Monday, August 9, 2010

New Faith Culture

We're in a post-religion society, but we're in a new faith culture. Churches are fraught with so many ill conceptions that a more subtle, pragmatic approach to faith is most beneficial. The understanding of true principles (which all stable religions have in common) need not—and must not—be limited to the study of one central text.

If that one text is perfect, as an adherent must suppose, it cannot explain all the problems of the world. Cannot, because a perfect text cannot by definition contain imperfect thinking, which is at the root of all problems. To follow, but not adopt, a line of imperfect thinking is to education yourself in the art of repairing that thinking.

No one has ever won an argument by forcefully asserting his position. If all he knows is his doctrine—even if it gives him perfect clarity—how can he hope to enlighten others without knowing where they are? Understanding the current worldview of your audience—and more importantly, the individuals within it—is paramount to leading them away from their errors.

Whenever churches attempt to indoctrinate people with this method, they are necessarily met with resistance. Unfortunately, most religions have built-in blinders to this problem. They expect resistance and heckling whenever they attempt to share their message, and explain it as the influence of "the devil" or of "the world" rather than as their own lack of understanding of that world.

When churches are independent, they tend to maintain divisions from other churches and the world. From other churches their division is based upon petty doctrine; from the world, it is based upon insane levels of nonsensical beliefs—or at least, unnecessary amounts of what makes no sense to outsiders.

What this amounts to is supreme and understandable skepticism for any and all religions (hence, we are a post-religion society). Unbelievers and outsiders see nothing but schism and disagreement between warring sects, each trying blindly and aggressively to recruit from an increasingly resistant crowd. Being apart of that cynical crowd, therefore, becomes more attractive than anything the religions offer.

Petty differences and misunderstandings are the fog that keeps us groping in the dark. Contrast all this darkness and hopelessness with the light of truth: having faith means believing in the good qualities of human nature, and using your innate abilities to bring those qualities out of people. It means unity on common ground and a de-prioritization of things that don't matter.
FEATURED MEDIA: Saved! - A fun movie about some of the situations we can find ourselves in when we forget to keep the faith and merely obsess over the religion.

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