So in response to the recent USA today article about people turning away from religion I have had several conversations mostly in cyberspace with Christians who give me way to understand why our culture is moving into being post-religious.
First, there is the knee jerk reaction and immediate assumption by some of us Christians that if people are not religious they are anti-Christian. (Oh and by the way if you are anti-Christian you are also anti-American). In fact the article suggested that all religions and religious tribes are losing ground. Instead of looking at the context and seeing that though these folks are not interested in religious institutions (and remembering that Jesus was not either) they are spiritual ; there is the immediate defensive posture that they are hostile to religion and so hostile to us and so hostile to God. There is no consideration of the idea behind Dan Kimball’s book that they might like Jesus but not the church (i.e institutional religion) .
Secondly there is what seems to me to be a weak confidence in God’s word and Jesus message that feeds the fixation on personal salvation as all that matters. I need to get heaven and the rest be damned. Religion is the ticket to heaven. Not faith mind you religion. So if we are losing our religion then we are shaking the very foundations of the faith. Never mind that Jesus said the gates of hell will not prevail against the the church. I believe that God in control and will ways be in control and though the church or religion may be shaken, the faith of Abraham, Jesus and Paul will not no matter what craziness we mixed up messed up human beings get into.
So I don’t blame the average pew sitter in this. it is some of our religious leaders that truly worry and scare. Watch the video that was sent to me to rebut my thoughts about living faithfully in a post-religious world.
[youtube OH1yOmij7Q4 nolink]
I don’t question speaker’s faith or belief. But this is a good example of how religion (which sets up the eeither or) can turn people away from the Christian faith which is so much more powerful, holistic and transforming that just eeither or propositions.
But there is blame to go around on all sides there are some folks with new perspectives on the faith that seem intent on disconnecting from the historical biblical Christian faith. It gives dogmatic people fodder for their views and lets them paint anyone not agreeing their dogmatic views with the same brush and leads to responses like the one below to my above thoughts.
Either or propositions? What? Are we all Hindus now too? Truth is ALWAYS an “either or proposition.” You yourself cannot follow your own line when you refer to truth as being Scripture. (No relativist ever can live his own propositions.) I do agree that salvation is “holistic” (I really hate all these goopy trendy words) – spirit, soul, body. But the great, overwhelming emphasis in Scripture was on the spiritual, the eternal, the Kingdom that flesh and blood cannot inherit.
Years ago church consultant Bill Easum suggested to a group of church leaders that one of the biggest challenges for Jesus followers moving into the future was going to be the question how can I follow Jesus without being a bigot. I think he was asking us to consider how can we stand for Jesus without blowing off the very people Jesus calls us to reach.
So I wonder what will faith look like in post-religious world? Will there be a church for the post-religious or will we all be heading to hell in an hand basket?
I wonder if defenders of the truth will descend on this blog to prove their point and share their view, we will see.