This N.Y. Times story will become more and more common. As long as “religion” is a synonymn for cultural conformity and pre-scientific thinking more and more people will wake up wanting something more.
Religion is not what a culture deems it. It is not churches, crosses, temples, dogmas or particular rituals. Religion is the sacred poetry of life. It is celebrating the circle of life all along the way. Religion does not require belief in the supernatural. It does not require us to believe untestable propositions, or perform irrational acts in the name of our sect. Instead, religion is stopping briefly when the sun rises and sets. It is looking in wonder into the eyes of an infant and seeing the universe made manifest. Religion is pausing at the death of a friend, or stranger, and teaching children that they, too, belong to the circle of life.
In the West, religion has been falsely associated with supernaturalism, theism, creationism, sexism, and all kinds of isms. It is understandable and, in fact, admirable that people would reject that version of religion. Unless Christianity goes through a reformation more radical than Luther or Calvin ever imagined it will continue to lose its best and brightest. There is nothing irreligious about being an atheist, Buddha could be called an atheist. But how poor will our lives be when our masses live without reverence shared in community?