The Death of Religion…
I’m gonna piss some people off. That’s fine. It’s alright to be mad – religions have become one of the things we define ourselves by and use to explain the world around us. We believe, we have Faith, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a fine thing to hold onto.
Except it isn’t, or wasn’t. The Industrial Age engendered a strong sense of nihilism and controlled information because it needed those qualities to shape the world into what that paradigm needed the world to be – a place of finite resources that needed to be mined. It was able to undermine priesthoods the world over through science (not that this was science’s fault) by disproving certain tenants that various dogmatic religions held true.
It should be noted that none of these tenants were actually written anywhere in any scripture, or at least not the original verses, but had arisen in commentaries that turned faith into politics. Belief itself was something to be mined, denigrated, and mocked. Lip service was offered, the words that were there twisted to fit the needs of those who felt the need to manipulate people.
As Martin Luther himself noted, “The God of this world is riches, pleasure, and pride.” Mammon is alive and well and flourishing, more prayer paid him in a nihilist’s dream than to any other god.
But as people recognized that this was happening, they began to doubt the validity of faith itself. Dogma and religion had failed them, as the people representing both failed and failed and failed again to uphold the tenants of the faiths that they claimed were their own. Faith was abandoned, seen as a crutch of weakness, an antiquated means of justifying morality, and why not?
Religion started as a series of stories meant to share history, explain the fantastic, and share moral codes. That’s it. That’s all it was. Politicians came along and made it more than that, turning it into a system of control, crafting exclusive religions that would punish those that didn’t believe in them (and, by God, we will get into that at another time) and reward those that did believe merely for their belief instead of any actual action.
There was a lot of stupidity and blind zealotry wrapped up in that sort of worship, and so when the intelligentsia grew it called bullshit on the trappings of those institutions… and rightly so. But somewhere, someone decided to get rid of the whole kit because of a few bad ideas without really thinking about it. More stupidity. More blind zealotry.
Having faith was regarded as a weakness, and those most closely tied to dogma clung ever tighter to it, making the ones that had rejected faith in favor of nihilism feel more secure in their choice. And, as what happens whenever a new paradigm comes to be, more and more people fell into the new camp, one of materialistic-nihilism at best and hedonistic-solipsism at worst.
Mocking those that clung to faith, they claimed a groundless sense of superiority, claiming Absence as an answer.
And the ones pretending a claim to Faith without understanding anything more than dogma were just as bad. They stripped belief of context, locking definitions in place that were never meant to be. Refusing to study on their own, they instead relied on the information that was peddled to them by people that, willfully or no, were misrepresenting scripture, keeping it locked, keeping it dead.
In other words, those controlling the scripture were lacking truth and integrity. They stagnated and refused to accept new information, new growth. And their institutions and the world at large suffer because of it.
That’s why religion is dying. There’s so few representatives of the dominant religions that have any sort of truth or integrity in them, and the children of the Information Age see that absence and instinctively reject it. We have better things to do and better ways to live.
But that does not mean we do not have Faith.