The Current State of Belief in Our Society

I wish to express how saddened I am by the current state of belief in our society.

We are constantly being told that church attendances are in a state of terminal decline, and that we are now part of a "post-Christian" culture. Emphasis is placed on personal spirituality and morals. We now appear to have a supermarket ethos to belief, where we can select the faith that most suits our lifestyle choices.

But do people subscribe to other major faiths instead of Christianity? Not substantially. What we now see are any number of crackpot cults, as well as toes dipped into horoscopes, crystal healing, tarot readings, druidism, spiritualism, black and white magic - all things 'New-Age': in short, almost anything but Christianity, and the wackier the better. Commitment has become deeply unfashionable. Maybe Christianity is just too conventional, and the thing which offends our designer tastes the most is being thought conventional or orthodox.

That people have come to believe in the healing power of lumps of rock, or the deterministic influence on our lives of planets and stars billions of miles away, or that worship of trees and sun is anything but pointless and banal, frankly dumbfounds me. The Americans have a term for it - "Snake Oil" - from the travelling Medicine Shows of the Old West, symbolising all that was fraudulent, bogus and that preyed on the gullible. G.K. Chesterton's assertion that 'when we stop believing in God, we do not believe in nothing, we believe in anything' is clearly the case.

And what to say about belief in "Flying Saucers"? The very notion that aliens from the planet Splod are capable of defying our laws of physics and undertaking journeys that would take several generations of our lives to complete, just so that they can abduct members of our race and carry out bizarre experiments on them, shows just how successful we have become at believing the utterly absurd. Such people should turn their gaze back earthwards and concentrate on all the need and lack of love around them instead.

The new god has become the sovereignty of the individual and accountability to self alone. I think we are just stubborn and resent being accountable to a higher authority - just a form of adolescent rebellion, and like the behaviour of a great many adolescents, this merely gives rise to unrestrained licence and moral turpitude.

Regardless of what some might think, everybody, without exception, believes in something - even if that something is the theory of the "Big Bang" and Evolution, which, as beliefs, have become the new orthodoxy. However, to my eyes, believing that the universe exploded from nothing into order, and that we evolved as a random series of acts of chance, requires a much greater faith than believing that we came about by the design of a mind greater than anything we can imagine, and who is actually passionately interested in us. Anyone who considers this bunkum should take a long, hard look at what they believe.

This letter was not published.


©2001 Reader's Doglist Association of Great Britain