What if there were a church and nobody came?
In a local story about a Congregational church that planned to close up shop, there was the following today:
Daly, the church’s pastor, said the situation the church has found itself in has become more common in recent years, as interest in churchgoing or worship among the younger generation wanes. Daly said much of his professional career since he was ordained in the 1970s has been consisted of going to struggling churches and trying to find ways to help them survive or figure out the proper course of action.It's not as if the atheists had won. Rather, there seems to be a diminution in the credibility reservoir... sort of like relinquishing cap pistols or dolls in favor of some more brightly-polished penny. There is nothing especially mean-spirited in it. It's just old hat and old news and, well, it doesn't ring the church bells it once did.
“It’s sort of difficult to quantify, but for me, one of the most compelling and powerful reasons (behind the trend) is the culture,” Daly said. “That source of solace or support and encouragement is not, in any cultural way, to be found in the church — it’s elsewhere now. There’s lots of goodness, but it’s not being associated with the church like it was in the ’50s and ’60s."
Having given so much time over to the life of the spirit, I find this diminution of interest simultaneously mildly unsettling (old age will do that for you) and perfectly understandable in the sense that beliefs have a limited shelf life, no matter how ornate they may be or what foundation they are based in.
I do have a sense that a life without "God" does not mean the search for "God" has gone inert. The unsatisfactoriness that Buddhists speak of may not have a lot of spiritual tassels, but that doesn't mean the edgy and sometimes etched uncertainties have been laid to rest.
Voltaire was not mistaken: "If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him."
If you doubt this, check out the atheists.
No God? Thank God!