New religiophobia against devout, especially Christians
G. Manners recent letter entitled “Clothing, religion and belief” exemplifies a particularly important problem we now face in North America. Although parts of the letter were at best confusing, at worst incomprehensible, the main message seems to be that organized religion and the customs accompanying it are pointless and an impediment to belief and, as the letter stated, a barrier to “a sense of joy and achievement.”
This is a complete misconception. It is important, first of all, to distinguish between deep and abiding faith and the apparatus of organized religion. People may belong to a denomination, adhere to its practices and customs and still evidence and exemplify deep compassion and spirituality. Adherence to organized religion does not nullify one’s spiritual qualities or mean that since you follow a faith you are somehow deficient in either compassion or caring. Quite the opposite. A person can also be part of an organized religion without slavishly accepting some of the practices you find questionable.
I believe two things are at work here. The first is a new religiophobia directed against the devout, particularly those who practice the Christian faith. People are now fond of saying that they are “spiritual but not religious,” that they don’t need religion since they have a gentle, compassionate nature. That may be so, but it is much more likely that they are unable to commit to a religious or spiritual path that demands a disciplined practice, adherence to an objective moral code or belief in something greater than themselves. I wish I had a dime for every “still compassionate and spiritual” person whose behaviour was reprehensible.
The second factor is undoubtedly virtue signalling and moral preening on the part of individuals who have bought in to the toxic postmodern “tolerant” belief system now forcing us to endure the effects of a “new morality” supplanting the common sense and strong faith of our once great nation.
Are we any better for this toxic post modern mix that allows one offended student to impose their will on an entire school, a four-year-old child to dictate to its parents its identity and nature, or two to four per cent of the population to impose their morality on the whole? Obviously not. As imposed drug injection sites, questionable housing complexes that degrade neighbourhoods, and bizarre school curricula designed to condition our young are imposed on us we might well ask ourselves what the cause of all this social decay is. Is it organized religion or religion at all?
No. It is much more likely to be a sense of drifting relativism that allows us to opt out of opposing those things we know to be wrong and immoral. In the kind of world we are fast creating let me be on record as saying that I would much prefer an abiding, deep rooted faith to the kind of relative and indefinable beliefs so many are now embracing.