Wednesday, January 22, 2014

30 Days of Quotes About Whatever ~ Day 22 ~ Garrison Keillor

Day 22 ~

“Anyone who thinks sitting in church can make you a Christian must also think that sitting in a garage can make you a car.” 

― Garrison Keillor

Welcome back. Hoping to make this a bit more interesting for the last bit of the challenge, I decided to forgo the rest of the quotes about life and find ones that I wanted to write about more.

Like this one.

Do you know who Garrison Keillor is? He is a writer and humorist best known for his work on the A Prairie Home Companion radio show. He's what I would call an acquired taste, as people seem to love or hate his work, most of which revolves around witty observations about life as he sees it in his pseudo-fictional hometown of Lake Wobegon, Minnesota.

He speaks in almost a sing-songy tone and reminds me of the narrators of old movies.

On to the quote, which happens to be the most popular one about religion according to GoodReads.

“Anyone who thinks sitting in church can make you a Christian must also think that sitting in a garage can make you a car.” 

I love this quote. From the tips of my toes to the ends of the hair on my head. I have said something similar to this more than once when musing about my own observations on religion, though mine usually goes a bit like this:

Sitting in a church every Sunday doesn't make you religious, 
it just makes you habitual.

 I usually manage to piss someone off every time I say that, but I believe it to be true. I've seen, up close and personal, some of the damage that can be done by so-called religious people, even those who devoted their entire lives to the church.

You don't have to look hard to find settlements and allegations and charges and defrockings anymore, though often the abuses at issue had taken place many years ago. 

I know some of these victims. I know how they were quieted and hushed. You can't tell me that a truly reverent person would perpetrate crimes like that on innocent children and carry on as though they are doing the work of the lord.

Just don't buy it. Sorry.

It's not just the abuse cases either, I have known of people held up on some pedestal because of their work with the church, only to find out they are stealing, lying, sleeping with several members of the congregation at a time, using donations to buy drugs and more. I know people who proclaim to follow the teachings of Jesus, yet seem to have completely missed the point of the lessons.

Standing in a building occasionally (or even daily for that matter) doesn't mean anything to me. You have to walk the walk.

Do many people who attend church weekly do this? Sure! Not all of them, though, and certainly not just because they stand in a building. Church attendance, in my opinion is neither a requirement nor a guarantee. Faith is more than that.

My opinion is that faith isn't even necessarily tied to religion. (my opinion here, I don't intend to diminish what anyone else believes, regardless of what some may think)

I know plenty of atheists and agnostics who are genuinely good people. They don't have anywhere they are expected to be Sunday morning, they aren't living their lives out of fear or reward from some higher power, they are just good people. 

Being a good person, you could argue, is what being Christian is about.

Living an honorable life, having integrity takes a lot more than an hour a week. It's how you choose to live your life every day, every hour, regardless of where you happen to be standing at the moment.

Sitting in a church for an hour isn't going to make you a good person any more than standing in a garage will make you a car, Keillor is absolutely right about that.


  1. My cousin, whom I was raised as brother, started achurch with friends about 10 years ago. They are now 2K people strong and built a new building. He spends almost all him spare time there with his wife and 4 children. I love him but he;s very conservative and believes being in church is the only way.

    I have a personal relationship with God and it would surprise you how much praying and devotionals I do daily. But my family and I are "in between" churches right now.

    good post

  2. “Anyone who thinks sitting in church can make you a Christian must also think that sitting in a garage can make you a car.” What a true and accurate quote. I give this quote and post a 10.


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