Can you have a God-neutral faith? Can you have religion without God? Can you have the benefits of church and yet have a hesitant or non-existent faith?
Author T. M. Luhrman, a professor of anthropology at Stanford University, answers all of these questions with “Yes” in her article, “Religion without God.”
She concludes the article with these thoughts,
Religion is fundamentally a practice that helps people to look at the world as it is and yet to experience it — to some extent, in some way — as it should be. Much of what people actually do in church — finding fellowship, celebrating birth and marriage, remembering those we have lost, affirming the values we cherish — can be accomplished with a sense of God as metaphor, as story, or even without any mention of God at all.
Yet religion without God may be more poignant. Atheists trust in human relations, not supernatural ones, and humans are not so good at delivering the world as it should be. Perhaps that is why we are moved by Christmas carols, which conjure up the world as it can be and not the world we know.
May the spirit of Christmas be with you, however you understand what that means.
Ms. Luhrman’s conclusions reminded me of what the apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 regarding what will take place in the last days.
“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be … having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.” (2 Timothy 3:1, 2, 5)
People try to find meaning in religion and rituals. Yet they completely miss the point that salvation, forgiveness, purpose, significance are only possible through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.