Sunday, November 6, 2011

Losing My Religion

We quit attending organized religious services several months ago.  Maybe a year?  I can’t find my check register from last year. It’s been a while.  According to Bill O’Reilly’s book, Killing Lincoln, we have that in common with the sixteenth President.  Strong beliefs but no urgent desire to attend services.  We didn’t quit giving. Not altogether.  When we want to give, we make a donation to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital or one of the denominational organizations where 100% of the contribution goes to the charity.  

I’ve always believed that “religion” was man-made.
I’ve always believed that “faith” was a spiritual experience that occurred between two kindred beings.
I grew up Methodist. Still am.
Both of my wives have come from Roman Catholic backgrounds.

“Shorty” Bevil, my Methodist pastor when I married that Catholic girl told me, “Don’t ever lose your faith.”  He was always careful to distinguish between “faith”, “religion” and “denomination.”  It wasn’t a matter of semantics for him.  It isn’t for me.  I never believed that Jesus Christ came down on the “Day of Pentecost” and established that denomination any more than I believe that the Pope is infallible.
Now an MSNBC contributor, Brian Alexander has published the results of a study presented recently at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Las Vegas.  Bottom line -- Miss Bob and I should be in church.  The study reports that, “college educated white Americans more likely to practice religion than the working class.”   We still seem to be contrarians because we don’t fit the demographic for working class white people.  Well, you could have fooled me!  I still have to work for a living.  We’re still white. Perhaps my income doesn’t fit the mold.  Anyway, we still have to pay taxes and even though my wife is retired, I still work full time to pay our bills.

Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines “religion” as: commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance.
The same source defines “faith” as: belief and trust in and loyalty to God.

We just don’t go to church.  Even if we may have lost our religion, we haven’t lost our faith.

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