Is Religion a Crutch?

Rabbi Aron Moss contributes regular Q&A commentaries to Gather the Jews.  Rabbi Moss is the proprietor of Nefesh and can be reached at rabbimoss@nefesh.com.au.  The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Rabbi Moss.

crutchesQuestion:

I think religion is a crutch. G-d is for the weak and the needy. Don’t you have the independence to get through life on your own?

Answer:

You’re right. Religion is a crutch, a sign of human weakness. And to be honest, religion is not my only crutch. I am so weak, I need a whole array of support mechanisms to prop me up and keep me going.

I need food. As embarrassing as it is to admit, I am totally dependent on eating. Without food, I would probably not have the strength to do much at all. My body does not nourish itself. It needs outside help. So I eat.

I have an emotional crutch too. I need other people. If it weren’t for the support of my family and friends I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today. And while we are on the subject, I am also quite dependent on my shoes. My feet would be really sore without them.

The human is a fragile being. We are not self-sufficient. We depend on external sources for our survival. We need to be fed, we need to be loved, and we need shoes. I thank G-d every day, for it is He who provides me with food, family and footwear.

But above all, I thank Him for giving my life purpose. Just as I can’t nourish myself without resorting to the outside, I can’t give my life real meaning without seeking beyond myself.

Maybe that makes me weak. But I think it gives me strength. Even if I’m hungry, lonely or barefoot, as long as I have divine purpose, I can face any challenge.

All the best,

Rabbi Moss

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