After Christianity, what?

This piece from Salon, which I came to by way of the morning Schwartzreport, is an example of ignoring – overlooking — the elephant in the living room.

The article states, almost gleefully, that the Catholic church’s hemorrhage in numbers is good news politically. It assumes that the origins and significance of the most significant change happening in the West – not just America – are primarily political!

The West is ceasing to be Christian, as ancient Rome ceased to worship its gods, and in neither case did it have much to do with social issues. People leave churches – leave their religion — when they are unable to find what they need for their spiritual growth and sustenance.

I was raised Catholic and had to leave fully 50 years ago. It wasn’t because I disagreed with church doctrine on this or that. (In my experience, American Catholics largely ignore such issues in their daily lives, as can be seen in the scarcity of American Catholic families with three or more children.) Instead, it was because something within me felt I had to.

My life since leaving the church has been a long fumbling search for greater meaning, greater truth, greater spiritual relevance. If my church had provided me that, do you think I would have cared a fig about the hierarchy’s position on birth control?

Those who think a church can be successfully turned into a social-welfare group or a political-advocacy group are in for a crushing disappointment. Society is evolving a new form of group spirituality that will fill the gap the old religions can no longer fill. I don’t know what that new form will look like, but I know it is on its way, and it won’t be the worship of science or consumerism or “progress.” What it will be? Stay tuned.

7 thoughts on “After Christianity, what?

  1. I could not agree more! People are searching for more meaning in their lives and many are finding it in new, deeper, and more relevant expressions of spirituality. It is about finding ways to get closer to God however God is conceived. It seems to me America is becoming more spiritual in spite of all the craziness and incompetence in our political and governing entities; and, maybe because of it.

    1. Carl Jung pointed out that the gods do not return to the forms they abandon, and I suspect that Christianity has taken us about as far as it can. Or rather, probably I shouldn’t say Christianity, but — what shall we call it? The conventional conception of reality as being divided between :
      God on one side and nature on the other?
      or between spiritual and physical in opposition?
      or between reincarnation, or judgment followed by heaven or hell?
      It seems to me that as we change, as our perception of reality changes, as “the veil thins,” as they used to say, religion will become not less but more important, but probably it won’t look much like what we have seen so far. I wonder if we will live long enough to see it come into form, or if it will take centuries.

      1. A good morning Frank and all.
        Yes, agree.
        And “back” to E.C.again. He said: “God is not found within any Church or Temple, or any Pope or Preacher but within SELF.”

        I have been thinking about what Lily told in the one tape yesterday, and it sounded pretty much the same as in the Edgar Cayce readings. AND the one tape is recorded in 1994. I had NEVER heard about Edgar Cayce back then.
        Approximately FOUR years later on, I “happened” to come upon some Swedish books about Edgar Cayce and “felt attracted” to the E.C. groups in Sweden (what I have said “to be pure luck” before). Later on I met with a lady/teacher, from the Netherlands, AND she was in contact with other European and American groups on “The Internet” which was newly established back then. Hmm, now I am not quite sure of it was “pure luck”anymore at all.

        Okay, I have to do some housework before to go on with the listening to the other old cassettes. Now I wonder I had forgotten everything about the old cassettes before NOW.
        Is it you Frank, (and Rita&all) who have “pushed the button” anew?

        I am to enjoy myself all alone in the house.
        Not bed and breakfast though (I don`t like to eat in the bed at all…laughs), but bliss and blessings. LOL,Inger Lise.

        1. OBS. NOT 1994, but the tape is recorded in 1984. And “the Internet” was established for the common public here in Scandinavia approximately 1994/95….if I do not recall it all wrong.

          See you later on.
          Inger Lise.

        2. My maternal grandmother was a Born Again Christian. One day she was lying on her bed and woke up to see a replica of herself lying next to her. She told herself “You are the church. YOU are the church.”

  2. I think it will take centuries. My problem with nearly all forms of spiritual pursuit is that worship seems to be prevalent. I still remember being told harshly by the nun in first grade that I must worship Jesus, then sitting in Mass with my class on a weekday morning trying very hard to figure out what that was and how to do it. Now I know what it is but am still unable to do it; I think that may be the big change that is coming…a lessening of the division between higher/lower with its attendant mindset, and a gentler, more complete awareness replacing those categories. At least I hope so.

  3. Dear Frank,
    I was confirmed into Church of England, happy with its general quite relaxed beliefs and observances, the aesthetics of its music and language, two sons in the church choir, etc etc.
    Then in the course of time I started my first university degree as a mature student with Comparative Religion as my main study in my final year, a development of a long love affair with mythology
    As I gradually assimilated all the stories from antiquity, classical Greece, India, Roman Mithraism etc of babies miraculously conceived, born into threat of murder, hidden and stolen away to safety, becoming great leaders/prophets/martyrs, there came a deluge of disbelief as I realised Christianity was a collection of folk tales like all the others.

    BUT what followed eventually was an epiphany – they are all TRUE – because MYTHS ARE TRUE – NOT AS FACT but as symbols of universal human conditions.
    I later was led to the blessed Joseph Campbell who clarified it succinctly – religions are valuable human expressions but lead us astray when we fail to realise their stories are METAPHORS. He also said ‘What is the meaning of life? Life has no meaning – we are here to give it meaning’.

    I am at long last getting around to reading Jung rather than just reading about him, in fact – synchronicity! -the chapter ‘On Life After Death’ in ‘Memories Dreams Reflections’

    A friend recommended ‘The Cosmic Internet’ and as soon as I reached the conversation with Jung I knew this was for me! It is fascinating to read his continuing conversations and observing the development of his thought from when he was writing in 3D. I suppose it is a bit disrespectful but it would be interesting to hear about his experience of transition….?

    Blessings everyone – ‘follow your bliss!’

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