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Seeking and relating to gods is a process as innate to human life as thinking and speaking. That is an amazing fact! We can trace organized religions back to at least 8,000 BCE, to the advent of farming and the first settlements; and the earliest archeological evidence for religious beliefs dates to at least 200,000 BCE. The notion of gods is fully as old as humanity itself. This fact suggests that our having lived before birth in a very much better place may always have been a kind of folk-memory. Perhaps we always have known on some level that there was Something Greater that called to us and nagged us with Its wish to be found. And we have had no way to imagine the Source of that call except as a mimic of ourselves, so every god created by humankind has been an extra-powerful human-like being. Naturally, all those human-made gods were imagined to also have outsized human flaws! Including even the Christian God. The God that you and I met in our childhood churches was envisioned as a strict but loving Father who insisted that we must learn to better love and forgive. He demanded love and forgiveness of us, even though the Christian God was Himself so lacking in love and forgiveness that He refused to forgive us for our human failings unless He first got to watch His Own Son being tortured and murdered. People have created some awful gods! 

We have talked here about the fact that Christianity has been declining rapidly in the United States and worldwide. Currently 43% of adults in the U.S. identify as Protestants, which is down from 51% in 2009; and 20% of American adults are Catholics, down from 23% in 2009. The forced lockdowns of 2020 seem to be accelerating this trend, so it is estimated now that fully one-fifth of the Christian churches in the United States that temporarily closed their doors last spring will close them for good within the year. This dramatic implosion of the world’s most popular religion seems to have a number of causes. But I think the primary reason why Christianity is desperately struggling now is the fact that it requires us to believe what to most modern adults is flat-out unbelievable.

People have learned a lot in two thousand years. When Jesus was born, human beings knew almost nothing about anything! And we had few intellectual skills with which we might begin to figure things out, so for religions to give us their dogmas around which we could build a bit of hopeful faith was better than accepting that everything was and would forever remain a puzzle. But after the advent of the scientific method, the Enlightenment and the first human landing on the moon, humankind’s default setting has been reversed. Today many people’s general assumption is that we already understand most things, and many in the West are sure that before long we are going to figure out everything else. From our present, much more  self-assured perspective on reality, many moderns are finding it harder to believe in anything that they cannot see. And what Christianity requires of us is even more of a stretch than mere belief! After all, each of us holds many “beliefs” that are supported by good evidence, from the notion that the sun will rise in the east to the theories that gold is worth more than lead and season will follow season in a predictable way. None of what we believe is an eternal certainty. In fact, everything that we believe with confidence is likely to one day no longer be true; but for purposes of planning our daily lives, our beliefs based in longstanding evidence have proven to be pretty reliable. Unlike our ancient ancestors, we have good reason to be confident now that we live in a stable and comprehensibly facts-based world.

It is precisely our experience that facts-based beliefs are reliable that is the enemy of religions. Each religion is based in its own dogmas, which are arbitrary ideas not rooted in evidence so they don’t rise to the level of actual beliefs. And yet they are essential, since without a broad acceptance of its dogmas each religion would topple like a paper house. And for us to firmly hold religious beliefs that are unsupported by evidence requires that we believe without needing evidence. Christians have a favorite word for that! Quite simply, “faith” means something like “confident belief not rooted in evidence.” The word is derived from the Latin “fides,” which means something like “trust that a concept or idea is true, even though we have no definitive evidence.” To the Christian ear, “belief” sounds cold and mechanical, while “faith” is the warm and spiritual way to describe our relationship to the religion and to God. This notion that believing without evidence is a virtue likely stems from what Jesus is quoted as having said to Thomas when His disciple put a hand into the spear wound in the side of the Lord’s risen body and then said, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed” (JN 20:29). So Christians have been sure from the founding of the religion that the highest virtue is for us to have faith in God, in Jesus, and in all the Christian dogmas, even without evidence that any of it is real.

Read more of this Roberta Grimes blog article.


Roberta Grimes

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Seek Reality podcasts by Roberta Grimes are excellent interviews of the top experts in the world about God, Jesus, Heaven, the afterlife, psychic mediums, paranormal, science and more. Her podcast interviews are fascinating! - nemmar.page.link/237 


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