Most religions serve an important role providing hope, comfort, and ethical guidance to their followers.
Some also manage to provide powerful tools for personal development, helping people to change their lives and shape the world around them. This is the highest calling of religion-as-such.
Once upon a time religions also made an effort to discover and explain the natural world. Philosophy, drama and art—three of our most powerful lenses for comprehending our world—have origins commingled with ancient religion. Then for a thousand years, monasteries were the main centers of Western learning. In the East it was longer.
As a priest, I have to admit: the religious have given up the fight. The history of religion involves a search to understand the universe, but contemporary sects have lost sight of that quest. They’ve codified traditional answers to the big questions and teach them as truth. Some outright oppose further scientific inquiry.
Why is that a problem? Take a moment with Singing Morgan Freeman to contemplate the complexity of our universe:
Think about that. Of the momentous discoveries in that video, zero were achieved in institutions of religion. The fundamental nature of our universe, discovered and explained, on the verge of complete understanding—will never be taught in church. Ever.
Instead of an hour of church or Sunday School, what if your kids went to programs at a science museum once a week?
What if they went to an arts program?
Would scripture really be missed?
Please tweet or share this post. Special thanks to Ross Hill for inspiration.