It is without doubt that spirituality is gaining popularity. Websites and newspaper articles wax lyrical about mindfulness, travel agents earn fortunes with their spiritual retreats, and there are regular meditation courses even in smaller cities. More and more people, disillusioned with a selfish and cruel world, set out in pursuit of something beyond its limitations. But while we are ready to accept the existence of supernatural forces, why do we reject religion so stubbornly?
This could be a sign of the selfishness of our times. The old-fashioned, traditional sense of community is often sacrificed at the altar of individual goals. Everything around us tells us that we, our dreams and our desires are above all else. Others matter less and less. Eager to pursue our dreams, we turn to supernatural beings because we believe that they can help us. We are attracted to guardian angels because they can ward off danger. We rush to return to our past lives through meditation because they nurture the illusion that not our current mistakes but events in a different lifetime are responsible for our failures. We meditate to empower ourselves and shut out a cruel world. We gladly dip into the warm pool of spiritualism, because it comforts us with encouraging messages: we are valuable, therefore we should only accept the best and never compromise or give up on anything. And most importantly, they give the impression that we are in charge of our lives, and we can even control supernatural forces.
By contrast, religion cannot offer such an appealing message. God says that we are born to be humble servants, not haughty rulers. And even harder to stomach is the fact that God is not a magician who will make all our wishes come true. In fact, it is us who have to submit ourselves to His will. But we abhor the idea of not being in control, living for others, and not only for ourselves. In an individualistic society, it is unthinkable to put our dreams on hold to help someone else. In addition, in a time when ‘anything goes’, we are unwilling to live by the moral guidelines of righteousness set by the Bible. We don’t think that anyone has the right to tell us what to do. In short, unlike our spiritual gurus, God does not say that we will glide smoothly through life. We will inevitably experience bumps on the way, and at times God will lead us into darkness, in order to draw us closer to Him. Following God means sometimes accepting suffering and knowing that He will set everything will right in the end. But many people are unwilling to suffer even momentarily, because it goes against the world’s governing principle of instant gratification.
It is promising that an increasing number of people are beginning to realise that there is something beyond this life, beyond human understanding. However, we miss the point if we only accept the pretty side of the truth. While we are keen to invoke otherworldly spirits, we do not consider what will happen to us after we die. We put all our hopes in this life. That’s why FOMO is so prevalent. We want to experience everything to the fullest in this life. But our earthly life is only a tiny fraction of the life that God intends us to have. True, we may have to give up on some of our dreams, and embrace suffering, but all earthly discomfort and glory will pass, and we will eventually reach our final destination in heaven, where eternal happiness is our reward for a righteous life.