Religion today is in an interesting state. God appears to be suffering an identity crisis. Who is he? What is he? Does he even exist at all? And whose identity crisis is it anyway – God’s or ours?
The reasons are many. Globalization has brought different nations closer together. Religions have over flown the borders of countries, become obsolete, and been revived with a dizzy speed. The most important in all this I think is the fact that human beings have become far too clever for their own good. In addition, these same human beings think too much about too many things.
Let me explain. Consider religion in ancient times. Each society had their own idea of morality, religion and God or the gods. This idea was seldom questioned for several reasons. Mostly, these involved torture, death or eternal damnation. Today however, we have things like information technology, the Internet, and globalization. The world has become so small that there is little difference in terms of time between calling your sister next door and e-mailing your friend a thousand miles away. As a result, cultures that have been secluded for centuries are now suddenly learning about each other.
This has far-reaching consequences in terms or religion, philosophy and the like. Imagine that you grew up in the above small village. There was one way of doing things: your parents’. And of course that was the right way. Now suddenly people in vast, noisy machines turn up and tell you you’d been wrong the whole time. Of course things like the Spanish Inquisition, Crusades, and the wrongful extermination of entire tribes would result. These are extreme examples, but the fact remains that, with long-distance travel, the world began to be one of many viewpoints instead of just one.
It is also only now that we are beginning to recognize that maybe God is much more elusive than we first believed. My parents and my church taught me that God makes himself known through his Spirit and through the Bible. This is true of the Christian God. A similar MO is true of other gods from other cultures. A cultural concept of God builds up through ancient scriptures and cultural consciousness. In this way each culture's gods cater to their specific needs. Could this be why God seems to be suffering an identity crisis today?
So what now? We are living in a world where cultures mix and match until it is almost impossible to distinguish one from the other. We are as free to choose our religion as we are to choose our jobs, our spouses and our cars. It has become a matter of individual taste rather than intellectual culture.
I do not believe that God is unnecessary. What I do believe is that the concept of God is inextricably part of the human psyche. It would be foolish to ignore him (or her or them). Indeed, it may be vital for our survival to explore and learn about the God that has become unknown, but not unknowable.
Catherine holds a Master's in English from the University of the Free State in South Africa. She is an instructor in a special program there, teaching year long seminars to help disadvantaged students improve their English academic reading and writing skills in preparation for University studies. In addition she is a reviewer and proofreader for the Institute of Groundwater Studies, also at the University. This department is concerned with the management of borehole water and other underground water sources mainly in South Africa, and also in other parts of Africa. Highly interested in the Internet as the new form of international communication, Cathi has established two Blogs, one on self improvement subjects and one on Web site reviews of sites she has found to be excellent and rewarding experiences for Internet surfers.
Cathi Bee has been a reader throughout her life and a writer for almost as long. Professionally, most of her reading and writing work has been done for the Internet and for academic clients. Cathi enjoys writing articles and doing research on a wide variety of topics. She also writes self-help and spiritual ebooks, balancing this with her duties as ESL teacher and proofreader. Cathi works and lives with her family in South Africa.
Cathi is currently working on her "Discover" e-book series, the first of which is Discover Your Inner God, available from Ebook-Library.