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In an age of Doubt

So more and more people are moving away from organized religion says  Robert Putnam and David Campbell (read LA Times article here). They are the authors of a new book “American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us.”

This is something I hear all the time from people.  They don’t believe in religion because they can’t prove its truth. They can’t prove God’s existence or not.  They want to know the Bible is history.  They come at it looking for facts rather than for truths.  These are different altogether.

In my studies at the Shalom Hartman Institute this was in part the subject of our lecture Monday.  People used to an age of certainty stemming from the Enlightenment period when science and history ruled and now in this age of Doubt are used to having to prove the claims of everything: Science, Psychology, Religion included. When Religion isn’t designed to prove claims.  It is designed to create meaning, to add awe and wonder to our lives, to enhance beauty and help us live lives of holiness and meaning and develop love.

No wonder especially in Evangelical circles people are leaving in droves. The simplistic rendering of texts without literary criticism, without questioning being valued runs contrary to developing real faith in this kind of era.  Pat answers without responding to the world as it is. Responding to the world as it was doesn’t help people respond in this era of Doubt and Uncertainty.  The world is  moving so fast each day that we humans can hardly respond.  Mostly folks tell me they are overwhelmed by life.

That is why I love Judaism so. It encourages questions. It allows for doubt and struggle and God wrestling.  It allows for the possibility that even God can change God’s mind.   (See the stories of Moses convincing God not to destroy the Israelites after the Golden Calf episode)

There is a lot more to say on this.

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