"The British have lost faith in religion much faster and more completely than they have lost faith in God. The most recent survey to show this comes from Win/Gallup, which found that Britain appeared one of the most irreligious countries on earth, with only 30% calling themselves “religious”." -- The Guardian, 14 April 2015
I wasn't surprised to read that so few people see themselves as religious. Apart from the anything else, the Church is so far removed from our daily lives, we've no reason to turn to it -- in good times or in bad.
However, what concerns me is that if people aren't religious, what underpins their lives? Or more particularly, who are they apart from their name?
The problem is that as long as we're getting what we want -- in short, more stuff -- we seem capable of keeping things on an even keel. But the moment we arrive at our nirvana, what we discover is that it's never enough (and that tends to drive us crazy: we can't relax for fear that we'll lose everything).
I'm not suggesting that turning to religion is the only answer, but at some stage (surely) we have to ask the question, "Is this all there is?"
For my part, I agree with the teachings of Richard Rohr when he refers to 'fist half of life' and 'second half of life', where the latter is informed, to a much greater extent, by faith, contemplation and a non-dualistic investigation of God. To be clear, I'm no born-again Christian, but I sincerely believe in the wisdom of the mystics -- Eckhart, Julian of Norwich and Merton -- who opened the envelope to a completely revised way of investigating religion, faith and beingness. Notwithstanding this, and despite the fact it's a good few years since I attended a formal Church service, I do recognise why so few people would be turned on to the teachings of whatever faith they were born into or feel drawn to. If nothing else, the teachings seem so far removed from the Capitalist messaging that they hear every single day -- i.e. growth, economic prosperity, success and achievement. (Imagine a world where our elders, political elite and the establishment talked openly and sincerely about faith, contemplation and living sustainably. What a difference that would make.)
I'm quite sure that these figures won't improve -- if anything they'll continue to decline -- but that doesn't mean we should give up completely on faith. Take it from me, until you've looked deep within, and particularly at that chattering mind, you'll never rise above the lower primordial self. Also, I don't believe our default position will be forever locked into an ego delusion where more is our life's credo. If it is then with an ever increasing population, global warming, conflict and water scarcity, it's no world to look forward to for those that follow in our footsteps.