25
Nov
08

dual rising?

I read a portion of Timothy Keller’s book, “A Reason for God” last night in which he posed an intriguing question. First he pointed out the observable fact that both doubt and religion seem to be on the rise simultaneously. Those of us standing on the “religion” side of that dichotomy look out at the world and see only the rise of doubt and skepticism. The nouveau atheists like Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and their ilk look at the world and see only the rise of religion. Each camp then flies into a tizzy (not Keller’s word) and makes dire pronouncements about the disaster that awaits us if the aforementioned trend continues. So the question is, what if Keller is right and both religion and doubt are on the ascendency at the exact same time? What kind of forces might be at work causing that kind of dual rising to happen? If you are a “religionist” does that fact give you comfort? Does it change the way you feel about the rise of skepticism and the systematic dismissal of religion by learned and vocal leaders? If this really is what is happening, where might this trend take us?

I heard someone on NPR today talk about a nationwide financial crisis that took place in 1857 that had many similar features to our current crisis. He went on to observe that there was a widespread spiritual awakening that seemed to take place at the same time. This spiritual awakening planted the seeds that eventually led to the Temperance Movement and a new form of religiously-motivated social activism as it turned out. 

Fear of an unknown and uncertain future drives people to many different kinds of shelter. Can we face that future with confidence, trusting in a merciful and just God? absolutely!


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