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Religion: 1) A set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe… and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs; 2) a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects; 3) the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices.
Hmmm … agnostic, atheist, evolutionist, secular humanist? According to these definitions, apparently agnosticism, atheism, evolution and humanism are religions with devotees committed to their cause and who cleave to, and practice, their beliefs with all the fervor of the “religious fanatics” they claim to despise. (Guess it all depends on who is referring to whom.)
The agnostic says, in faith, “Since the essential nature of things is unknown and unknowable, and human knowledge is limited to experience, and since I can’t prove it, I am really not sure there is a God.” The atheist, with a definitive positive faith (a belief not based on proof), agrees, saying, “It’s a good thing you don’t need gods, because there aren’t any.” The evolutionists, by faith (a belief that is not based on proof), say, “Our theory (a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural) is … we crawled out from the primordial ooze onto dry ground – and voila!” And, of course, the secular humanist says, “WE are god. We have reason, science, and ethics. We are beings made in our own image and our own likeness and, consequently, we don’t need gods.”
The above definitions of religion are crucial to a proper grasp and sound understanding of what we know as Western civilization. All human civilizations have, as their basis, a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices. In the case of Western civilization, the basis for our convictions and customs is a moral code (a particular set of beliefs and practices agreed upon by a number of persons) – the Judeo-Christian Bible. These beliefs, practices and convictions are subsequently incorporated into our laws, attitudes and responses, all agreed upon by the body of persons of which our society is composed.
While we are diverse in our ethnic, cultural, linguistic and economic makeup, we essentially are bound together by the aforementioned attitudes, beliefs and ideologies that comprise Western civilization. Consequently, we have general standards of “acceptable or unacceptable,” “social or antisocial,” “good and bad,” “moral and immoral” behavior all based on our concepts of “right and wrong.”
The challenge presently before us is the disintegration of our society due to a deliberate, or unconscious, rejection of the same basic moral principles that have governed Western societies for centuries. We are witnessing the erosion of the standards on which our societal mores rest. Right and wrong are becoming a matter of opinion. The standard that defined the “hip” ’60s and ’70s was, “If it feels good, do it.” Today, it seems we are rapidly becoming a society in which absolutes are simply a matter of “Well, what do you think?”
One of the factors contributing to this precipitous deterioration of our society is the mistaken idea that the Bible is about religion and religious activities. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are seven references to religion/religious in the Bible and, of those seven, six are less than positive. This Judeo-Christian “Book,” unlike some other “holy books,” is not about establishing religion, but about creating order from disorder, control from chaos. Try, for a moment, to imagine a society bereft of just this one element: “Do no murder.” (“Thou shalt not kill.”) If an estimated 32,000 people kill themselves and another 18,000 are murdered every year in a society (America) where it is wrong to kill, imagine the rampant carnage absent a cultural, societal ban against killing. Here is just one example: Since “choice” has replaced “abortion,” it is estimated that 39,290,477 children have been aborted since 1973, 16 million in the African-American community alone.
Of course, it is “old news” now, but a few days back, certain major news organizations carried the headline story of two missing young girls. The story got major coverage for a couple of days and the usual suspects (registered sex offenders) were checked, but in a country where almost 800,0000 children under 18 are reported missing every year (roughly 2,185 per day) that becomes old news fast. Time to move on to more attention-grabbing stuff. “Yeah, tough about the two girls, but hey, did you hear what Katie said about Tom? And have you heard about this cool new idea for really hip people, called Polyamory?”
“Yeah, I asked a friend about it the other day. He’s a preacher, but he’s old fashioned, you know – marriage between one man and one woman until death, opposes gay marriage and calls all that multiple-partner, swinger stuff sin.”
“That is so yesterday! This is the 21st century! Things have changed! Anyway, that’s just his opinion. Besides, who has time for all that old dead, religious stuff?”