Religion in the sense of ‘a belief in or the worship of a god or gods‘ (for instance Christianity) has become a dirty word in our society! It has been interchanged with its informal meaning: an activity which is done enthusiastically and regularly (for instance, football). This distinction is important because if they are interchanged, then religion becomes just something that is done enthusiastically and regularly, rather than a set of beliefs that affect human nature, society, morals and how we relate to each other.
It is important to reclaim the word religion as a set of beliefs and roll back its reputation for meaning dogma and ritual, because the former is essential to living and being while the latter is not. C.S. Lewis in his book ‘Mere Christianity‘ gives an illustration of how the word Gentleman lost it meaning over time, from a statement of fact as to a man’s financial (and so social) standing to a commentary on his character, which far from being a statement of fact is more opinion and as such subjective.
Such subjectivity is now applied to the word religion, so that living in a secular society, feels hostile to a person of faith. This hostility is as intolerable as living in a society that imposes faith on those that have none. Given the modern trend towards greater freedom for all, it is ironic that freedom and tolerance for people of faith seems to be decreasing, while the need for enlightenment through spirituality seems to be even more apparent, since neither reasoning, nor enlightenment through the acquisition of knowledge seems to enable us to inform our moral choices. Spirituality is essential to the human condition, as even those without any faith acknowledge the presence of something more than just the body, in the form of a soul and the spirit. Religion, is essential to that part of who we are and to ignore it is perilous indeed.
It is therefore my intention, through my commentary to shine a light on situations where the moral guidance and conviction that comes from religion, in my case Christianity can affect individuals and their choices and as such, society as a whole.