Christianity is dead, at least my husband read something this morning that made him question me. I told him about the discussions going on in the blogospehere and how many books were out about the "death of Christianity". Why is Christianity or religion dying? And does it matter?
Some have suggested that the death of Christianity has come about because the social needs of our population has gotten met through the social media. People have contact at anytime and anywhere these days. So, why go to church to find a place to be affirmed?This is the challenge of "belonging".
Others have suggested that the theology of the Church just doesn't measure up to our scientific knowledge these days. How can one believe that Jesus rose from the dead, or that people can do miracles? These are fairy tales, or myths that make life more bearable, when life is hard. This is the challenge of belief.
Still, some have sought to re-frame theology so that the Church is more "up to date". These have reframed "God" himself, as a process, a becoming, or our experience itself is "god in the making". God is the Present, "I Am" and incorporates all of reality (panentheism). These are not orthodox views. This is the challenge of behavior.
Some have seen this challenge to Christian faith as a challenge to know what/where Christian faith began. These go into scholarly debates about Judean roots and what happened to the Arab. How did ethicities get defined? And what protects their identities. These are questions that serve the work of "peace". Because ethnic identities are what make for 'war'. This is an attempt to re-create a new political belief structure, so Man can understand himself as "human" and not by religous identifications or ethnic identities.
The Christian "end" has also been challenged. It used to be that Christianity understood itself historically. History was "God's history". The teleos of all history was the advent of "Christ" or the second coming. Traditional Christians still believe in a coming judgment, and heaven and hell. But, these also believe in a separate reality/realm, the spritual realm.
Christianity is dead for all practical reasons. But, maybe this is not so bad, as Christianity is about how one sees oneself and others, and rightly or wrongly, Christians see themselves as superior beings, because of their promised eternal life. They are prone to think that those without faith are to be pitied, as they are reprobate.
As an "outsider", Christians like to define themselves by their cateogories where they are the prime arbitrator of truth and values. They are confident that what they believe is absolute for everyone, everywhere. And this is where they miss the mark of finding themselves free from defining themselves by faith alone. What do they personally value apart from any religious claims, do they even know? Why do they value it?
This is my concern. Those that are religous are prone to judge without thinking. And they are prone to throw verses around as if life serves people "black and white" situations and circumstances". Everything is "nice and neatly" organized in their frame of reference and if others don't have themselves organized in such a way, they are a threat to society. While I do not doubt at ALL that organization and order is very important, humans are not commodities to be put in boxes or compartments that frame their lives apart from human contingencies.
Political parties organize their platforms simply. But reality gives politicians complex situations to face. These situations challenge their political promises, because politics serves out contingencies too. We can't control what another country does or doesn't do, ultimately. We can co-operate, negotiate, or sanction, bomb or bring out the troops. But, are we different from those that also seek to have a life?
Government itself is a form of order/structure that seeks to circumvent what is of value. Free societies allow liberty where it concerns human life. Dictators, authoritarian power structures are those that believe that "order" should not be horozonally controlled, but hierarchally. These claim power for themselves, and some do it in the "name of God". This is why those that believe that "God" is not just an idea in one's mind, but a real reality are dangerous to our liberties. But, then, the religious are also Americans, and it is important that they also have a voice.
One thing for sure, humans are a diverse species. We are not clones of one another, though there are similarities in what we desire, how we define that in our lives is vastly different in a free society! And certainly, government is made to prevent desires from running over another's right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness!