Existence is occupied with trifling conversations, shallow relationships, and frivolous spending. Superficiality seeps into every aspect of life, so much so we wonder if it is endemic or built-in to the world we inhabit. The prevalent trend is to condemn religion for its superficiality however religion, in and of itself, doesn’t have the ability to be superficial—or meaningful for that matter. Religion wouldn’t even exist if it wasn’t for human beings.
Human beings are complex. We like to think we are simple, but for every answer we have there are two more questions. Even our definition of the word superficial is multifaceted and knotty. What is meaningful to me may be useless to someone else and vice versa. Therefore, I’ve concluded it isn’t religion or humanity, but superficiality that is superficial.
Superficiality is neutral. It not only seeps into religious organizations but also politics, business deals, and the sciences without batting an eye at status, style, or semantics. It camouflages itself as proud rituals and dogmas, amazing technology, pleasing promises, powerful drugs, more and more knowledge, or ecstatic relationships. But, in due time, we learn rituals and dogmas can be mind-numbing, technology can hog energy, promises can be broken, drugs can become addictive, knowledge can clog the brain, and relationships can go sour.
Superficial thoughts and behaviors can’t be pin-pointed because thoughts and behaviors are in a state of flux. Superficiality materializes when thoughts and behaviors cease to progress toward the divine.
Meaning is discovered in divine Life, Truth, and Love, not in a religion, person, scripture, or a physical location. Most of us have experienced something meaningful in life and love. The mistake is to hold onto the human thoughts and behaviors surrounding that experience. Instead, we can enter the trajectory of divine thoughts and behaviors and experience an expansion of that which is significant.