Onward religious warriors.

A picture said it all. It was of a Buddhist monk, in saffron robes, with his begging bowl, sitting between the cement walls of modern expressway ramps. It makes the point of the problems of the Church of Rome mentioned in yesterday’s commentary. It occurred to me that all religions are facing the same problems. Religion is failing all of us. The religious draw their scripts from previous centuries. And as they continue to resist secularism, they fail their adherents. They waste too much of their strength fighting for the status quo and are blind to the need to build bridges to the future.

Has the oligarchical Church of Rome become a blunt instrument of conservatism in a progressive world? Is Islam facing increasing pressure by trying to maintain its authority against the growing awareness of the pleasures of a secular world? Do Holly Rollers simply try to shout down the pressures of licentious living while the Hassidim just turn a blind eye?

Canadians have a more secular society than the Americans and being a “nation under God” lays an increasingly severe strain on American politics. The current American President is racist and Islamophobic, and he is sending Americans to the Middle East to ‘sow the dragon’s teeth’ for perpetual war.

The world’s largest religion is still Christianity with as many 2.5 billion on the rolls. The difference for the world’s just under two billion Muslims is that Islam demands a way of life that goes beyond the daily prayers. The peer pressure of the Islamic community creates barriers that prevent assimilation in the American style and can even stress the relaxed multiculturalism of Canadian society. There seems to be no simple formula to an environment where Christian and Islamist communities can easily co-exist.

And there are hardly any answers in the growing rejection of religion and religious symbols in an increasingly secular society. There is no benefit to the rejection. We can hardly deny the Sikh, the Hassidic, the Mennonite, the crosses of the Eastern Right or the Roman church, or the coverings of Islamic modesty or their use as a fashion statement by others.

We note that the successful congregations today are the evangelicals that build a feel-good fellowship in their community. The Hell and Damnation that they preach is just colourful background to their cheerful self-approval.

But that Buddhist monk sitting between the two expressway lanes will starve to death as civilization passes him by.

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