Does religion get in the way? Is progress mostly from people with no religion? Should we just follow the science?
Here is a quiz. See how many of these expressions you can understand without looking in a dictionary:
- Mark of the beast
- Spirit filled
- Back slider
- Born again
- New testament
How did you do? Your score out of ten can show how religious you are, in traditional religion. If you scored eight or more, you are probably a regular and long-time church-goer. A low score probably means you are modern; people don’t know much about old-time religion these days.
So, are we losing our religion? Is God disappearing from this world? Are we following science more, and superstition less?
Yes, maybe, and no.
Researchers looked at Americans and their religion, and they found a division. We are not all travelling together anymore. What we all think is not a question now.
Religious people have hardly changed, and they would probably score high on the quiz. People who are not religious are becoming less religious, and they will probably score lower on the quiz:
Some of us are changing. Comedians can joke about God, and people laugh. Probably the ones who don’t laugh, don’t go to the show.
You might have heard of Heather McDonald who has a life filled with modern and progressive thinking. She is more than fully vaccinated, for example. She also made a joke “Clearly Jesus loves me the most!” Right after she told that joke, things happened on stage:
Religious people will probably say “See what happens when you mock God.” and the other side will just explain it as coincidence.
We are divided.
This is a problem that we need to fix. I live in Canada and I see growing divisions between neighbours and friends, mostly over COVID restrictions and protests. I see the growing divisions, and I am concerned. I hope you are too. Dividing into warring sides will give us a terrible future.
I was raised in a church-going family that could probably score one hundred percent on the quiz. There is a good side. My friends at school had personal problems that I never experienced. Also, many of us church kids found the truth that stayed with us for a lifetime.
There is also a downside. I knew church kids who learned how to play the game, and keep the old people happy. For too many, God was an idea, and not an experience.
The other side, not religious, was turned off by superficial religion.
2) No Religion:
I used to wonder how my friends at school could become like me. That seemed impossible. I tried to imagine them changing their language and personal habits, and then learning the words to the hymns that we sang in church. We never heard that music in high school.
Now I have friends who are from the ‘no’ side, and they ask me questions about God. With all the stress about COVID and political arguments, some of them wonder why our world is changing.
I have found something that doesn’t fit on either side.
If you know the story of Jesus, religious people rejected Him, and executed him when He threatened their power. We are told “The common people heard him gladly.” (Mark 12: 37) Those were the people on the ‘no’ side.
I hope we all find this truth, in our divided and stressful times. Jesus is not an idea to impress our families with. He is also not a joke. There is reality that we need to find:
Watch out for the experts in the law. They like walking around in long robes and elaborate greetings in the marketplaces, and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ property, and as a show make long prayers. These men will receive a more severe punishment. (Mark 12: 38 to 40)