A Morning Peacock of Links (3/10)

Tsunami Aftermath: Second Chances in Japan

ChristianityToday on how the churches in Japan are banding together, looking to the gospel, and redefining a hopeless situation through a supernatural hope. I think this excerpt expressed the sentiment quite well:

“I thought my church died that day, but it did not,” Sato told CT. “We lost four chapels and multiple organizations, but the church remains. We don’t need to worry because the church is our home. We lost many visible things, but we rediscovered the invisible power of Christ.”

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Do Atheists Need Religion?

Swiss writer, philosopher and atheist Alain de Botton on whether atheists need religion. The following excerpt from Alain de Botton’s book “Religion for Atheists” states his rationale for writing the book. As a Christian, I do think there is something about this faith that non-Christians should find interesting, different, and even worthwhile. However, I disagree with his notion of picking and choosing bits and pieces of different faiths thereby improving one’s morality. As a Christian, I wouldn’t invite someone to join me in my joyfulness, but rather share about the REASON that is the basis for the hope in me.

The challenge facing atheists is how to reverse the process of religious colonization: How to separate ideas and rituals from the religious institutions which have laid claim to them but don’t truly own them. For instance, much of what is best about Christmas is entirely unrelated to the story of the birth of Christ. It revolves around themes of community, festivity and renewal which predate the context in which they were cast over the centuries by Christianity. Many of our soul-related needs are ready to be freed of the particular tint given to them by religions – even if it is, paradoxically, the study of religions which often holds the key to their rediscovery and rearticulation.

What follows is an attempt to read the faiths, primarily Christianity and to a lesser extent Judaism and Buddhism, in the hope of gleaning insights which might be of use within secular life, particularly in relation to the challenges of community and of mental and bodily suffering. The underlying thesis is not that secularism is wrong, but that we have too often secularized badly – inasmuch as, in the course of ridding ourselves of unfeasible ideas, we have unnecessarily surrendered many of the most useful and attractive parts of the faiths.

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