LOSS OF RELIGION 11-12-2015

Many in our culture, void of deep authentic faith, seek inverted forms of worship, losing themselves in addictions, Monday night football, and gambling. People are instinctively religious. And it shows in their devotion to television, sports, money, work, and sex. These are all indirect approaches to spirituality—fixations to fill the “God-shaped hole.”

Saint Seraphim (d. 1853) stated, “In the times in which we live, we have reached such a degree of lukewarmness, almost everywhere, in the holy faith in Jesus Christ, such an insensibility towards communion with God, that really we can say, we have departed almost entirely from the true Christian life.”[1]

Even though I disagree with my fundamentalist sisters and brothers on many substantial points of faith, I concur with them on this: Western Civilization’s abandonment of historic faith is deeply unsettling. It is a travesty. For, as Dostoevsky observed in The Brothers Karamazov, “When people no longer believe in God, any and all horrors become possible.”

In Kirk Hadaway’s book, Behold I Do a New Thing, he says the church is primarily about personal transformation.[2] Yet Hadaway doesn’t directly address the basis of personal transformation… The basis of transformation is belief in God. Fundamentalists know this instinctively but their faith is narrow and limiting. Secularists don’t know it and so lose themselves in surrogate faiths like sports, chemical addictions, and other fetishes. All the while there’s a nagging emptiness.

My hope is that more open-minded and educated people will arrive at a life-giving open-minded faith for our times based on personal experience and mystical theology. The taste of freedom that comes from mystical experience brings fulfillment like nothing else. It brings healing, deep meaning, and purpose.

[1] Motovilov, St. Seraphim of Sarov’sConversation.

[2] Hadaway, Behold I Do a New Thing.