Very good opinion piece by David Brooks in the New York Times. He uses the new musical, “The Book of Mormon,” as his backdrop. This notion of speeding away from anything that distinguishes us or makes us peculiar or diminishes the rigors of the Faith will in the end result in nothing but decline and a faith that has little real impact on the world, particularly for the cause of Christ.
A couple paragraphs:
The only problem with “The Book of Mormon” (you realize when thinking
about it later) is that its theme is not quite true. Vague, uplifting,
nondoctrinal religiosity doesn’t actually last. The religions that grow,
succor and motivate people to perform heroic acts of service are
usually theologically rigorous, arduous in practice and definite in
their convictions about what is True and False.
That’s because people are not gods. No matter how special some
individuals may think they are, they don’t have the ability to
understand the world on their own, establish rules of good conduct on
their own, impose the highest standards of conduct on their own, or
avoid the temptations of laziness on their own.
The religions that thrive have exactly what “The Book of Mormon”
ridicules: communal theologies, doctrines and codes of conduct rooted in
claims of absolute truth.
Rigorous theology provides believers with a map of reality. These maps
may seem dry and schematic — most maps do compared with reality — but
they contain the accumulated wisdom of thousands of co-believers who
through the centuries have faced similar journeys and trials.
Rigorous theology allows believers to examine the world intellectually
as well as emotionally. Many people want to understand the eternal logic
of the universe, using reason and logic to wrestle with concrete
assertions and teachings.