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Will People Turn Back to God? By Peter West
I was wondering if in these terrible crazy times, if there could be a silver lining, namely that people may move away from materialism, back to God? I have in mind the Black Death, which certainly got people praying, and in times of severe crisis, when science and technology are not delivering their magic, the churches tend to fill:
“Americans, chastened by the horrors of war, turned to faith in search of truth and meaning. In the late 1940s, Gallup surveys showed more than three-quarters of Americans were members of a house of worship, compared with about half today. Congress added the words “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954. Some would later call this a Third Great Awakening. Today the world faces another moment of cataclysm. Though less devastating than World War II, the pandemic has remade everyday life and wrecked the global economy in a way that feels apocalyptic. The experience is new and disorienting. Life had been deceptively easy until now. Our ancestors’ lives, by contrast, were guaranteed to be short and painful. The lucky ones survived birth. The luckier ones made it past childhood. Only in the past 200 years has humanity truly taken off. We now float through an anomalous world of air conditioning, 911 call centers, acetaminophen and pocket-size computers containing nearly the sum of human knowledge. We reduced nature to “the shackled form of a conquered monster,” as Joseph Conrad once put it, and took control of our fate. God became irrelevant. Who will save us now that the monster has broken free? “Men may live to a great age in days of comparative quietness and peaceful progress, without ever having come to grips with the universe, without ever vividly realising the problems and the paradoxes with which human history so often confronts us,” Butterfield wrote. “We of the twentieth century have been particularly spoiled; for the men of the Old Testament, the ancient Greeks and all our ancestors down to the seventeenth century betray in their philosophy and their outlook a terrible awareness of the chanciness of human life, and the precarious nature of man’s existence in this risky universe.”
My guess is that if this crisis does drag on for months, or a year, or more, it will challenge the authority of science and technology, the main competitors to religion. People disillusioned with the empty promises of technocracy, may return to tradition. That, at least is the optimistic view. The pessimistic one is covered elsewhere at this site by the usual apocalyptic writers like James Reed.