Excuse me for just a second while I get a little spiritual. And, if that’s just not your thing, I hope you’ll continue to read on, but if not, no big deal. However, I think this is something that’s extremely important to talk about.
Let me start out by saying I didn’t sleep well at all. I tossed and turned while there was a pretty intense thunderstorm getting it’s rage on. Normally, this wouldn’t be an issue at all. Like most people, I enjoy sleeping through a good, hard rain. But this time felt different. Different in a sense because something that’s been in the back of my thoughts over the last few months started to make sense. And it was magnified as I began the day.
Being that I couldn’t sleep, I got up and hit the gym for a little workout. I was feeling pretty good by the end of the workout, so I got the crazy idea to hop on the treadmill for a few minutes. I normally don’t do that. I’d much rather be out on the bike getting some much needed fresh air. Thanks to the thunderstorm, well… that just wasn’t going to happen. So, I grabbed my laptop, propped it up on the treadmill and hit play on a devotional address I had been eager to watch earlier in the week.
As the video began playing, I made mention of the length and set a goal of running twenty minutes; a lofty goal for someone who normally struggles to hit the ten to fifteen-minute mark. Before I knew it, forty-eight minutes had passed, the video was done, and I was still going. I don’t know if it was divine intervention that kept me going, but my mind was racing faster than I was able to keep up with it.
The thought in the back of my mind that I had been struggling with for months was now starting to make sense. This was a topic that I had presented before on previous shows, but, I never seemed satisfied with the message that I had presented. Nonetheless, the Lord placed this message in front of me at just the right time that I needed, and at just the right time so that I could make sense of it and understand it.
It seems everywhere we turn these days, there are storms raging around, within, and at us. They are designed to defeat us at every turn. The storm I’m referring to is religion. In a nutshell, that’s it. The attack on religion is moving forward with precision, and at a pace that many are unable to keep up with.
Religion is everywhere! We just have to recognize it’s there. Or at least, was there. It’s found in literature, art, communities, even in the foundations of nations. Argue as much as you want, America wouldn’t be America if it weren’t for religion, and the opportunity to freely practice religion. It’s what separates America from all other nations.
Let’s take a look at some of the places religion once was. Starting with literature. In times of old, some aspect of religion was found in all types of literature. Sadly, today, literature is shunned if it points to religion and morality. It’s all about fantasy.
Art used to be a direct reflection of religion. Most works of art used to depict the history and times found in the bible and other religious texts. Today? It’s all about being expressive and abstract. A single red dot on a ten foot square canvas is now referred to as art.
In communities all across America, religion once held the community together. It bound one another together. It was a support vessel for the broken. Today? Communities are at odds with each other. They are divided, not united. Today, it’s all about the individual and their feelings, and only their feelings. It’s not about lifting up the person walking alone on the street, or the neighbor that found out their spouse has cancer. It’s not about that anymore. If someone is offended, they react and explode.
This creates a downward spiral within society. What once bound and tied us together, is now the very thing that people reject and shun. A complete removal of religion is exactly what we’ve been warned about in the past. We’ve been warned so many times over, one would think it to be something worth protecting. Yet, the very thought of talking religion shuts people off and turns them away.
We continue to be warned even today. I call the message prophetic as we continue to see the erosion of religion more and more each day that passes. (It doesn’t matter what religion or church you belong to, it is their goal to remove it and silence the thought and speaking of religion.)
One rather prophetic warning came in 1978, when Neal A. Maxwell said:
“We will see a maximum, if indirect, effort made to establish irreligion as the state religion. It is actually a new form of paganism which uses the carefully preserved and cultivated freedoms of western civilization to shrink freedom, even as it rejects the value essence of our rich Judeo-Christian heritage…
“This new irreligious imperialism seeks to disallow certain opinions simply because those opinions grow out of religious convictions. Resistance to abortion will be seen as primitive. Concern over the institution of the family will be viewed as untrendy and unenlightened…
“There is occurring a discounting of religiously based opinions. There may even be a covert and subtle disqualification of some for certain offices in some situations, in an ironic irreligious test for office.”
Let those words sink in for a minute. Compare that warning with what we are seeing unravel right before our eyes!
Jeffrey R. Holland said in a devotional address:
“That forecast of turbulent religious weather issued nearly 40 years ago is steadily being fulfilled virtually every day somewhere in the world in the minimization of (or open hostility toward) religious practice, religious expression, and even in some cases the very idea of religious belief itself.”
In 2015, Bruce C. Hafen remarked:
“Democracy’s core values of civilized religion … are now under siege—partly because of violent criminals who claim to have religious motives, partly because the wellsprings of stable social norms once transmitted naturally by religion and marriage-based family life are being polluted[,] … and partly because the advocates of some causes today have marshalled enough political and financial capital to impose, by intimidation rather than by reason, their anti-religion strategy of might makes right.”
History – if you are a believer – shows us in the Bible that when people turned away from God, things wound up being corrected. The ship was righted per say. And, as you are aware, the Bible also tells us of a time when Christ will appear again and cleanse the world one final time.
You and I have an obligation to ourselves, one another, and to the Lord himself, to protect religion as well as its role and place in today’s society. We cannot sit idle and watch religion fall by the wayside. There are many things that are under siege, and to echo the words commonly attributed to Dietrich Bonhoeffer saying, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
I say these things, not because I’m a prophet, but as a warning. I recognize patterns, and one that I’ve seen over the past few months has been in reference to the 1978 quote referred to earlier about the idea of irreligion. There are storms on the horizon, and they are headed straight for us – if they aren’t already here now. I only hope that you aren’t oblivious to these storms and threats. I only hope that your house is in order. I only hope that you are willing to sacrifice in whatever manner you are asked to protect religion.