Website owner: James Miller
High religiousness; high selfishness, greed, badness
A number of years ago my wife, a hairdresser, took a job at a beauty shop. It was a nice shop, well located, and it got a lot of walk-ins. There was a Korean lady named Lucy working there, a lady of around 40 years old, who was an excellent hairdresser and who had a really big following, much larger than any of the other hairdressers. She seemed like a refined, very polite and nice lady, but there was a problem: Her station was right next to the door and she grabbed every person who came in the door. She would greet everyone who walked in with a big smile and say, “Have a seat! I will be with you shortly!” You expect that she will do her own ladies but when new customers come in, fairness would require sharing them with the other hairdressers. She was not inclined to share anyone. You can imagine that my wife and the other hairdressers working there were not happy about this situation. My wife complained many times to the shop owner, also a Korean lady, but to no avail. The shop owner understood and sympathized, but she was afraid of Lucy. If she were to make Lucy angry and Lucy were to leave, she would take her large following with her and that would do heavy damage to the shop. Because of this situation, hairdressers tended to not stay long at the shop and my wife herself eventually left. However, there was something interesting about Lucy: When Lucy wasn’t busy, she would sit around reading the Bible and praying on her rosary (she was Catholic). Lucy had a couple of children in college studying to be doctors or lawyers or something like that and she perhaps felt she needed the money to help them. Anyway, this combination of high religiousness and high selfishness and lack of consideration for others presents an interesting contrast. I relate all of this because I have seen this kind of high contradiction in highly religious people more than once. In fact I have heard it said, “Religious people are the worst!” Right now my wife is working in a shop with another “Lucy” doing this same thing. Her name is Pas. She is a Latin American who is always talking religion. She is perhaps Pentecostal or some kind of evangelical. She also has a large following making her important to the shop and has also made enemies of all the other hairdressers because she aggressively, selfishly grabs everyone coming in. The hairdressers have been told they should share and take turns on new customers but she doesn’t do it. In fact she has taken to the habit of sitting in a chair outside the shop and grabbing people before they come in. She has even been taking the shop owner’s customers away from her by telling them that she can do a better job than the owner. The owner becomes so angry she is shaking, but does nothing. Everyone complains to her about this problem but she is too weak to deal with it. In fact, Pas was fired from her last job because of this habit of hers. It seems like people may be very religious but when it comes down to a choice between doing the right thing and money, in many cases, money wins. People may be religious but there is often a kind of disconnect between religion and practice. Religion and religiousness is one thing. Doing the right thing is another matter. The two things are not viewed as intimately connected. Many religious people seem able to rationalize just about any kind of conduct that they wish to engage in. When something like money is involved, many tune out that voice within that tells us of the importance of treating everyone fairly, justly and well. Perhaps they view life as a kind of combat zone where one has to be aggressive and fight for the things he wants and can’t worry about what harm he may inflict on others (when money is involved it is every man for himself and there are no rules).
Soki is a Korean lady who works with my wife. She is around 80, has three Mercedes, says she is worth a few million dollars, and is also very religious. She tells my wife she gets up early every morning and goes to mass at a local Poor Clares Catholic monastery. I won’t go into details but from many shocking tales my wife has related to me, I would describe her as a very mean, greedy, malicious, jealous, bad lady. How does one explain these kinds of contradictions? How can one be very religious and at the same time behave so badly toward other people? It is understandable that nonreligious people often feel that the religious people are the worst.
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