Some people do need religion.
My friend Mike Todd shares some thoughts about our tension with growth played out in the idea of evolution.
“The fundamental question in this line of thought is whether or not you believe in evolution. The evolution of humanity, of consciousness, of thought, and of faith. I’ve said before that I believe that God never changes, but our understanding of God certainly should. Always moving forward, always expanding, always freeing God from the current box we’ve trapped God in, into–admittedly–another box, but at least a larger one. A trajectory of movement, of growth, of expansion.
If you don’t believe that, then what you want is religion. Something fixed, rigid, unchanging and infallible. Until it fails miserably. Until it is so out of phase with the world around it that it either explodes and dies, or makes a sudden, lurching shift, a dramatic change in it’s unchangeable tenets, then replants itself firmly in the ground as the world around it continues to move.”
I was struck by the his comment, “If you don’t believe that, then what you want is religion.” One of the things I dealt with heavily in Discovering The God Imagination is the construction of the religious construct in human history. As human beings we need to deal with our own sense of guilt and perception of God. So we invent religion to do that. We attempt to bribe God, even though God doesn’t need the bribe.
Yet here we are two thousands years after the cross and we’re still dealing with it. And Mike’s follow up suggests why. We want something rigid and fixed, unchanging and infallible. We’re willing to participate in the religious system because we’re that broken. We need to try our way first, to discover it doesn’t work. And one of interesting things about the narrative in Scripture is that God was willing to meet our demands, to meet us in the midst of our own broken religious system and say, “Okay, I’m up for that. I’m willing to go that far to help you through this.” God uses the religious system to remove it, to reveal its lack of efficacy, to exhaust its validity as a system for dealing with the root problem.
Image courtesy of Bartlomiej Holowaty