Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Old Forms No Longer Work

One of the recurring points that Armstrong brings up is that people who are on the verge of great change in their society or culture tend to cling to their old faiths as a reaction to the change. Basically people don't deal well with new things. It takes us a long time to adjust and to find our footing in our new worlds. We have to rewrite much of what we know so that we can continue to function.

So people at first tend to cling to the old forms of their faiths. Even those who might not have been particularly religious before will become so in an effort to find something solid to hold onto while the rest of the world shifts. But many of them find (sometimes quickly and sometimes after long periods of being conservative in their attitudes) that as they adjust to the new world around them that that old forms of their faith no longer work. They don't fit with the world around them. Not whole hog dissolution of their faith but more that certain aspects of it don't work with the new mindset - slavery, for example. It's accepted at the very least in the Bible and the Qur'an if not outright encouraged. But it's no longer acceptable to have the attitude that it's okay to own other people. So do we reject the world's view that all people are equal regardless of their race and reinterpret the scriptures to fit with that view or do we reject the world and cling to the idea that the world of the scriptures was good and perfect so clearly some people are born better than others based solely on their race and the color of their skin?

Thoughts? Should religious understanding change? Can you think of any 'forms' in your faith that have changed because of the changes in society or things that need to be changed?


  1. I think it's important to be willing to change. Doesn't the Bible tell us to have teachable spirits? When we are set in our ways and unwilling to change, we are often those dogmatic types hardly anyone can stand.

    How much better to allow God to do His work in our hearts and lives and change society as He changes us. If we recognize our tendencies towards wrong and then realize God wants to make us more like Christ, we will be moldable like good clay. If we are unyielding and refuse to bend because we are SO SURE that our way is right and we WILL NOT change...yikes! What will the Potter have to do? Break us so He can then mold us into Christ-like people?

    Your example of slavery is good. I think there are other issues such as how we deal with people not in that extreme (owning others),but even how we treat them in society. Do we treat them as Jesus told us to? Love them *as we love ourselves*? Even we are to love our enemies,but how often do we have this slightly-racist or suspicious attitude of people not quite like us - whether this is someone of another race, nationality, religion or whatever. I've had to address these own issues in my life and allow God to soften my heart so I won't think of myself as superior ... oh yes, this is still a work in progress most days.

    Great questions and post!

  2. I think the fine line is adapting without losing the important things in yourself or the faith. That's what can be hard and you get fundamentalists when people are either unwilling to adapt or they see the people around them adapting and feel like those people are betraying the faith.


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