Sunday, October 4, 2009

Main Street Spirituality


There is an interesting article about Beliefs in America in Parade Magazine. The basis of the article is gathered from a poll. You can always frame questions in a certain way to affirm or negate any intellectual concept in a poll. Below are some of the stats from the poll/article.

How Spiritual are we?
What Americans are doing today is separating spirituality from religion, with many people disavowing organized practice altogether while privately maintaining some form of worship. The old terms—“atheist” and “agnostic”—are no longer catch-alls for everyone outside traditional belief. In fact, 24% of respondents put themselves into a whole new category: “spiritual but not religious.”…

Our nation was built on a foundation of strong faith, and in some respects, that hasn’t changed. In fact, 69% of Americans believe in God, 77% pray outside of religious services, and 75% believe it’s a parent’s responsibility to give children a religious upbringing. But even though 45% of respondents called themselves religious, 50% said they rarely or never attend worship services.
In a way saying that people are “spiritual” – “spiritual but not religious” - or that people say that about themselves is to say that some sort of label(s) about people is, are, in some sort of transition away from the old religion(s) and their rigid belief systems.

I am not certain what I feel comfortable with in terms of a label. I do not introduce myself to anybody as “spiritual” though the topic comes up a few sentences into any friendly conversation.

The MSM magazine article I think has to do with applying possible labels and or clich├ęs that in the past have been used to entrap humanity more so than free the human spirit from the darkness of the past.

Every age is a new age and every age has an old religion. Before we apply any closing, restrictive labels, maybe we need to do a lot more searching.

Humans frame their beliefs according to priorities and preferences. There hasn’t been too much choice in the west for close to half the last two thousand years. I can’t speak for the other directions of the wind rose on that point. I claim no expertise there.

I am searching for the bottom of the curve. Not all church doors of organized religion are going to close. In this tough economy, many churches, schools and the like have bit the dust. I am searching for a bottom to determine from where we discard the past informally and have a recognizable starting point for the path to the future regarding personal belief systems and how they interface with society in general.

Maybe as America realizes that it is no longer is a superpower, a bit of a parallel to the collapse of ancient Rome, maybe we will begin to see the birth of local and merged beliefs with or “without label”.

For people over forty, maybe they remember the old order of things. Maybe people under thirty don’t have a clue what I am talking about. In terms of the young, my memory is no longer valid of the recent past and the end days of the American empire or the dead ideas of Constantine.

We have less social pressure to believe what our parents believe. What is the bond with our children or the legacy of belief we pass on to them if any?

The energy, the flow of perhaps the Internet – is a signpost – but is it a pathway to the new global mindset of all humanity about humanity and not just about nations, religions, economics etc.?

More questions than answers. Parade Magazine that is a likely Sunday insert in the Sunday Newspapers left in America is an indication that the ideas of this new age of self awareness and individual beliefs have arrived on Main Street USA.

1 comment:

Dave said...

Nothing new under the sun. This has been the case for some time now. I always see young parents drop their kids off for Sunday school and beat a hasty retreat. Half the kids parents in SS never attend worship or volunteer themselves. Hedging their bets as they want their kids to experience bible teaching but they reject it! Young adults are a tough sell and with age they change their minds about God and the hereafter. It goes in cycles and much ado about nothing.