In a recent UK poll, 78% of those questioned in the UK could not say what Easter was all about. Which makes you ask, what other system of belief has collapsed at such a spectacular speed as British Christianity and does it really matter?
Whether you celebrate Easter or not, you cannot ignore the influence that religious beliefs have on many people’s lives. While some suggest that religion is the root cause of all the violence and unrest that fills our news today, others see most religious beliefs as a stabilizing ‘influence for good’ in a troubled world. Take the Christian system of belief away from the UK and what’s left to guide and shape our society?
‘Belief’ used to include, and still does in some traditions, a clear conviction about the meaning of “love”, “commitment”, “compassion” and “loyalty”, quite apart from religious doctrine. ‘Faith‘ for many is something you do, which you learn by practice and not by studying a manual. Being ‘religious’ is about practicing a set of principles as well as signing up to a set of propositions.
So, if you remove religious beliefs out of society, replacing them with the intellectual ‘dead-end‘ offered by those promoting New Atheism, where might this lead?
Where are we going?
As one observer of this trend put it, at best “we’re in danger of throwing the baby out with the bathwater”, leaving a feeling of personal emptiness and robbing society of any reason for living. At worst, such a god-less philosophy simply accelerates our progress towards an even more fractured and unstable world. It suggests that we are on a journey that’s going nowhere!
Even if the media are right to say that we now live in a ‘post-religious society‘, is that any reason to join this Gadarene swine-like rush towards the total destruction offered by New Atheism? Instead, isn’t this the time to stand up for what we believe, explaining to others the unique benefits of true Christianity?
A better answer
Junking tried and tested 2000 year old beliefs as “Christian myths” also discards the only tenable answer to an otherwise unanswered question: “How did life begin?”. An age now able to read the code that makes living things live, cannot explain how that code was originally made. It cannot give a better answer than the one Christ himself believed, that “in the beginning God created” our world and everything in it.
Above all, being a Christian means having a hope for the future that others don’t. To have that hope means believing the apostle Paul’s words about death, and the resurrection which Easter celebrates. Christadelphians remember these important facts every week, not just once a year:
“For as in Adam all die, so in Christ will all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22 NIV)
That knowledge is far removed from “the inner glow of complete certainty”, as A N Wilson once described a conversion to atheism, a philosophy he now rejects. But Christians do have a hope that is built on the unshakable foundation of the inspired and infallible words of God himself, found in God’s own book – the Bible!
Which is far more dependable than the words seen recently on the side of a London bus!!