Is Religion Dead?
It has been but a few short years since the analysts of our society announced that there was a religious abatement in the world and we could therefore predict that soon religion would be without consequence. Has this come to pass? I think that you and I are beginning to sense what has already become the astonishing answer to that question. Self-appointed prognosticators have said that it will soon be all over for the world of religion. They noted the decline of the great denominations and the rise of increasingly respectable answers to everything which came from the world of modern science. They also took note of the rebellion among the radical youth on the streets of America and in the West and they saw this as a vast reaction against religious strictures. “Soon religion will be irrelevant and then it will expire,” they said. “We can look forward with delight to a totally secular society.”
This was the nervous promise of the humanists and that promise needs now to be remembered. May I suggest to you that people who made such predictions about society noted neither the needs of human nature nor the reality of God. There is in fact within the heart of every person a God-shaped vacuum that can be filled with nothing else but God. C. S. Lewis put it rather well when he said, “Every person who lives has within him an inconsolable longing for a land that he has never seen”. I talked to several missionaries recently who are experts on what happens out in heathen tribes and each one of them reported most positively that there is simply no such thing in the world as a tribe or a people without some concept of God. Indeed, God has put a reminder of Himself in the heart of every person.
The need of the human being is for the reality of God. God presides over the universe and without Him, there is simply no explanation of the sun, the moon, the stars or the human being himself. The fact is that God is not an idea, a concept, a feeling, an interpretation of life, a way of looking at things. No indeed, God is that magnificent, powerful and eternal being who made it all. To its credit, the world now is believing in God, indeed believing in His Son Jesus Christ, in greater numbers than ever. Their numbers are growing in even greater fashion in Korea, in Africa, in some Latin American nations and other places across the world. In a very real sense, this is a time of vast spiritual revival. By that I mean a revival of the knowledge of God and also a revival that takes the form of vast numbers of people turning to faith in Jesus Christ and embracing Him as personal Savior.
We have now come to the place that no intelligent decision can be made about society, politics, or even economics or world problems without taking into account as a very real reference the existence of and the activity of the religious community in the world. Christians are around in greater number than ever. Soberly however, let us remind ourselves that there is a great revival in other faiths as well. Islam is making large penetrations in the West, in England, in America and in other places, building mosques and centers of worship in major cities. We can therefore predict also the rise of neo-pagan religions and also the continued growth of pseudo-Christian cults in the United States and in the West. We are unquestionably experiencing a worldwide religious revival as we approach the end of the age in which we thought that materialism could satisfy.
There’s an earnest admonition that should be extended because of this. We Christians must not fall asleep in the midst of the world’s religious interest. Rather, we must opt not merely for a piece of the action but for a major influence in the religious resurgence of our world. We must move with strength as never before. The admonition in the verse of the old song is still valid:
Rise up O men of God,