Is Religion Dying Out? 2017-33

Is Religion Dying Out? 2017-33

No, Not dining, dying.  I don’t know! Though, I do see signs of religion not being that important to people today. 

As we, in the more civilized world, have become more affluent and as we feel we are more secure in our environment, and even more educated perhaps, it is possible that people, in general, are becoming more rational and less in need of religion.  Many areas of the world, and in certain cultures, are divorced from the domination of religious affiliations, and influence. Religion, for many, is becoming less important in everyday life in the upper advanced cultures. I will not even mention anything like moral reasons at this time.

When I travel to my church on Sunday morning, I feel, that I am the only one up and the roads are NOT busy, not crowded, and not full of vehicles going to their church for services.  Since I live in an Amish community, I must say, there are horse and buggies on the road, so I must watch out for them.

I would think that, as improved living conditions occur, a decline in a religion also is the result. The feeling of need is lessened or unimportant.  I remember 911 and the uptick of religious feelings for a small period of time afterwards.  We were fearful of the unknown and church attendance had a surge of recurrence right afterwards.

The decline has occurred worldwide and I read that many modern secular democracies, more and more people are identifying themselves as non-affiliated with religion. I realize that it is “uncomfortable” to discuss this subject with people, because of many reasons. I do know some people that said it is convenient not to go to church for many reasons. Those that said this do not have a logical reason, but it could be said by some, their reasons are petty at best. Everyone is different, and I realize this as fact.

I do not believe that those that say they are non-affiliated, can be called atheists, but instead belong to the secularism group of people. When I looked at my notes from my teaching Sunday School at church, I could see that Christians made up about 31% in the world then, and declining, Muslims around 23% and growing, and the non-affiliated about 20%. So, religion is not dead, just not doing well today.

In addition, many people state they do NOT belong to an organized religion, but are spiritual, whatever that means to everyone stating this. Instead of dying out, religion may be, becoming dormant. I do not think atheism will take over, but those leaving religion will become members of a less defined religious belief or just simply unaffiliated overall.  I know, I consider myself, Spiritual and Religious, two different words meaning different things in my mind.

In a contradiction, I read that places like China, Christianity is growing the fastest, which is strange.  Some places, like Australia, where church attendance is about 10% is somewhat holding at that percentage, but they were always thought of as a predominantly secular country.

This discourse has many source references so I did not list any.  I do not know what Wikipedia has on this, which is weird, my not going there for data.

Anyhow, I believe that there is a God.  God is alive, God is active, God is aware, God is Present and around and in us always.  He, as the living God, loves us regardless.

Den Betts

Advertisements

Prayng and Meditating 2017-15

Praying and Meditating   2017-15

A prayer is not really a meditative action, but would guess it could be related.

I meditate, which is when I contemplate or reflect on something, where I focus my thoughts or ponder about something. I, at times, come up with a plan or create a project to do in the future based on my meditative experience. I do not have a purpose in my thinking, but sometimes do have an innovative idea that I can react too or put into reality. 

I can combine the meditative time with prayers though and that is based on the contemplation that happened during this time. This is a quiet time for me—thinking to myself what is going through the convolutes of my brain.  Sort of neat….

Some could say that the meditation could have a spiritual practice to it that gives me purpose in life based on a religious thought or so. Perhaps!  The Buddhist meditation tradition does have some of that, but I don’t look at this as an ongoing way of understanding at the time.

Prayer is different.  This is a relationship with my God. It is not my silent thinking, but my vocal or outgoing way of talking with a Deity. Could a prayer be a devotional contemplation? I would think so, because of the two methods interacting at the same time. If I am meditating or reflecting about a religious thought and it goes over the fence and I am now discussing this with God, I have joined the two practices, in the same time frame.

Much has been published about how to meditate and how to pray.  It is, to me, easy to combine the two at the same time and do both.  To void the mind of extraneous thoughts while meditating and then trying to pray, can be an effort so it has a fine line on the doing of both at the same time.

So, I think they are related as I said, but still separate in their own way. If anyone does either that is great, for I get satisfaction when I meditate and extreme satisfaction when I pray so the best of two worlds is something to strive for in life.

Peace be with you,

Den Betts

Christ Search 2017-13

                                                                        Christ Search 2017-13

 

There are many ways to find Jesus Christ, or getting close to Jesus in life.  It is a trip or an experience of a lifetime. It is an ongoing journey that does not stop, although it probably does have a beginning, but not an end.

It could be like an adventure of life that we set out on, where we do not know the outcome, or the destination, but hope for the best.  A walk in the woods, a tour of a multi-room house, a visit to a strange city, or numerous other examples of something unknown at the time.

Where are we in our adventure of life with Jesus?   Well, it can take many twists and turns, many rooms to explore and stones to touch and find out where we are in our quest to finding Jesus Christ. Some, if not all of us, are on different paths in our quest. This is normal!

The old saying, take two steps forward and sometimes one step behind comes to mind. I don’t think anyone gets to a point where we go towards a goal and stay there, because there is usually another challenge to overcome or a setback that occurs.

Let me say this about our journey, which I acknowledge that I have a source for my thoughts. I believe we are at various stages for finding Jesus. 

Some, do not believe or are unaware that Jesus was real and a factor in our lives. I will say those that have this unfortunate place in life have not yet experienced an awakening and can look forward to the first door to pass through in this journey.  I will call this as being Unaware of Jesus. They will be surprised on what they can look forward to when they do become aware.

The second group would be after awareness occurs, comes the Exploring Christ segment of life.  This is where they DO have a basic belief of Jesus Christ, but are unsure of Christ and His role He has in their lives. I can remember being a member of this group and it was a rudimentary and uncomplicated life that I led at the time.  There was NO challenge in life regarding Jesus, for me at the time, but I did exist with a somewhat belief that there was a Son of God, just had no definite ideas about it at the time.

I finally had a beginning of an understanding that I was Growing in Christ and that involved a larger feeling of belief that the guy Jesus was something to consider in my life. I had the beginnings of a personal relationship with Jesus and a commitment to trust Him as a Savior and an inkling of learning what it means to be in somewhat of a relationship with Him.  I started to be aware of my everyday actions and what it meant to me and those around me. I realized that when I sinned, there was a God and His son that knew what I did at the time. I also started to understand what the love of God meant and that Jesus Christ died for my sins.

I want to believe that many people are at this junction in life and again, this is normal.

Then life evolved to where I became Close to Christ. Wow!!  This is where I started to depend on Christ daily in my life and to see Him as the one that is assists me in everyday experiences.  I began to turn to Him for guidance for issues that I was facing, asking Him for help, letting Him know my concerns, my fears, my joys, my daily thoughts of who I was and why I exist. This was in a quiet way, private to myself.

Guess what!  This is where I started to realize that my two steps forward in life, sometimes has a step backward in life.  I do NOT stay in the same room of life all the time.  There is always a door going somewhere, and at times, the door leads to a place I do NOT want to be in.  That is the way it is, and I have begun to live with this, as a life experience, that needs to be lived. (make sense?).

Several years ago, I had an experience that I call “The Happening”. This is where I met Jesus Christ, heard the Holy Spirit and saw the Glory of God.  I have written and told some about this and will not dwell on it now.  But, it did change me.  The neat thing is, we can ALL have an experience like what I had then; really!!!!!!

I, in my lifetime, went from being what I was called “a heathen” to a believer of God and Jesus Christ. Ok, that happened to me, so be it.  But, we can all have a telling experience with finding Jesus, and mine occurred to me and I own it. Let me continue.

The last room, or turn in life, or whatever it can be called, is where I became Christ Centered. To be honest, I feel that I go through this door and become this way at times, but am not sure I stay there very long, I am sorry to say. BUT, I feel that this has happened to me and that is good.  Here, I identify that my relationship with Jesus Christ is the MOST important relationship I have in my life. I want to fully surrender myself to Jesus and His agenda by subordinating everything to His will and desires.  It WOULD be great if I lived my life there always, but that is not the case, unfortunately.

OH, one more thing!!!  I believe that each move forward to become Christ Centered has a cost!! Crap, you say?  Well, nothing was promised to be easy and perhaps we just don’t want to pay the price of growing closer to Christ or even centered with Him. Maybe the commitment is too much, the extra effort, or any more involvement is not what we want to do. That may be the case, but if you do, I would like to hear from you and give you my advice on how to accomplish your goal . Perhaps we want to just stay in the same plateau where we are with Him and not reach outward. Guess what, He still loves you regardless! He will always love you, regardless. That is the nature of God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

OK, so I have told you where I feel my journey of life, finding Jesus Christ, has been.  Do NOT compare your life with mine. We are ALL on our individual trip of life. Some include Jesus and some do not. Some are so-so with having Jesus Christ in their lives and that is up to them. I only really care of how MY life is like with Him and hope your life also does include Jesus as part of your life in some way. Where you are in which room or turn, is up to you and my prayers are with you.., regardless.

May the peace of our Lord, Jesus Christ be with you,

Den Betts      bettsden@gmail.com

Mystical Jesus and Followers 2017-12

 

                                               Mystical Followers 2017-12               

Was Jesus a mystic!!     He, as the son of God, who prayed to Him; asked Him questions, listened and got answers.

What is a mystic? A person who seeks by contemplation and self-surrender to obtain unity with or absorption into the Deity or the absolute, or who believes in the spiritual apprehension of truths that are beyond the intellect.

Jesus in his three years as described in the Gospels, was a teacher. What He learned as a child, a teenager and young man in His travels, He taught to those He knew and loved; His disciples.

He taught them to pray, to talk and how to listen to God, and after He died and was resurrected, He came back to instruct them to continue.

The disciples learned from Jesus and they listened to what He had to say. The letters to the churches, the instructions, all show that that the Apostles became mystics also. In their travels their teachings to those they spread the word of the Lord, furthered the belief in this man Jesus, beyond imagination. 

I can ask the question, but I feel I KNOW the answer – YES He was a mystic for he had experiences with God and more than anything, he KNEW of His being.

   Den Betts

Walking on Earth 2016-49

As one that KNOWS there is a Triune God, I wrote this yesterday when I was thinking of my Being and where I am in life. I was blessed, one time, with some knowledge that goes beyond the norm and with that insight, I can relate to what I have written below:

Walking on Earth 2016-49

We walk on Earth as land locked beings;

Our existence, like a quest for knowledge.

We try to separate reality from fiction

Looking for the reasons of– why we are

Our lives have the

Convolutes of true knowledge

Mixed with the absolutes of life

Do we owe our existence to a Creator

That observes and judges– per our actions?

Are we, but organisms

That are born, exist, and then die?

OR, can we look forward to a life

Beyond, just that existence?

AND relish a blissful way of living,

That goes on and on and on?

Words spoken, promises made, with

Each of us to find out individually

At the given time in the future…………

Should we ALL consider the consequences

Of making the wrong awareness ??????

Den Betts

Prayer/Psalm 2016-48

I think I wrote this as a simile to a written Psalm in the Old Testament, but cannot be sure. I tried to find the actual (if so) psalm but could not. So, I will claim it as mine and instead call it a prayer. It still sounds like a psalm…….

 

Prayer/Psalm 2016-48

 

He shall be my light and salvation

To hide me, shelter me from my worst fears

Allow me to sing, to dance and be merry,

With joy and happiness of a knowing protection

Be gracious to me, when lonely and afflicted

Forgive me, when I have gone astray

Create in me a clean, pure heart,

Protect me from my own transgressions

Become my strength, a shield against adversity,

Gird me with gladness of living and life

Comfort me in my worse times of grieving and despair

Deliver me from the evils of the world

Cleanse my mind of wrongful thoughts, words and deeds

Save me from those that would do me wrong

Praise be to God, for He is the one, the only one

To have the power to be, to do, for life everlasting

 

Den Betts