There is a new book: An Atheist Defends Religion: Why Humanity is Better Off with Religion Than Without It, by Bruce Sheiman. The author takes up the case for the positive aspects of religion within our society.
I came across the following article dealing with the book on Christianity Today’s website. The author stipulates that while the Christian religion may be a good thing, it is still a human endeavor. The New Testament is not primarily concerned with creating a new religion, but doing something very different with the hearts and mind of people and thus with society. Here is a quote that I particularly like:
But this sort of thing, religion, does not stand at the heart of the New Testament message. The gospel isn’t primarily about helping individuals to live the life they’ve always wanted; it tells people to die to their yearning for self-fulfillment. It is not about helping people feel good about themselves, but telling them that they are dying. It’s not about improving people, but killing the old self and creating them anew. It’s not about helping people make space for spirituality in their busy lives, but about a God who would obliterate all our private space. The gospel is not about getting people to cooperate with God in making the world a better placeâ€”to give it a fresh coat of paint, to remodel it; instead it announces God’s plan to raze the present world order and build something utterly new.
In short, religion is about making adjustments, making the best of things, inviting God to play a part in our lives and community, and the pursuit of spirituality! The gospel says our lives and our world are catastrophes, beyond tinkering, beyond remodeling. The gospel is about the Cross, which puts a nail in the coffin of religion as such. And the gospel is about resurrection â€” not an improvement nor an adjustment, but the breaking in of a completely new life because the old life has been obliterated.
[A Pretty Good Religion: Be wary of anyone who starts praising Christianity; by Mark Galli; posted 8/27/2009]
Being made into the image of God (the imago Dei) is not about tinkering, but about creating anew, completely.