Can one Belong without Faith?

Mariner suspects the Atlantic Magazine reads his posts. More than once, mariner has presented a subject that Atlantic reports on in its next issue. Mariner’s post, “It’s Time for Religion” published on July 17, addressed the absence of religion in today’s milieu of confusion and lack of focus. Today, The Atlantic publishes a fine article on the relationship between organized religion and loss of community.

[The Atlantic] Secular organizers started their own congregations. But to succeed, they need to do a better job of imitating religion. Jul 21, 2019.

By Faith Hill, Assistant editor at The Atlantic.

When Justina Walford moved to New York City nine years ago, she’d never felt more alone. She’d left behind her Church, her God, and her old city, Los Angeles. . . By the time she turned up in New York, her faith had long since unraveled, a casualty of overseas travel that made her question how any one religious community could have a monopoly on truth. But still she grieved the loss of God.

When Walford shed her faith, she joined a large and fast-growing group—the “nones,” or the religiously unaffiliated. According to data from the latest version of the Public Religion Research Institute’s annual “American Values Atlas,” 25 percent of Americans today are religiously unaffiliated, up from single digits in the 1990s. . . If the sudden emergence of secular communities speaks to a desire for human connection and a deeper sense of meaning, their subsequent decline shows the difficulty of making people feel part of something bigger than themselves. One thing has become clear: The yearning for belonging is not enough, in itself, to create a sense of home.[1]

Belonging is a will o’ the wisp experience. It can’t be manufactured, bought, manipulated or imposed. Like will o’ the wisp, it can’t be held in the hand or stored in a closet; it can’t be negotiated. Belonging is a sensation that comes to someone unexpectedly after a period of time that involves shared responsibility, dependable trust and confidence. It isn’t like membership in a club or even a sport team; belonging consists of tenure, sharing and grace – religiously speaking, Divine Grace.

Being in a state of grace makes one aware of the subtleties of eternity, of surreal satisfaction and of unshakable confidence. As Faith Hill said in her article, it is easier if there is God.

Mariner quoted in his post Reza Aslan who said, “Humans want a god like themselves.” This is not flippant; it means humans need an understandable link to Divine and irrevocable authority beyond the human experience – but about the human experience. Without a godhead, atheists and non-theological ritual cannot easily invoke a divine force that relates to a human world.

Today, it’s time for religion.

Ancient Mariner

[1] For complete article, see:

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