Welcome to Progress Planet’s four-part series on Questioning Faith and God: Faith on the Rocks.
Is humanity’s relationship with God in somewhat of a deep freeze?
Certainly there are times when circumstances conspire to test the faith of even the most devout people. Many of the Bible’s own stories highlight just how difficult it can be to remain faithful to a God who seems asleep at the Almighty wheel.
Some of the frustrated faithful learn to cope with what seems like a very long one-way conversation with what can seem like a powerful imaginary being. Others lightly chill their faith, giving God an earthly cold shoulder right back. Many people give up over time on believing at all. Certainly the steady fallout statistics from religions indicates that.
When disaster strikes, plenty of people belly up to church to sip at their faith over ice — sometimes shaken, somewhat stirred.
Faith on the rocks is trending. In the U.S., fallout from major religions has been on the rise since the 1970’s. According to a Pew Forum Poll in February 2010, Americans between 18 and 29 years old are significantly less religious than older generations.
Americans who find themselves in crisis with God no longer comes as a surprise to me, hence the title of my book, Crisis of Faith. It is the strong faith of many I find so surprising, despite all kinds of reasons that one’s faith could be lost or placed into deep freeze in the course of human events.
Many people may not completely throw their faith away, suspecting they may need it again later, so they just keep it chilled for now, in their own private mental ice boxes.
After long contemplating the Bible, isolating the most controversial and problematic teachings and uncovering some truly horrific stuff that could turn many people away from God, some might find it curious that ultimately some arrive at a newer, different perspective that God must not be equal to the Bible; God must be different and perhaps way bigger than the Bible itself.
Many are taught that the Bible is the “word of God” and they come to believe that is all there is to God. But, how can it be?
But why, when so many are just leaving their faith behind and settling in to new concepts of the universe, do others continue believing?
As though on cue, every time an ambulance or fire truck goes by I catch myself pausing to say a prayer. At times I resist the urge to cross myself, something I must have learned from my Roman Catholic friends. Are these impulses nothing more than superstitious learned behaviors or evidence of a deep trust in God?
We are not going to figure that out in this blog. And, maybe nothing will shake my faith ever. I’m starting to wonder if faith could be either hard wired in us, or a permanent affect of early brainwashing.
Many will live and die as firm believers in God. Many are grateful for a strong faith.
Even though they many not be able to explain it, adequately defend it, nor change it, many are grateful that they can be faithful to God in a country where we can be out in the open about it. Plenty of our ancestors died for belonging to the wrong religions at times, and in places where religious hostilities turned, over time, into death sentences.
But what if anything would cause the faithful to lose their faith? Many Jews understandably lost their faith in God following the Holocaust. How could God have let that happen?