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Does Religion Really Matter?

In our modern, tech-savvy, and scientifically oriented American society, does religion really matter?

We've come across a short video that really packs a punch; only 90 seconds long, it tells us in a very succinct way what the effects of religion have had on our country in the view of a Chinese scholar who studied here in the states. We urge you to have a look:

Click to see the video now

Religion and American Culture

Religion has always been a part of American culture, even though the successful separation of church and state has been maintained. And, the teachings of The Urantia Book corroborate this wise mandate of our founding fathers:

70:1.14 One of the great peace moves of the ages has been the attempt to separate church and state.

Nevertheless, men and women of religious backgrounds have been instrumental in maintaining the running of the government. And countless citizens of America believe in the rule of law as a reflection of a higher, divine, law--law that provides order instead of chaos.

In the video, our Chinese friend observes that the reason religion is vital in our society is that people VOLUNTARILY obey the laws; the vast majority of people in this country rightly sense that abiding by the rules and laws of society makes a better world for all of us. And he further observes that we have learned this method of successful living largely through our religious traditions that have always taught us right from wrong.

What's Happened to Religion?

Today we are witnessing a drawing away from the formalized religions of previous centuries; we are witnessing a breakdown of formerly unassailable institutions of religion; people are leaving churches in droves and even questioning the value of religion. Institutionalized religion is no longer feeding the souls of its congregants as it once did. And, if we take an honest look at our society, the result appears to be a weakening of morality, a growing ignorance of the need for character development, and a thirst for ultimate truth through scientific fact alone.

92:7.14 Modern man is confronted with the task of making more readjustments of human values in one generation than have been made in two thousand years. And this all influences the social attitude toward religion, for religion is a way of living as well as a technique of thinking.

Like Clay Christensen, we wonder what will happen if our venerated institutions of religion fail to create a healthy sense of societal duty going forward? What of today's children, today's new generation of leaders? Without true religion, will they have the same sense of morality that is so vital to the smooth running of government and civilization?Will they be wise leaders and provide living examples of good citizenship? Will our citizenry, in its rejection of formalized religion, fail to evolve a workable and progressive kind of religion that will continue to uphold our society and its laws?

Why Are The Churches Emptying?

The teachings of The Urantia Book highlight the reasons for our modern disenchantment with modern religion, and many of us can recognize the truths in this list

99:6.3 The dangers of formalized religion are:

  • fixation of beliefs and crystallization of sentiments;
  • accumulation of vested interests with increase of secularization;
  • tendency to standardize and fossilize truth;
  • diversion of religion from the service of God to the service of the church;
  • inclination of leaders to become administrators instead of ministers;
  • tendency to form sects and competitive divisions;
  • establishment of oppressive ecclesiastical authority;
  • creation of the aristocratic "chosen-people" attitude;
  • fostering of false and exaggerated ideas of sacredness;
  • the routinizing of religion and the petrification of worship;
  • tendency to venerate the past while ignoring present demands;
  • failure to make up-to-date interpretations of religion;
  • entanglement with functions of secular institutions;

Most importantly,

  • it fails to hold the interest of adventurous youth and gradually loses the saving message of the gospel of eternal salvation.
  • Formal religion restrains men in their personal spiritual activities instead of releasing them for heightened service as kingdom builders.

Nonetheless, religion-and the continuing evolution of religion-is an important pillar of any successful society, as these Urantia Book passages explain:

Evolutionary Religion vs Revealed Religion

92:3.6 Without religion there would have been no enduring morality nor ethics, no worth-while civilization.

92:3.9 Religion fostered civilization and provided societal continuity; it has been the moral police force of all time. Religion provided that human discipline and self-control which made wisdom possible. Religion is the efficient scourge of evolution which ruthlessly drives indolent and suffering humanity from its natural state of intellectual inertia forward and upward to the higher levels of reason and wisdom.

And this sacred heritage of animal ascent, evolutionary religion, must ever continue to be refined and ennobled by the continuous censorship of revealed religion and by the fiery furnace of genuine science.

But, what to put in the place of evolutionary, institutionalized religions? Is there a way to go forward with a higher kind of religion that will meet the spiritual needs-not only of the individual religionist-but of society in general?

The Religion OF Jesus Can Meet That Need

195:6.10 Neither democracy nor any other political panacea will take the place of spiritual progress. False religions may represent an evasion of reality, but Jesus in his gospel introduced mortal man to the very entrance upon an eternal reality of spiritual progression.

195:9.4 Religion does need new leaders, spiritual men and women who will dare to depend solely on Jesus and his incomparable teachings. If Christianity persists in neglecting its spiritual mission while it continues to busy itself with social and material problems, the spiritual renaissance must await the coming of these new teachers of Jesus' religion who will be exclusively devoted to the spiritual regeneration of men. And then will these spirit-born souls quickly supply the leadership and inspiration requisite for the social, moral, economic, and political reorganization of the world.

And, speaking of Christianity (the dominant religion of this country, and this world) The Urantia Book teaches:

195:10.1 Christianity has indeed done a great service for this world, but what is now most needed is Jesus. The world needs to see Jesus living again on earth in the experience of spirit-born mortals who effectively reveal the Master to all men. It is futile to talk about a revival of primitive Christianity; you must go forward from where you find yourselves. Modern culture must become spiritually baptized with a new revelation of Jesus' life and illuminated with a new understanding of his gospel of eternal salvation. And when Jesus becomes thus lifted up, he will draw all men to himself. Jesus' disciples should be more than conquerors, even overflowing sources of inspiration and enhanced living to all men. Religion is only an exalted humanism until it is made divine by the discovery of the reality of the presence of God in personal experience.

Click to read the Life and Teachings of Jesus

Click to read about personal spiritual experience - the religion of Jesus

Click to read about The Future

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