[Rector]

Religion revisited

 

"What is truth?" Pontius Pilate was the typical politician. With life there are no answers, just possible solutions - options. Truth is the domain of philosophical speculation. At the existence level, nothing ever works.

It's an interesting pastime trying to identify the mood of a Nation. How would you describe the way your neighbors feel? Are they pessimistic, optimistic, uneasy, guilty, secure, ...... What's the mood of the Nation? A good politician will always feel out the mood of his electorate. An advertising agency will do the same. So, what's the "feel" in the urban sprawl, or the far-flung country towns?

In a Western Capitalist economic system, the mood of a Nation often reflects the boom/bust cycle. When we're in a downturn, there's limited economic activity, a lowering of living standards and an increase in unemployment. Then, as new markets develop so economies expand, industrial production increases and living standards improve. Twenty-five years is the usual cycle, although economic movements seem more compounded than they used to be. Nothing ever works! Even when we are in an upturn, there is always the fear it is about to fall apart. So, the feel is optimistic, or pessimistic, or sometimes both.

I have noticed that within the Christian church there is a growing expectancy for the return of Jesus and for the end of the world. There's a strong sense that these are the last days and that society, as we know it, is about to collapse. Yet, I think that this expectancy for the close return of Jesus is fueled by the ethos of our age. Sure, Jesus will return, but at a time when we least expect it. Such a time will probably be a boom time; society totally on top, a time of great power and glory, certainly a time when few will see any value in religion.

Our present age is one of uneasiness. Nothing seems to work. In such an environment we start to seek for answers. So sectarian groups flourish - the security of a narrow and rigorous religion. Eastern religions have flourished - the security of ancient and esoteric ideals. Black and white magic and spiritism have flourished - the security of hidden powers. Nature religions have flourished; back to the land, vegetarianism, herbal medicines, natural home-birth ... - the security of mother earth. And yes, even Christianity has flourished in these troubled times - we might call it the security of a well-worn path. In fact, all are a response to a feeling that technology, economics, political science.... no longer have the answers.

"What is truth?" "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life," said Jesus. Though all around Him change, He changes not.