Are Religious People “Better” People?

I am a religious person. That’s part of my identity and how I navigate life. Yet, apparently, some people think that if you call yourself a religious person, it means you think you’re better than everyone else. Either that or you really ought to be better than everyone else.

This came up for me based on a comment I made on another blog. I won’t link to it, since the person who got upset with me did so because of me drawing attention to the negative review my book got on Amazon. He thought it was very low of me to point it out and ended with a very sarcastic “Oh, you’re such a spiritual person.”

And I thought, “Well, yeah, I am. That doesn’t mean that I always do everything right.” (Though I still don’t see any problem with discussing a review that someone posted publicly).

The same notion came up the other day when I was watching America’s Next Top Model: All Stars (I have terrible taste in TV!) One of the contestants is very vocally Christian. Which does get on my nerves, but she’s a sweet girl and very sincere in everything she does. I do respect her. One of the other girls got upset about something the Christian girl said and in the private interview, the Christian girl spoke about how her being a Christian doesn’t mean she’s perfect or does everything right. It means she cares and really thinks hard about her actions. But she still makes mistakes.

I feel the same way. I feel like being a spiritual/religious person doesn’t mean you don’t stumble. It just means that spiritual pursuits are important to us, are set at a priority.

Another side to this, though, is should a religious person be holding themselves/be held to a higher standard than not religious people?

There’s an aspect of I should “know better” because I’m spiritual. I guess it comes from the idea that I have a belief in a God who could discipline me if I weren’t being “good” but that an atheist doesn’t have to worry about pleasing anyone. So it is expected that a religious person would be more moral, etc.

I’m not sure that’s true, though.

What do you think? Should people who consider themselves to be religious be held to a higher moral standard?

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About Ambaa Choate

Ambaa is an American woman of European ancestry who is also a practicing Hindu. She is fascinated with questions of philosophy, culture, and the meaning of life. Join her in the journey to explore how a non-Indian convert to Hinduism experiences her religion.