Those of us still hanging on to the idea of ‘God’ in the onslaught of ‘The New Atheism’ are having a tough time of it, and that’s not because of the atheists.
Let’s face it, atheism is as much of a belief system as any other. It takes a lot of faith to insist that there is nothing rather than something, because as much as there may be no scientific evidence of the existence of God, there’s rather a lot to the contrary. But this is not about atheism and atheists. It’s just nice to dispense with them as summarily as they dispense with us crazies.
No, us ‘believers’ are having a tough time hanging on to a relationship with God primarily because modern religion, and modern mainline Christianity in particular, make it so.
Here’s my how-dare-he statement: Church has as much to do with God as FIFA has to do with soccer.
“How dare he!”
Actually, how dare THEY. All forms of spirituality have at their base a fundamental desire for humanity to connect with something or, dare I say it, someone larger than it. Jesus of Nazareth, a historically-verifiable dirty-footed impoverished Jewish woodworker, pretty much wrote the book on that relationship. He also had some pretty good things to say about how to treat each other too. All we have to do, he said, is realize God actually digs us, and spread the love around a little bit.
Not too hard.
Fast forward 2000 years, and we have multi-million dollar corporations having us jump through theological hoops to try and please an already-pleased and, I would imagine, an increasingly-exasperated God.
By corporations I mean ‘churches’, of course.
My belaboured point is that church is often just about Church, just as Christian music is about entertainment, just as FIFA is about money. The plot has been jettisoned long ago. FIFA was initially a global effort to glorify soccer. Remember that? Music used to be about music, radio used to be in the public interest, medicine for the public good, democracy for the people. Etcetera etcetera ad nauseum.
If I sound disaffected and, well, pissed off, that’s because I, well, am. Jesus was about freedom. Modern Christianity is about church. That’s why so many ‘believers’ are breaking away and trying to figure out for themselves why some of the arguments of atheism are so telling. How dare human beings stand between the rest of us and God and try dictate the rules and regulations?
There’s definitely a modern trend (‘revolution’, if you will) toward a more authentic expression of faith in Jesus’ way being Quite A Good One. Its naughty cousin is the ‘New Atheism’: always in the corner with a smirk on its face.
Now, if only we could see a similar trend in soccer, dammit.
I await the howls with eagerness.