Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Thinking Nervously About Noah

"Americans More Skeptical of God Than Ever..." was the headline that caught my eye on Drudge this morning. 

On a related note, God Isn't Terribly Thrilled With Us At The Moment Either, would have been a nice companion story.

Every few years we see these surveys taken which attempt to measure the religious beliefs of Americans. All of the trends seem to suggest that we have lost or are in the process of losing our faith. There is plenty of room for quibbling with the data. While belief in God is declining, interest in spirituality had been on the upswing...until this latest survey which has even that slipping away. In addition, belief in God and membership and identification with one of the many churches claiming to represent him are two different things. But even here, the numbers don't look good. Membership and attendance are way down across the board. All of which leaves me with the nagging question of, which came first? Have we abandoned our faith because we have become such horrible, selfish people...or have we become horrible, selfish people because we have abandoned our faith? I'll leave that one to the theologians.

As I survey the world around me, I come to the inescapable conclusion that if I were God, I would wash my hands of all of us. God is patient and kind and long suffering, we are informed by the book of Psalms. Well, it's a good thing, or we would all be toast. When I observe how we treat each other down here, the greed, the hatred, the ugliness, I've got to think that there's a part of God that is getting increasingly pissed off. Back in Noah's day, we learned that God's famous forebearence had limits. The stuff they were doing back then seems like entry level degradation compared to a typical Tuesday afternoon on the Internet today.

At this point, I'd settle for some basic human decency. Sometimes, I'll find some story of a homeless guy who stumbles across a wad of 100 dollar bills that has fallen out of someone's pocket. I watch the video of the guy spending 15 minutes trying to find the owner, then when that fails he finds some of his homeless friends and shares his largesse with all of them. On the one hand, the story warms my heart, on the other hand it shames me because I know that most "respectable people" in a similar situation might have tried (briefly) to find the owner, but afterwards would have pocketed every red nickel. Would I have sought out five of my friends to share the money with? Uh...no. This, I believe is at the root of our problem.mthe more stuff we have, the less important our fellow man becomes to us. The homeless guy has nothing, except those he shares his life on the streets with. They are his prized possessions. The words of Jesus ring true, "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."