Elvis Presley’s home was an abandoned church. Other churches are being turned into restaurants, schools, and shopping centers. No One is going to church any more. There is a saying, God hasn’t been to church for decades.
Why? Is religion not relevant any more? Or has the meaning changed?
There are a lot of people who describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious.” That defines the change.
The church as it used to be was the town hall of the community. It ran the school that educated the children. It was where people got married and buried. It was where the church leaders got together and decided, this is what social norms we will enforce, everyone who dissents is free to leave our valley. It was where young people met their future mates and went on dates.
Not any more.
Now our leaders are strangers whose names we don’t know. Our children are educated by people following a curriculum that was produced thousands of mile away. We meet our dates through on-line dating services. And Facebook has become a place where grandparents make a valiant attempt to keep up with the activities of their grown children and grandchildren.
No one knows anyone any more. No one knows God any more, or even if he’s alive or dead. Is there really a God? Or Gods? How many are there? Where are they? Who are they? What do they have to do with our lives?
Why should I care?
Because there are no atheists in a trench on a battlefield, and the entire world is about to become a battlefield.
We are busy surviving. We are busy making a living. We are busy with our lives. For now.
But the problems at our door are water shortages, food shortages, worldwide economic depression, rising crime, falling income, unemployment, air and water pollution, and the list goes on and on. Social order the world over is about to hit the wall, and when it does, there will be winners and losers, with far more losers than winners. Survival will become the order of the day. There are enough homeless people in just the Los Angeles valley to make up the third largest city in the United States. Repeat that all over the U.S. and how many people are on the streets with nothing to eat and nothing to do. What hope do they have? Hopeless people have nothing to lose.
People who have nothing left to lose turn to one of three things: drugs (and theft to support that habit), alcohol, or religion (any brand will do, as long as it gives them hope again).
There are those who would like to convince you that “that old-time religion” is the answer, but even the simplest mind realizes that it is an answer to a different question from another time. Why?
Because “religion” changes with the times, and times have changed.
The new religion is science, and the new priesthood is the Ph.D. university professors. That emperor has no clothes, and that is evident to everyone. It’s time to get back to the basic questions.
If you were to die tomorrow, who would come to your funeral, not just text regrets, but show up in person? They are your real friends. Everyone else is disposable.
If you broke both arms, who would come and stay with you, cook your meals and wipe your butt? Those are your family, whether related or not.
If you broke your neck like Christopher Reeves, who would work themselves to death to pay your medical bills like Robin Williams, and die of grief like his wife when you die?
If you can’t answer any of these three questions, you’re not a part of any community.
The next best activity is to be involved in some process that makes people’s lives or the world a better place when you leave it. Can’t think of one?
The reason “religion” was relevant in the past is because it made either the world a better place, or made somebody’s life meaningful.
If your life isn’t contributing to one of these, or a similar one, it’s time to do some really deep evaluations about the relevance of religion or spirituality, whichever applies to your life.