Editor Note: A friend of mine (and published author no less) offers his two cents on religion in our first ever guest post.
Why I’m Not Religious
It should be an easy question to answer, right?
Is it because after my baptism and excluding my attendance at weddings, my parents took me to Church exactly zero times? Perhaps it’s my logical and analytical mind that finds it easy to poke holes in most religions’ core beliefs. Then again, it might simply be that I prefer spending Sunday morning bonding with my spiritual self out on the golf course.
The real answer is D; all of the above. That along with continued negative portrayal of religion in the news. From religious-based violence in Syria and other areas of the world to further reports of priest-involved child abuse cases across the country. Unless you pay close attention, it’s hard to find the positives in religion as someone who sits well beyond the reach of religious gospel today. Could I be swayed otherwise to embrace religion in my lifetime? Perhaps. Let’s explore three foundational aspects of religion.
Religion provides an answer for what lies beyond our physical death
You know, I’m ok just living my life in the current world and making the best of it. I anticipate that I won’t fear or embrace death any differently due to my lack of belief in the after-world. What if there is something waiting for me beyond this life? Well, I’ll accept that as bonus time after living a complete and satisfying life here on earth.
Religion guides our moral compass, helping us to live righteous lives
I don’t need the bible to tell me if a choice I’m about to make is morally right or wrong. And if I make a mistake along the way, I still have to forgive myself whether or not I choose to ask God’s forgiveness. Plus, the cynical side of me can quickly point to all the believers out there that are breaking the law, or otherwise choosing to ignore their religious teachings.
Religion creates a sense of community
Hmm…this one has potential. I don’t know any of my neighbors beyond a quick hello and a brief synopsis of the week’s weather. I rarely find myself talking on the phone anymore in the world of email and text messages. My network consists of Facebook and LinkedIn, where meaningful conversation is nonexistent. And I don’t belong to local Rotary or stamp collectors club. While I have a great relationship with family and a strong core group of friends, maybe there is something missing here. Stating that I’m not religious is perhaps an incorrect statement. It might be more accurate to say that I’m approaching my 40th birthday and I’ve yet to find the religion for me.
- Will people like me ever accept religion in its current form? If not, how can religious groups evolve to become more attractive to people in my shoes?
- What risks are there for religions that stick to their traditional beliefs and don’t evolve?