We should maintain that if an interpretation of any word in any religion leads to disharmony and does not positively further the welfare of the many, then such an interpretation is to be regarded as wrong; that is, against the will of God, or as the working of Satan or Mara.
Buddhadasa Bikkhu, a Thai Buddhist Monk
Saturday, June 9, 2012
In For the Long Haul
In sum, religious faith is not going away any time soon, but the context in which we speak about faith is changing. In the U.S., that change seems to be relatively slow when it comes to belief in God as such. Participation in religious organizations, however, is declining and at a much higher rate than the decline in belief in God. As I noted in a recent posting (here), even in relatively conservative Lewis County, NY, almost 60% of the population is "unclaimed" by any church. The context churches face today is that faith in God's existence is no longer a given, such as it once was. Trust in churches as places of importance is also no longer a given. The importance of "going to church" on Sunday morning is similarly no longer a given. The challenge we face in the church today, in any event, is not to get people to believe in God. It is to get people to believe in churches.