January 30, 2013
Maybe it's not so funny that Steve Martin has a blue grass song entitled "Atheists Ain't Got No Hymns."
Good points, Branson: our treasure reveals our hearts, and we know that it's either God we value or idols. ("... sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry." Colossians 3:5.)
I'd also add that the apparent rise in atheism is misleading. I think it's really a rise in people admitting to atheism. The practice has been around since Bible times: "The fool[a] says in his heart, 'There is no God.'" Now people don't bother to keep it hidden in their hearts, they wear their rejection of God outwardly.
I think you're right about it being a rise in people admitting to atheism; younger generations in particular are resisting the societal stigma around atheism and expressing what they truly believe rather than bowing to the pressure of the culture as a whole.
That is a very good thing from the perspective of America's founding principles, as a place in which people of all faiths or no faith are welcome.
Stigmatization and hatred of others for being honest about what they believe is not love. We as Christians should search our hearts and our traditions, confess and repent to God and one another for any part that we or our churches have had in the stigmatization of those who believe differently from us, and work for a society in which everyone is free to worship or not worship as they see fit, without stigma.
"One key facet of most religions is some kind of organization, tradition, structure and liturgy ..."
In my experience, most of my devout atheist friends listen to similar music, watch the same shows, read the same books, and make the same arguments, sometimes word for word (I've heard the "I can't prove unicorns don't exist either" argument multiple times from multiple people).
While I love my atheist friends and have learned a lot from them, atheism seems about as much a religion as unitarianism is.
I agree with most of what you're saying. The stadium is already, in fact, a temple. And sports a god. BUT, based upon your wording, I question: why are we to be "worried," in the first place?
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
So, that being said, we shouldn't really worried, or even concerned, honestly, with what people are worshipping, but only doing our best to show them why it is we worship Who we worship.
Sunday used to belong to the church, but in America today "the NFL owns Sunday" according to the movie "Concussion"--or was it the Frontline documentary on the concussion issue? In any case, it seems to be true, and yesterday was the NFL's high holy day with a glittering liturgy that paid homage to, above all, the great god Consumerism. Though Payton Manning did allude to the "Big Guy upstairs," the Big Guy was really not a presence in the grand worship service that must have lasted at least six hours.
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