Fewer and fewer people believe today. There might not be religion in large parts of Europe, N America, Australia and Asia in a generation.
Religions are asking us to believe in something and when one can’t believe, they stop with religion and point out all horrible things religions have done and continue to do. But belief is less important and perhaps the least interesting side of religion
1. Religions regularly gather people around and tell them to be nice to one another
2. They create a sense of community – acting as hosts. Making sure we see all as human beings rather than abstract entities.
3. They use rituals to point stuff out to us and lodge it in our minds i.e the season are changing…its time to remember your ancestors…the moon looks pretty…that you can atone and make a fresh start…its rather amazing there is food on the table
Religions know we arent just intellectual creatures so they appeal to us via art and beauty – build temples, cathedrals and mosques that use beauty to give depth to important ideas
They use the resources of art to remind us of what matters – art is educational and directed at making us feel things like calm, pity and awe
The needs and longing that made us make up religious stories continue on: we’re lonely…and violent, we long for beauty and wisdom and purpose, we want to live for something more than just ourselves
Society tells us to direct our hopes in romantic love and professional success while distracting with news, movies and consumption – but it’s not enough…
We need reminders to be good, places to reawaken awe, something to awaken our kinder & less selfish impulses – universal things that need tending. And rituals that bring us together
The choice isnt between religion and the secular world as it is now, the challenge is to learn from religions so we can fill the secular world with replacements for the things we made up religion to provide