I went to church this weekend. This is not a common occurrence, although I was raised a Christian. Before I turned one, my godmother spoke on my behalf when I “stated” my belief in God at my baptism. At the age of 14, I confirmed this belief at my communion, after having spent much of my childhood (and another 5 years after that) at a Christian private school in Copenhagen. But when people ask me if I’m religious, I usually answer with a blunt “no”, because I personally don’t believe there is a God. That having been said, I don’t deny the existence of one, and I firmly believe that whatever religion someone believes in, is right for them. Who am I to say you’re wrong, how should I know? All I know is that I am not going to fake it til I make it.
It just so happens though that I live two blocks from the only Danish church in the United States. And at certain dates, like on Easter Sunday, they have events with food and beer, so naturally, I had to make an appearance. The Danish Church gives you beer. Let me just stress that. Jesus may have been all cool with turning water into wine, but serving Carlsberg is taking it to a whole new level. And for those of you who are so unfortunate to have never tasted Scandinavian food, you are missing out, because it is amazing. I haven’t had this good a meal since I was in Copenhagen. But that wasn’t what surprised me the most.
In order to gain access to the food and beer, I had to sit through a service, sing a few songs and listen to the priest speak. She talked about the stress of New York, said something about spending time with your loved ones at the last supper like Jesus did and how the love we give to one another is what we should hold on to, not the hatred of the actions that lead to his death (and revival). I may have zoned out a little bit in between the lines, but the basic idea was good and I actually really enjoyed the sermon, much to my own surprise.
Now, I have had friends who were really into bible studies, and I guess I can relate to finding comfort in written words, in fact that is how I feel about Harry Potter, but the Bible always seemed overrated to me. At least the way it is interpreted in the United States, where religion seems to be an outlet for a political agenda and have many restrictions of what you should and should not do. The Danish Protestant Church however doesn’t seem to judge in the same manner as more strict religions do, in fact, they are extremely laid back. Only rule is that you should always attempt to do good, and even if you fail to do so, you will still get into heaven as long as you understand that what you did was bad and that you regret it. Pretty basic right? They don’t care if you drink too much or have sex before you’re married, what really matters is that your intensions are good.
Although I won’t be waking up at 10 a.m. on Sundays to go to church again anytime soon, I am happy to have been raised with such strong values, because even though I don’t believe in God, I still believe in doing what is right and being the best person I can be to the people around me. Sure, I fall short sometimes, actually pretty often, but at the end of the day, my upbringing taught me that religion can and should be about loving and accepting your fellow human beings, and is more than just a tool used by politicians, terrorists and other idiots to impose crazy rules on society. So next time you find yourself having a moral dilemma, take a moment and ask: “What Would Danish Jesus Do?”