“When I was growing up, we went to church on Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, and to every other event the church had.”
Well, it seems as the world “grows up” into this new and modernized era full of technological marvels and split-second globalized communication, the human being is growing away from the old traditions of religion toward a completely new flavor of spiritual understanding. Of course, the concepts of hybrid religions and decentralized spirituality aren’t new — only new to most people who are just now falling across the concepts as a result of this modern era.
The multi-faith, “Immaculate Inauguration” of our new President, Barack Hussein Obama, was a prominent example of an increasing embrace and acceptance of diversity in many areas, but especially an example of religion as more a hobby or interest as opposed to a dogmatic and fundamental monument. Muslims, Jews, Christians, and atheists were all mentioned and participated in the procedure and process — with essentially no reaction from anyone, except a mere noticing it happened.
One key element in this widely-viewed event was the notable and highly scrutinized message by the “token Evangelical,” Rick Warren. As this increasingly popular Protestant pastor said in his “prayer” (which came off more as a speech than communing with the Creator of the Universe),
Help us, Oh, God, to remember that we are Americans, united not by race, or religion, or blood, but to our commitment to freedom.
Some traditionalists might say this is blatant heresy, to invoke the name of God to assert that religion is a backdrop for a more important union. However, as his popularity makes clear, this is the direction religion is headed in the modern era — a deconstructed ideology, based on core principles of tolerance, humanitarianism, and ultimately love. Traditionalists and extremists in Judeo-Christian and Muslim communities alike are likely to summarily reject this view, while Buddhists might say, “This is what we’ve been saying all along!”
However, this growing culture of religion-less spirituality may simply be the deconstruction of social institutions improperly constructed in the first place. After all, Christ never aimed to build a religion: that was Paul’s idea. Christ gave direction only to preach the “Good News,” to all who would listen — that one, unified, unifying God is within us, and among us, and the kingdom of Heaven where God exists is a place in our hearts and minds where love and common decency prevail over tradition and ritual. So, for Christian leaders to assert these things now, is less of a new idea, but more a return to the original ideology.
Arguably, religious extremists reject such a view, because it destabilizes any central control. It gives people the freedom to think for themselves, and to resist the call to align with any certain structured ideological institution. If the predictions of prophets past and present are any indication, this conflict of interest between structured tradition and common sense will come to a violent head before common sense prevails — indeed, it has in the past, is currently, and likely will continue in the future. Yet, there is hope.
Those same prophets predict, in the end, common decency and love will conquer self-centered devotion — not only on personal levels, but on societal levels. If and when this does occur, would it not be Heaven on Earth to live peacefully and prosperously, united in the concepts of service, sacrifice, and selflessness? The scriptures say, one day every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus hit the nail on the head with his teachings — before a traditionalist and extremist world nailed him to a tree.