Due to circumstances beyond my control I was walking through the hallways of my former parish on a Sunday morning. I recognized a few faces, but did not bump into anyone that I know well or would normally stop to chat with. The parish is predominantly white middle class and so were the people I saw.
They were all very nice, all smiles and “good mornings.” About what you would expect at a church in a small city. People seemed content, if a bit rushed. The walls were, for the most part, covered with inspirational slogans from both religious and non-religious sources. Very pleasant.
Here in America it is impossible to generalize about individual Christians, because the vast majority of people you meet are at least nominally Christian. I have met many people of a sincere and deep Christian faith. Most of the people in that category I like very much. My religious friends are often selfless, giving, prayerful and generally content in life. They often ascribe their peace of mind to their religous faith and the action of God in their lives.
And I say, “Power to them.” 🙂
I will not deny the possibility that perhaps God has in fact entered their lives and hearts, and if so, that is wonderful for them. There is, of course a totally non-supernatural explanation. The community of church and the faith in something beyond themselves has been found in most cultures to create a sense of happiness and committment. In fact, this is the path of the Buddha in a nutshell. The best aspect of most religious practices is to lose yourself in the “other.” In Christianity it is God or Jesus, in Buddhism humanity or the cosmos.
I just find that the latter makes more sense to me.