Why do a lot of people now have a 'Burger King' religion?


#1

This is something I used to encounter all the time back in my days of campus evangelism, and even now when I’m talking to people about Islam.

I use the term ‘fast food theology’ or ‘Burger King religion’ to describe the situation where people have chosen to pick and choose their set of religious principles from the whole religion, whether this be from one religion or many.

But what I’m wondering is why it seems more and more common for people to pick and choose the bits of religion that suit, and why it seems that those who stick to the whole of the deen (faith) are often ridiculed for doing so.

To my mind it is pure arrogance. It seems to assume that God has somehow ‘made a mistake’ or that God does not know what is best for us, and so we replace His will with our own. This is purely my view though…

I’m putting it here because I think it would be interesting to have some inter-faith/denominational perspective upon this. :slight_smile:


#2

I’m with you - I agree that, whatever religion we believe to be ordained by God for us to follow, we should follow it completely, or risk inventing our own man-made religion, and rather than following Christ, or God, we end up following ourselves - which can only lead nowhere.

Another phrase that irks me is, “The God I prefer to believe in …” (regardless of what follows) always makes me want to say, "In that case, you are an idolater, because there is only one God, and He isn’t interested in our preferences. We are the creatures; He is the Creator, so it makes no sense to put conditions on Him. It’s as if my painting said to me, "The jmcrae I prefer to believe in would not make the sky pink :dts: " at the very same moment that the jmcrae who actually exists is, in fact, making the sky pink. :smiley:

If the painting had free will to obey my will or not, and it was choosing not to have a pink sky at the moment that I needed it to have a pink sky, it would end up in Gehenna - the dumpster out back - together with the potato peelings and the coffee grounds - and I would start over on a new canvas.


#3

[quote="jmcrae, post:2, topic:288325"]
I'm with you - I agree that, whatever religion we believe to be ordained by God for us to follow, we should follow it completely, or risk inventing our own man-made religion, and rather than following Christ, or God, we end up following ourselves - which can only lead nowhere.

[/quote]

:thu:

Another phrase that irks me is, "The God I prefer to believe in ..." (regardless of what follows) always makes me want to say, "In that case, you are an idolater, because there is only one God, and He isn't interested in our preferences. We are the creatures; He is the Creator, so it makes no sense to put conditions on Him. It's as if my painting said to me, "The jmcrae I prefer to believe in would not make the sky pink :dts: " at the very same moment that the jmcrae who actually exists is, in fact, making the sky pink. :D

It seems that in a world which allows you to personalize and edit everything from your clothes to your computer, the idea of the unchangable is unfashionable and unwanted.

If the painting had free will to obey my will or not, and it was choosing not to have a pink sky at the moment that I needed it to have a pink sky, it would end up in Gehenna - the dumpster out back - together with the potato peelings and the coffee grounds - and I would start over on a new canvas.

The whole point of a painting is that it obeys the will of the painter in taking the form He chooses.


#4

It is the “essentialism” of Fr. Seraphim Rose run amok – what I get out of X religion or X practice is what matters, not what my professed religion actually says I should do or not do. So it is that for many people who don’t really have a faith of their own (they have a faith passed on by their grandparents, or that is the majority in their country or ethnic group, or whatever), whatever is old and distinctly foreign becomes hallowed by its antiquity and perceived “authenticity” (translation: it’s not the Catholicism/Methodism/Anglicanism/whatever that I already think I know), and so they kind of mix it in there. Sure, Christ says take up your cross and follow Me, but Buddha is a happy, smiling fellow…well, which would you rather follow? So we remake God as the benevolent smiley guy we’d like, or some kind of cosmic Santa Claus, or holy vending machine. Real God, real faith, real religion…these are all things that are too hard, too demanding, too “judgmental” or “hateful” or “discriminatory” (the unholy triad of our age), etc. Fake versions of these things are much easier to handle and incorporate into our essentially atheistic lifestyles.

People are lazy, basically.


#5

Exactly! The answer lies in the very question - it is because we are used to things like Burger King where we can have whatever we want on demand, and modern technology where we tailor everything to suit our whims.

I have thought about this subject too, and what I’ve come to discover is that it seems to actually have a foundation in tacit agnosticism - “We don’t, or can’t know absolute truth, so I’ll believe what I want and you’ll believe what you want and everyone should just leave each other alone.”


#6

ego, pride, selfishness?


#7

My argument to that second bit is that we may not have proof of some absolute proof but that is not to say we cannot draw somw conclusion about it using logic. Take the Catholic stance on abortion: this has always been amajor belief of Catholics that abortion is wrong, even where medical research into it has been missing. This is based on natural law arguments and logic as well as scripture. Now the evidence in medical literature is stacking up for the harmful effects of abortion Catholics are being proven right.


#8

In case anyone is wondering…

youtube.com/watch?v=FkY2hRCb0PQ

The title of this thread is priceless.

-Tim-


#9

Maybe some folks don’t have an awareness that they have a concrete source of all truth to rely upon. So they are left with doing their best themselves to discern truth on their own. A desire to find truth and hold to what is truly true seems a positive thing.


#10

This was a phrase I learnt from my university chaplain who headed our evangelism team.
I lifted the term ‘fast food theology’ from a YouTube video by a guy called theamazingatheist who made a video of that same name commenting on the sheer number of different denominations of Christianity.


#11

I think the tradition of the religion itself may play a role in the fast-food mentality. Judaism has a history of diverse beliefs beginning in ancient times. It also has a history that encourages reasoning, questioning, and debating from the rabbinical period of the Talmud. Therefore it is not so surprising that it has subdivided into several branches with differing philosophies about the Torah. Even Orthodox Judaism is not uniform in its beliefs, and rabbis are known to argue over interpretation of the Law, which is not always so easy to understand in the first place.


#12

There’s likely arrogance but also it’s difficult to overcome a predisposition against something, or to drop a predisposition towards something. Among my friends who are church-shopping, I’ll often hear “I like them except for they don’t oppose abortion” or “I like them except they’re against gay marriage”.

Whether that’s an arrogance in and of itself is another question,though embracing entirely a faith means also embracing all the rules, some of which may not even be well-known. I can think of difficulties I have with my own faith, though I’d resent being called a “cafeteria Catholic” because those whom I consider as such differ for entirely different reasons.

Yeah, probably some arrogance in there.


#13

[quote="itullian, post:6, topic:288325"]
ego, pride, selfishness?

[/quote]

prayer, reasoning, understanding, conscience, faith?


#14

Islam is much the same, with varying schools of thought as to Qur’anic interpretation or interpretation/acceptance of particular Sunnah/hadith. But when it comes down to it, all Muslims consider themselves part of one ummah (nation) with one deen (faith) and that ultimately human quibbles about religion are secondary to God’s own knowledge, and so there should be and isn’t Muslim dogma.

Debate and discussion aren’t in themselves ‘bad’ or such, but there is a difference between striving to do God’s will by studying and discussing Scripture and picking and choosing bits of religions and Scriptures to suit their own needs. One has Allah at the centre of things, one has the self at the centre.


#15

GOD knows what is best for us, and He dwelled personally to this earth in a human form to show the right path for us, BUT we choose to divert from His true path for many reasons like wealth, politics, sex, (you know what I’m talking about) ;).


#16

Wealth, politics and sex are some of the biggest scourge that causes the downfall of man as they become the source of disobedience to God. There are many examples of that in the Bible but greed of wealth in particular can have the consequence of death.

In Joshua 7, God’s word vividly illustrates the principle of wrong priorities. The city of Jericho had been burned (Joshua 6). God commanded that no one shall take and keep the precious metals and ores of Jericho, but instead placed them in the treasury of the Lord’s house. If they obeyed, it would reveal that pleasing God was more important to them than possessing worldly treasures.

But as we see, one of Joshua’s leaders, Achan did not. He took some of the devoted things – silver and gold because he coveted them and hid them in the earth inside his tent. The anger of the Lord burned against of the sons of Israel. Achan and his family were punished and put to death.

There are some people who speak against what God had done in Joshua because they cannot possibly follow the strict order of God. The temptation of wealth is too much to resist. So they made their own laws and allowed for spoils of religious wars to be for personal benefit instead for the use of the church and people of God. Today we see some religious leaders owned in their possession wealth that they got from their religious work. Some even own fleet of limousines or even personal jet planes. These are obviously not real prophets of God but their own.


#17

Thoroughly enjoyed that video…it’s SO perfect for this thread! :thumbsup:

I agree that there are many who are unaware of this. I have recently talked with a person who believed that all we are left with is the Bible…SacredTradition somehow never made it through history. But what I found in talking with him was that he wasn’t realy open to accepting any Truth that conflicted with his curent beliefs. Sacred Tradition that he was shown, going back to 70 AD (the writings of the ECF’s) became nothing more than early “Catholic lies” to him. Soem people dont’ reallly want to know Truth…unless it suits having it “[their] way”.


#18

Indeed, in the Qur’an there is a warning against those who fought in the Muslim armies for the sake of their own greed, for gold, slaves, land or even their own simple glory, especially in the battles at Uhud and Badr.

And it seems that money is still a major factor in religion today. As you say, many ministers have fleets of expensive cars, mansions and other expensive things, bought with money from their churches.

Seems that modern society in particular suffers from the cult of the self, where people’s ‘rights’ to do as their please have been encouraged to the point where their responsibilities to God, to other people and to authority barely get a mention.


#19

The truth often requires change, and I think that is part of why we are tempted to ignore or deny it. I think this reluctance to change can affect us even after we convert and turn to the Lord. That is one of the reasons I find confession helpful. We rend our hearts regularly for that.


#20

Because it is easier to assume God has to conform to us rather than us to Him. It is much more difficult to conform to God.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.