One of the big reasons that people have a problem becoming a Christian is that they think being a Christian isn’t any fun. You can’t sleep in on Sunday, you have to practice self-control to the righteous degree, essentially, you have to stay on the narrow path. The party is over on the broad path, which as far as options go, seems a whole lot easier and a whole lot more exciting. But is it really?
On the broad path you can really just ‘enjoy’ life in the Hedonistic sense. Drinking as much as you want, when you want. Sex with no strings attached. You want to get high? Sure, just pick your poison. Someone crosses you the wrong way, hey, punch him in the face (he had it coming anyway). Foul language makes you cool. Who cares if you’re lying, you’re getting ahead right? Ladies, you wanna find that dream guy, wear next to nothing, that’s sure to attract the right types. Feeling blue? Go buy something new, like a car, or clothes, or anything that makes you feel better about being you. Who cares if most of the people around the world are hungry. Of course I could just keep going on, but I think I made my point.
I have to tell you, I lived a life of sin that I’m sure made Satan proud (or at least sure of his ownership of my soul). My favourite sins were fighting, fornicating, boozing and drugging. I thought I would miss these sins and truth be told, sometimes I do (no sex before marriage as a 30 year old male is tough and as someone who liked to solve his problems by punching them, trying to remain peaceful is almost just as hard). As time goes on though I realize more and more that sin (including my favourites) weren’t really fun, they only appeared to be, and the longer I go without them, the more convinced of this I become.
Here are a few reflections on my old favourite pass-times:
As a former doorman (bouncer) I wish I could forget how many people I have had to take out of the club holding their face together from having it slashed with a broken bottle, or how many ambulances I’ve called because some guy (minding his own business) got lit up in the alley, or brawls I have broken up that ended with one or more close to death. The club is nothing but a little mini war zone on a ceasefire that can really go off in a big way at any moment (especially cheap draft night). Try working at a bar and see in six months how you feel about the bar scene.
There is also the red-light aspect of the club scene. Guys and girls all dressed up, showing what they got, trying to be a front-runner in that all night meat-market. Ladies, let me tell you now, you are not going to find the kind of guy you want to take home to your parents at a bar. Fellas; ditto. One of the scariest things that women have to watch out for is the ridiculous amount of perverts who have no problem dropping something in your drink and then offering you a ride home. Scary stuff. Of course rape isn’t the only horrible thing that can happen in the pursuit of lusts. Everyone likes attention, and after a few drinks lay waste to your inhibitions, that person at the end of the bar giving up the bedroom eyes starts to look pretty inviting. Next thing you know, the two of you are in bed together. Sure they make condoms, but let me tell you, enough drinks in you coupled with a little foreplay and suddenly not having a condom isn’t such a big deal. With almost 54 million abortions and a populace with INSANE rates of STI’s, I think this fact is pretty much undisputed. There is nothing like an STI to turn your world upside down.
So how about drugs? They’re pretty fun right? I mean a little weed never hurt anyone did it? I concede there are worse things, but as someone who finally managed to give up smoking dope (for about 8 years almost everyday) I can tell you personally that I was wasting my life on the pot. It makes it OK to be bored and after years of abusing it, it will change you.
But pot is not the big one, see I don’t believe that weed is even a gateway drug, I believe booze is the gateway drug (although these days people seem to be skipping right to the big leagues). Once you start clubbing it won’t be before too long that you will run into someone who will want you to do some blow (cocaine) with them. I tried coke once (for four years). I went from recreational user, to full blown addict in a matter of months. I got into working for the guys who were dealing it, it got pretty ugly. But coke isn’t even the worse of the bunch. The thing about hard drugs is that once you start doing them you always need to up your high, so you move onto things like crack or heroin or meth. I have lost count how many people I know who have lost their lives, both literally and figuratively because they took that next step. By the grace of God I never did take that step, and by no means do I look down on those who have. It breaks my heart to see someone going down that road, and it’s a monster that most people never can shake. So sad, but they didn’t start out as addicts and were normal once. Trying drugs is a lot like playing an extended game of Russian roulette, putting more bullets in the chamber with each spin.
Then of course there is the booze. Like I said earlier, I think that booze is the real gateway drug into the hard stuff, with the way it lowers your good sense to the level of non-existent. Have you ever heard the old saying ‘for one douchebag just add alcohol’? Guys I can’t stress this enough, I have spoke to thousands of drunk people working the door, you are not funny, articulate, interesting or wise. You are annoying. At the start of the night everyone is great to be around, but once you get past 11 that’s when Mr./ Mrs. Hyde comes out to play. Also, we can’t forget about alcoholism. Sure you see extreme cases on TV shows like Intervention, and we all sit there shaking our heads. But it truly is the pot calling the kettle black, as most people have some mild functional form of alcoholism. Usually starts with going out once a weekend drinking, then Friday and Saturday, then of course maybe a Wednesday or a Thursdays gets thrown in there and before we know it we can’t go to any kind of social function unless there is booze. Me, I was a drunk, and I don’t miss it one bit.
Someone might say that living dangerously is part of the fun and I think to a certain extent that’s correct. We as humans crave excitement, but that excitement is short lived and really only prima facie. You have to constantly keep upping the anti and the only limit is consequence. Maybe these things pump your gas, they did for me for the longest time, then they too became boring, unsatisfying and ultimately detrimental. Most of the ‘friends’ I met became life long drinking buddies, but nothing more. The women came and went, no love, just lust and I have destroyed my nasal cavity from all the cocaine I did. I am physically scarred from being hit with beer bottles, mentally scarred from being brutally jumped by over thirty people (I had boot marks from my head to my feet) and have broken my hand so many times that I loath rainy days for the pains of arthritis. These things which seemed fun in my teens and twenties really came with some serious consequences when I got older. I don’t think most would heed my warning. I think most have to go out and get a taste for themselves, like the prodigal son. But more times than we like to admit, the son never returns. That’s the sad reality of life and whether we like it or not, it is reality.
Now that I’ve reflected on the demons of my past, how about the angels of my present?
Well, for one thing, I found a church that I honestly look forward to going to every Sunday. The music is awesome, the people are great and I leave feeling energized for the week ahead of me. I never thought I would say this, but I like church. They are not used to seeing a guy like me (big, tattooed and scared) so everyone wants to talk to me about how I became a Christian, I guess they find me interesting. I get invited to dinners and Bible studies (don’t roll your eyes, these things are fun too). I have to be honest, I have never felt more accepted and loved and when I’m feeling down, people are really there for me, even just to lend an ear. I like that.
I have also found that since I don’t do the party thing any more that I have time to pursue my life’s passions. I have time to read the books I want to read, I get to the gym regularly, my health has improved ten-fold, I have hobbies now. I have friends that aren’t part-time, but full-time. They just like me for me and I am very grateful for this. My pastor calls me up to go for coffee’s, my apologetics group meets up a couple of times a month and we stay in touch in between. There is also more women then men in church, so I’m pretty excited that I might be able to find a best friend and partner (sure beats the strippers I was dating before). It really is an exciting time in my life.
So is Christianity any fun? I think it is. It is a huge change in lifestyle, but once you make some big changes and look back, you can’t help but conclude that it was for the best. The only time I have ever felt truly happy is when I have been walking the Christian path. You might think Christianity equals boring, but in all honesty it has been the most rewarding thing I have ever done in my 30 years on this planet. Give it a try, you might find it’s not so bad too.