but believe they have to join an official group to do so? Do they ever think to ask the homeless woman precisely what she needs or wants and then provide her with far a more useful “blessing”?
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve known some fabulously compassionate people of faith (first and foremost, my mother). But I also regularly witness people on their way to Sunday service, walking right past a homeless woman. I can’t even calculate how many “evangelicals” I’ve observed in subway stations with religious pamphlets -- just a few feet from a homeless person.
Conversely, some secular folks display incredible generosity and altruism. To return to my opening thought: Humans were compassionate before we invented religion.
And humans were also compassionate before we invented (wait for it) “activism.”
We can light a candle in church or hold a candlelight vigil. We can ask the heavens for signs or we can carry signs and believe they create change. We can dress up on Easter Sunday. We can change our Facebook profile picture colors. We can shake hands and say “peace be with you” as Mass ends. We can hold hands in the shape of a peace sign. We can pray. We can virtue signal.
Or… we could engage in a form of triage. We could choose to see those around us, discern where help is needed most, and use our unique skill set, gifts, and resources to offer whatever direct action is possible. By doing so, we embrace the subversive pleasure of thinking for ourselves -- in the name of service.
We don’t need a religion- or activist-based hive mind to commit selfless acts of giving, teaching, listening, and love. I’d argue that -- under current conditions -- we can provide far more productive service by not following any such paradigm.
Humans are hard-wired for compassion. Ideologues thrive on this reality. Every time an individual decides they wish to “make a difference,” their instinct for kindness is funneled into one or both directions: religion and activism. It’s a form of dictatorship. Good people must have a stated reason for being good and must publicly embrace that reason by choosing -- post-service, ironically -- to align their motivations and their future behaviors with an umbrella dogma.
Each and every second, humans all across the globe become aware or “woke.” They choose to live a life of service. The reasons for this are as diverse as those individuals. Therefore, they don’t need any coercive and stifling labels or groupthink.
Every act of service is valuable in and of itself. Strike out on your own and share the love.
Mickey Z. is the founder of Helping Homeless Women - NYC, offering direct relief to women on the streets of New York City. To help him grow this project, CLICK HERE and make a donation right now. And please spread the word!
A woke activist and a religious zealot walk into a… by Mickey Z. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://worldnewstrust.com/a-woke-activist-and-a-religious-zealot-walk-into-a-mickey-z.