What Replaces Religion?

As fewer Americans attend church the question arises: What replaces religion in ones life? To answer this one has to access what is missing that was provided by religion? After all, religion was an invention and, as such, must have had a cause.

I’d imagine that gathering together was a first cause. We see this in ancient stone works, temples and monuments. We are social animals and need and enjoy time together. 

Ritual naturally follows gathering and in ancient times rituals were formulated to honor and/or mark the passage of seasons and time itself. Rituals for belonging or membership were important as well. Rituals were invented to mark that which was not understood or feared in the natural world. Rituals for atonement, birth, death, illness, thanksgiving and even war were communal celebrated.

The building of elaborate worship spaces, decorated with art and engineered to demonstrate both permanence and power, was a natural outcome of the need to house ritual. Music and liturgy as well as the reading of sacred texts as well as the pronouncements of codified belief were an integral part of the gathering in the worship space.

A sense of awe or otherworldliness lifted the faithful from their dreary or miser lives as they worshiped in the ornate worship places. Sacred music lifted the heaviness of life and transported the mind and soul to the heavenly strata.

 In the worship place one might find someone, especially a priest (in the broad sense) in which to find consolation, to discuss a problem, to confess sin.

And now what? How do the so called ‘nones’ replace what a religion offered to people for millennia? I suspect that a none could easily dictate a complete list. Yet, the question might be raised, Is it enough?


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