The Coming Religious Revival

Category: Faith & Spirituality Topics: Religion
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The number of people in the USA who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or "nothing in particular," now stands at 26%, which is an increase of nine points from 17% in 2009. In the 2018 General Social Survey of U.S. attitudes, "no religion" became the single largest group, edging out evangelical Christians.

Evangelical Lutherans dropped from 5.3 million in 1987 to 3.4 million now. The Presbyterian Church USA had 3.2 million in 1982 but now is around 1.3 million. The Episcopal Church went from 3.4 million in the 1960s to 1.7 million now. And the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Protestant denomination, said it had 14.8 million members in 2018, down by a million and a half since it peaked at 16.3 million in 2006.

Even more shocking; of teens and young adults who say they are affiliated with organized religion, 52% say they have little or no trust in organized religion. That lack of confidence among religiously affiliated teens and young adults is one of many surprises in the "State of Religion and Young People" study, which surveyed more than 10,000 Americans ages 13 to 25 about their involvement in and feelings about religion.

At the same time, 60% of teens and young adults who are not involved with an organized religion described themselves as at least slightly spiritual; 19% said they attend religious gatherings at least once a month, and 12% of unaffiliated young people have become more religious in the last five years.

This group will lead the next religious revival if the leaders of today's religions will be open to the desire of young people for beliefs that respect other faiths and do not claim an exclusive we have the 'only truth' or 'only approved by God' religion.

This is especially important for America's Islamic leaders because the Qur'an is a strong proponent of Religious Pluralism: "Indeed, the believers, Jews, Christians, and Sabians—whoever believes in God and the Last Day and does good will have their reward with their Lord. And there will be no fear for them, nor will they grieve." (Quran 2:62)

A survey of over 35,000 Americans in 2008 found that most Americans agree with the statement: many religions – not just their own – can lead to eternal life. Among those affiliated with some religious tradition, seven-in-ten say many religions can lead to eternal life.

This view is shared by most adherents in nearly all religious traditions, including 82% of Jews, 79% of Catholics, 57% of evangelical Protestants, and 56% of Muslims. (From the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, 2008, Pew Research Center.)

Thus, in the 21st century, in the United States, most Christians, Jews, and Muslims have rejected the 'only one truth' religious mindset and believe in the Qur'an's pluralism teachings: "For every one of you did We appoint a law and a way. If Allah had wanted, He could have made you one people, but (He didn't) that He might test you in what He gave you. Therefore compete with one another to hasten to do virtuous deeds; for all return to Allah (for judgment), so He will let you know [about] that in which you differed." [5:48]

Only those who reject God by disbelief or by unrepentant evil activities will be the losers when Judgement Day comes. Although many, perhaps most 'only one truth' religious mindset theologians will learn that they might not be as smart as they thought they were.

It is essential to understand that 'religious pluralism is the will of God' differs from religious, moral, or cultural relativism. Relativism teaches that all values and standards are subjective, and therefore there is no higher spiritual authority available for setting ethical standards or making moral judgments.

Thus, issues of justice, truth, or human rights are, like beauty, just in the eye of the beholder. Most people, especially those who believe that One God created all of us, refuse to believe that ethics and human rights are simply a matter of taste. Religious pluralism as the will of God is the opposite of cultural or philosophical relativism.

The fundamental idea of supporting religious pluralism is that religious people need to embrace humility in many religious areas. All religions have always taught a traditional anti self - centered personal egoism type of humility.

Religious pluralism also opposes a religious, philosophical, and self-righteous intellectual egoism that promotes a tendency to turn our legitimate love for our prophet and Divine revelation into universal truths that we fully understand and know how to apply.

Religious pluralism teaches that finite humans, even the most intelligent and pious of them, can not fully understand everything the way the infinite One does.

This is true, for every human being, even for God's messengers themselves. When prophet Moses, "who God spoke with face to face, as a person speaks with a friend" (Exodus 33:11) asks to see God face to face, he is told, "You cannot see My face, for no man can see My face and live." (33:20)

Similarly, in the Qur'an prophet Jesus admits to God, "You know everything that is within myself, whereas I do not know what is within Yourself". (7:116)

And when Prophet Jesus was asked, in private, by his disciples, "What will be the sign for your coming (back) and the end of the age?" (Matthew 24:3) Jesus warns his disciples about upheavals and false Messiahs that will come. Then Jesus concluded by saying, "But about that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, not even the son: only the Father." (24:36)

A similar statement was made by Prophet Muhammad when he was asked, "Tell me about the Hour". He said: "The one questioned about it knows no better than the questioner." (Muslim Book 1 Hadith 1&4)

God taught the general principle of epistemological humility through his Prophet who taught his followers, "I am no novelty among the messengers. I do not know what will be done to me, or to you." (Qur'an 46:9) In truth, the only universal truth should be the humility to admit: "Only God knows."

And as Prophet Micah makes it clear, what God wants is not one religious belief or ritual but your whole heart and commitment. "He has told you, mankind, what is good; and what the Lord requires of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" (6:8)

Finally: "Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, despite love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves; [and who] establishes prayer and gives zakah; [those who] fulfill their promise when they promise; and [those who] are patient in poverty and hardship and during battle. Those are the ones who have been true, and it is those who are the righteous." (Quran 2:177)


  Category: Faith & Spirituality
  Topics: Religion

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