… the wars between belief and unbelief, … can be seen as a kind of no man’s land.

Charles Taylor, in A Secular Age

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We might well consider our age as the time when the fundamental conflict we face is between belief and unbelief.  This is true of individuals living in the West and of contemporary culture in which these individuals live.

Do you ever wonder why it is that ordered religious life is fading away?  Why there are fewer Jesuits?  Franciscans?  Benedictines?  Or why mainline Protestant churches are shrinking?  Why Catholics flee their heritage in droves? Why a church-going Catholic woman can support abortion on demand, or access to birth control devices and medication at another’s expense?  Or why our government is at war with faith but unable or unwilling to face those who would kill us because they hate Christians, or Jews?  Or why the oath of service in the military taken by U.S. Air Force Academy graduates prohibits the words “so help me God” in their acclamation of allegiance?

The wars of belief and unbelief demand a choice to believe.  To not chose is to exist in a no-man’s land.  To elect not to believe is to build and sustain a no-man’s land, and convert what once was wholesome and healthy into what is life-killing, utterly meaningless and destructive.  Alas, when believers diminish hell is present everywhere we turn.

Ironically, those who profess to believe – the churches, the vowed religious communities are ill-equipped to explain their own value.  They simply do not know how to critique culture.  They have no argument to make to sustain belief or believers.  Ditto, political leaders.

Without belief we think of ourselves as being those who can restore order: our fiction of social justice – politics in place of belief, belief in self in lieu of belief in God.

We have set about unwittingly to annihilate the belief in God.  This is our gravest mistake, the source of our slaughters and despair.   Unbelief furnishes endless nonsensical theories and policies – more harm than good.

In the presence of evil and its abundance here and abroad, it is time to believe. We have shown the harvest of unbelief and it is bitter fruit and deadly to eat.

Shalom.

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