Friday, April 10, 2009

Is God Dead... Again?

Every few decades, there is a need to declare that we have become a godless society. In the 1960s, for example, the term "Godless Christianity" came into being. Now Newsweek is announcing to us that fewer people consider themselves Christians and that we might be entering a "post-Christian" era in the United States .

In the case of Newsweek, this has been declared as a great thing because, FINALLY, we can separate church and state. Naturally, it's easy to separate church and state if no one believes in church anymore!

I was about to get upset about this article, but then I realized that I simply don't care. You are never going to completely remove Christianity or any other religion from our society. It just won't happen.

Why? Because there are enough people out there who will remind us that George Washington, the first president of our country, never failed to mention God when he spoke to this young nation. Religion is too tightly woven into the fabric of our country, no matter how hard some may try to remove it.

Even Jon Meacham, the author of the Newsweek article, agrees with this notion:

America, then, is not a post-religious society—and cannot be as long as there are people in it, for faith is an intrinsic human impulse. The belief in an order or a reality beyond time and space is ancient and enduring. "All men," said Homer, "need the gods." The essential political and cultural question is to what extent those gods—or, more accurately, a particular generation's understanding of those gods—should determine the nature of life in a given time and place.

If you read the last line carefully, you'll see the reason for all this hubub on religion. Quite a few people are afraid or angry that religious views are too influential in our culture and our politics. More specifically, issues such as abortion, stem cell research and homosexual marriage can too easily be seen through what is considered the narrow lens of some religions. Religious people--Christians in particular--are holding back progress, for heaven sake!

This, of course, is not true. We are a nation of many religions and many ideals. We are all given the chance to make decisions and have opinions, and those may not gel with what the current culture dictates. There will always be debates, then, and one side will have to lose now and again. But the fact that we are permitted in this great country to have our faith and our ideals and not suppress how we feel because of our culture or our nation's leaders is a wonderful thing. Instead of rolling our eyes at people with religious convictions or views different from our own, we should be thankful we live in a place where we are free to have our own minds.

On this Good Friday morning, my children decorate Easter eggs and put on puppet shows. Later today, we'll turn off the TV, put on our nice clothes and go to church to remember what this day signifies. It is part of our history and our faith, and no one should take that away from us. Thank God we still live in a country where no one will.
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