We live in a time of doubt. Even believers, those who follow a certain religious/spiritual path are often confronted by doubt. Perhaps one reason is that we no longer live in a culture that is ‘Christian’, that is we can’t be carried by cultural faith any more, simply doing what others are doing and in that find ourselves carried along with the others. Today our society is filled with many different voices, each expressing their own opinion and experiences to all who will listen.
There is atheism, which though not a large group is very vocal in where they stand. There are the Agnostics, then those who call themselves ‘none’s’, and of course there is new age, pagans, Satanist, those who believe in some sort of ‘alien agenda/religion’….the list is endless. Perhaps we are living in a time of ‘Babel’, a lot of noise about what is the meaning of our lives and why we are here.
Religion has a bad name today and in the United States, it is the Christian religion that gets the most hits…..many of them are deserved, others not so much so. There is a term used nowadays that states this stance: “I am spiritual not religious”. This of course can work for many, though there has to be some tradition that is tied into no matter how loosely. Though religion is rejected, the fruits and wisdom of these traditions are used, though often mixed with this and that. I believe one without the other weakens the one who is over balanced one way or the other. Balance is difficult, and I am not saying I have achieved that at this time of my life.
Most people with whom I speak to who think of themselves ‘spiritual’ in actuality do align themselves with a well worn path, even if done so loosely. For instance many follow Buddhism, or the Christian path, they just don’t belong to a Church, Temple, Mosque or congregation. I do think that the center that is missing is community with all that that implies. All the wonderful gifts of fellowship, along with other things that caused many to leave their past affiliation so easily (though often with much pain and anger as well) into seeking truth on an individual basis. I am not downplaying the pain that many have gone through from their past affiliation with religion, and at times it is best for them not to return. However not to seek to understand what their traditions teaches may keep them from freeing themselves from its baneful influence. Anger is relational, intimate, even if not life giving. There is the ‘tar baby’ affect that anger can curse those who carry it throughout their life.
Many think that spirituality should be pleasant, everyone sunny and nice, no human problems of any consequence etc. This is often unconscious. I find it interesting in an age where so many believe that there is really no truth, that all truths are equal, or that there is no objective right or wrong, are the ones who react in often childish and hurtful ways, not only towards themselves but also others, when confronted with the human situation; which is not pleasant, nor sunny, but in fact often painful and challenging.
We are all on someone’s list, wherein we can cause them pain or deep frustration just by our humanity, by our inner and outer struggles and immaturity. So people go from one group to another or end up by themselves where they gift themselves with the grace of personal infallibility. Christians do that a lot, each the only interrupter of what is true or false in the Gospel, what is important, and most of all, who gets into heaven or best of all for many, who goes to hell. Which are always those who disagree with them, well mostly, not all do that.
Free thinkers and atheist are not much better, at least the vocal ones. I guess their pronouncements like those of believers of any path that over-speak, are ignored since it is known what they are going to say in advance. Easy communication can lead to over exposure and a jaded attitude to what others will say.
The problem is how things are said. No one wants to be yelled at, put down, or forced to carry the insecurities of those who can’t stand others who think or believe differently than they do. I think it is time to get over trying to change what others believe and to learn to gently, without force, or being insulting, state what we believe and why we think and believe the way we do. Of course that will one day happen, when pigs fly, or when Glen Beck becomes a liberal, or Obama a conservative, which may take some time, a lot of time.
Edited by markdohle, 01 April 2014 - 12:10 PM.