The war on organized religion usually manifests itself in battles around Christian holidays like Christmas and Easter, yet minor skirmishes abound at other times as well. The latest foray emerges once again from the realm of that field which refers to itself as science. The headline from the BBC blared, “Religion may become extinct in nine nations, study says.”
The piece is full of the psychobabble and gibberish we’ve come to know and hate from the so-called scientific community; that which offends the ears of the sensible but so impresses the foolish. I won’t bore you with the details, but the main thrust of the piece comes from a study that purports to base its findings on census data suggesting that as more and more folks list themselves as religiously unaffiliated, “social groups that have more members are going to be more attractive to join.” In other words, it just ain’t cool to worship anything other than the dictates of your own “lifestyle.”
Yet, almost as bad as the junk science of the article, were the comments of some of our intelligent youths, whose advanced technological skills are only surpassed by their grammar and spelling:
The sooner religon is consigned to history the better. There is no place in modern society for myths and legends, (except as a good story). I cannot understand how otherwise intelegent people can belive in a supreame being that controls all of our lives. This is just a throwback to the uneducated trying to rasionalise he workings of nature by inventing something to attribute it to!
Of course, we can’t believe in something that billions of people have held sacred for thousands of years, but utter credence and faith must be invested in computer modules; just ask Al Gore, a champion at rationalizing the workings of nature by inventing things. You’d think that this tired shibboleth — that man can have any effect on nature — would have been laid to rest by recent seismic events in Japan, Haiti, and elsewhere. The whole global warming canard has always reminded me of the old saying: everybody talks about the weather, but nobody ever does anything about it!
Now, I do agree that religious affiliation may be on the wane, but why? It’s because organized religion is too hard. What passes for modern religion is much more appetizing. In your zeal to save the planet, promote world peace or simply to “give back to the community,” you can live your life your way, using the gifts God gave you for whatever function you might designate and, most importantly, you can declare, loudly and often, that you are a “good person,” without any nagging prelates to dispute you. Give praise and glory to God? Let him get a Facebook page and do it himself, like everybody else.
And worst of all, for Christians, there’s that unpleasant situation with the Cross. Why waste valuable party time to meditate on something so bloody, cruel, and violent when you can just zip on over to the nearest multiplex and watch the latest vampire flick? The problem is, Christianity requires the heart of a child in matters of faith, and complete maturity in everything else; the polar opposite of the state of too many people in this world today. Indeed, more are concerned with maintaining an appearance of eternal youth than seeking eternal life.
Then there are the sociopolitical difficulties. After all, in this enlightened age, who can really take seriously the often embarrassing and inconvenient exhortations like this, from Pope Benedict XVI:
May you find the courage to proclaim Christ, “the same, yesterday, and today and for ever” and the unchanging truths which have their foundation in him. These are the truths that set us free! They are the truths which alone can guarantee respect for the inalienable dignity and rights of each man, woman and child in our world, including the most defenseless of all human beings, the unborn child in the mother’s womb.
Christianity is founded on love; the sort that promotes as its greatest application the sacrifice of one’s life for one’s friends; a love that seeks to give and not take. Sadly, in this country and in most of the world, this kind of love only manifests itself in religious or military life. Likewise, marriage — the real kind, not that which is grounded in sexual gratification — is supposed to reflect this total giving of oneself, which is open to procreation; the way in which two become one. The antithesis of this, of course, is a culture that promotes abortion and euthanasia; the elimination of those who are all-dependent on this sacrificial love.
Yet, despite all this, true religion will never be extinct as long as the yearning of the human spirit to rise to its Creator remains in men’s hearts. The danger though, is whether or not, amid all the noise and technology, men will be able to listen to his call.