On a surviving patch of ancient grassland not far from my home is a place where two artists live and create. The three principal structures on the site are former churches.
The largest, with a soaring steeple, was built in a field south of the South Saskatchewan River in 1913 by settlers from German colonies in Russia. At the time, many of them were still living in sod huts. They valued their faith more than their creature comforts, games and merry-making. After the Great War, they were joined my more ethnic Germans from Russia, people who had seen their places of worship deliberately and relentlessly despoiled by the new Bolshevik regime. They came for homesteads, freedom from persecution and the right to be unhindered in the practice of their Christian faith.
Worldwide, there are still countless numbers of people who are strong in their religious faith. Most of them are followers of Mohammed, the Prophet of Islam. While Islam expands throughout the world, Christianity languishes in Europe and in every land colonized by Europeans. One reason for this decline is in the past, in the association of Christianity with Colonialism. Another is in the rise of a new religion.
Our new religion is technology and the fostering of the belief that there are no gods, only more discoveries to be made by god-like human beings. In 1913, devout Christians knew that they would be rewarded with never-ending pleasures in heaven and that unrepentant sinners would suffer eternal punishment in hell. Now, we live in a society that takes as much pleasure as it can afford in this world and, if caught, its punishment for wrong-doing, in the toils of the legal system. When there are no eternal rewards and punishments, it?s easier to be uncaring.
Burning the Bible or the Koran doesn?t free us from our moral obligations as human beings. The age-old battle between good and evil continues and it is very real. If we truly care, we know what is Good and what is Evil. We shouldn?t need a biblical injunction to understand that indeed we are our brother?s keeper. While we enjoy our comforts and pleasures, we have brothers and sisters of all ages who are victims of misgovernment and oppression, exploitation, homelessness, starvation and disease
As a nation, we are obligated to do something about it, even it there is no heaven filled with eternal rewards.