Religion Fails

Religion fails. Every time. No matter what, religion itself will fail. See, I wanted to continue the topic from Monday’s post on Bite-Sized Questions, but with the releasing of the most recent Pew Report on religious affiliation being brought up several times in the past 48 hours as well as reading through a book called “Wrestling With God” by Rick Diamond,I had no choice but to delve into the fray.

We are not our grandparents. We are not a generation who adheres to the stoic, hold the course values of our grandparents. Whereas they value commitment and unwavering loyalty, we are apt to question. They upheld the values of their families and often built upon them, immersing themselves in their occupations and family traditions.

We are not our parents. We are not better off than our parents were. Where our parents saw a world of opportunity when they graduated from college (if they did), we see a barren landscape of half-offers and interviews. Where they experienced success and a growing plenty, we are reminded that there isn’t as much. They experienced the booms, but we’ve seen more of the busts.

A generation disenfranchised. We’ve seen many things in our brief lives go up in smoke. As a result, we can’t simply take what we’ve been given without a healthy dose of questioning. We will look that gift horse in the mouth. And we’ve begun to do that with our religious beliefs. Surprise, surprise, we’re falling out of love with the blind devotion that satisfied scores of generations before us. It’s an issue that’s been with us since at least the times of the Bible.

Blind religion. What I’m mentioning here is a faith in something for the sake of faith. To get more specific, the Christian Church has been suffering from this malady for the past several decades. It has been easier to look around the room, ask if everyone is “fine” and walk away. It is much harder to dive into the details of life with someone and check the wellness of each individual component. Yet, with the rapid advances in wealth and technology, we could afford this luxury of emotional space.

The blaring alarm. It’s been going off for some time. Church attendance has generally been in decline for some time now. The sleeping giant is slowly waking. It’s realizing that a feel-good anesthesia isn’t what the upcoming generations want. We want purpose, meaning and a truth that stands against the cold winds of corporate greed and terrorist attacks. We want something to buffet us against the inevitable failures of the world system. However, if you don’t give us something real, unlike generations before, we will outright refuse to accept it.

This is not an emergency, but a call to arms. It’s a wake up call to people committing wrong in the name of Right. While the Church has always been human, therefore it’s failed many times over, it has not always been inhumane in protesting soldiers’ funerals and committing acts of terrorism in protest of abortions. People aren’t looking for a perfect club or organization. People want a visceral group of awakened individuals gutting out the battles of life in the grime of the trenches together. People aren’t looking for Oz, they’re looking for a clan of their own. We all want to belong, but to something real and the Church has gotten away from that last aspect. It’s not so much about how we act, but how we react to our inevitable failures. Without it, our churches, like our faiths, will be empty. Alone, religion fails.