Sjolander Road Fellowship




Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

Wanted: an inspiring deity

3/2/15

 

The biblical account serves no real purpose for many, unless it inspires them to live in a way that brings happiness and fulfillment. That inspiration begins and ends for me in the way God is depicted. I do not find fear to be inspirational in any positive, fulfilling sense. I can't admire condescension, arbitrariness, indifference, or vindictiveness as divine attributes. No religious persuasion constructed on such an understanding of the divine and sacred, no matter its basis, can therefore work for me; and I am not alone. Countless people who label themselves variously as irreligious, spiritual but not religious, agnostic, or even atheistic arrive at the same conclusion.

 

Those among us, generally adherents to institutional Christianity, who insist that everyone must accept their picture of just this type of God, are experiencing more and more push back against their traditional theology. The church's growing consternation at the rapid decline in national allegiance to their theology is the fuel behind much of the political invective we witness daily. It is no coincidence that traditional Christianity is so closely allied with a political movement aimed at re establishing or maintaining the societal norms and worldview of the past, especially those associated with our so called national religion.

 

In effect, what we see are the frantic efforts of a system which can no longer dominate the national religious dialogue. God is far from dead, but those who claim to be his sole earthly representatives are slowly dying, metaphorically.

 

As the demographics of the nation are changing, with more and more ethnic minorities and a large group of young people raised on easy access to opposing religious opinions, the boomer generation, the mainstay of institutional Christianity, will gradually lose its grip on public policy and the other instruments of power. Though boomers still disproportionately affect elections because they vote regularly, that group is inevitably beginning to die off, taking their electoral power and financial support with them. Both the churches and the political powers they support will continue in decline as subsequent generations, who hold no allegiance to the old theology, fill the power vacuum created by  old age and death. 

 

Change is always painful, and dramatic change inevitably creates fear and anxiety which shows itself in political and societal turmoil and conflict. There are always those who address the fear of change by seeking to prevent it. No element of human society is more invested in maintaining the thinking and policies of the past than is organized religion. In our political dialogue we hear a lot of rhetoric which claims to promote traditional values, patriotism, and constitutional respect. Much of that is simply the echoes of this religious angst brought on by increasing cultural change and the unavoidable evolution of new religious thought.

 

Religious orthodoxy, firmly rooted in the past, has resisted change in every generation. Humanity is always evolving in their understanding of God, themselves, and workable ethical standards. Any effort to prevent that evolution is doomed to failure because, like all other freedoms, real freedom of religious thought and expression must allow room for change. Once tasted, that freedom can never be relinquished because freedom is man's divinely endowed, natural state, as duly noted by our founding fathers.