Manipulative jerk or devoted romantic?

So I just watched “You’ve Got Mail” tonight for probably the 20th time. My mom and I were flipping through the channels, saw that nothing truly worthwhile was on, and decided to enjoy a couple hours of a classic movie that we’ve both seen more times than we can count. And each time I come away with the same question:

Wasn’t Tom Hanks being completely manipulative for the final 45 minutes of the film, as he maneuvers his way into Meg Ryan’s heart? Is this right or fair?

Now me being of the male persuasion, I cannot truly answer this. So instead I pose the question, along with my line of reasoning.

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Discovering God, not denominational differences

We have all been raised to believe certain things. Regardless of your religious or political stances, you have been raised with a certain backdrop. The recent fad is for parents to try to avoid raising their kids with certain beliefs by providing unlimited freedom of exploration, but that in itself is a belief system.

We all inherit beliefs, and at some point in our lives we have to face them. Some do this in their early teens and others naively ignore it until they are too old for it to make a difference. But in the end we all must individually establish once and for all what we believe. I have to do it and so do you.

In my time at Pacific Lutheran, I heard several times about how evangelical Christians indoctrinate their children. Yes, they do. They also “indoctrinate” their children that it is proper to use the toilet facilities when nature calls and that one should not cross a busy street without looking both directions. This “indoctrination” argument is true for everyone and everything; it’s just a matter of how derisive we want to be in saying that parents taught their children to believe something.

However, in all fairness, the argument does have a point. Too many Christians do not actually know what or why they believe. They simply “believe” what they have been taught from childhood.

But this goes beyond the great stereotypical “Evangelical Christianity.” Every denomination is affected.

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