Wednesday, March 25, 2020

When religion became non-essential

Already, churches have been relegated to the level of bowling alleys, barber shops and bars.  True, governments haven't ordered that churches be closed.  They didn't have to.  Religious leaders have done that on their own.  In a nod to a secular age in which the here and now is all that matters, most religious individuals and leaders have 1) admitted you can get to God on your own without being at church and 2) the real heroes are those who treat our physical bodies because that's what matters. 

Now, Pope Francis has stepped out and used secular-speak to describe Covid-19.   It's been said by religious believers for years that secularists often use 'God-talk' to describe nature.  That is, they tend to give attributes often associated with God to nature: nature's plan, nature's will, nature's choice.  Well, Donald McClarey has the sad story on Pope Francis doing the same thing, speaking of nature as a cognizant being in the same manner as Richard Dawkins or Carl Sagan.   Ian Malcolm would be proud.

This is how much we've diluted the Christian Faith with a secular filter.  For the last few years, I've begun to get the feeling many Christians have become more atheist than Christian.  We accept the universe as atheism presents it, with its understanding of priorities, humanity, morality, cosmology and indeed, eternity.  Oh, we put on a fine show each Sunday morning, but back on Monday the difference between us and the atheists sitting next to us is virtually non-existent. 

I think, if nothing else, the Covid-19 phenomenon, whatever the facts may end up being when all is said and done, has revealed just how post-Christian much of the Christian world has become.  My guess is, this has been the case for many years.  If religious leaders and believers so quickly elevated the wards of our physical beings above all things and willingly reduced religion to a non-essential, it's likely that we had already accepted such a model to begin with.

For me, to live is Christ, to die is gain.   St. Paul, Philippians 1.21

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