I have always believed that there is no such thing as an atheist in this world. There are only people who are not fully aware of the existence of God.

Recent data from the Australian Census bureau, and I am sure from the census bureau of other countries, suggest that numbers of those who belong to an organized church are steadily decreasing over the last 30 or 40 years.

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People do not seem to have the time nor the energy or interest to get involved in any one faith or religious tradition. They tend to become spiritual “lone rangers”. They want to work it out by themselves. This may sound a bit sophisticated, but ultimately it has a lot to do with the lack of interest in the “group”, “community” or the “tradition” that each of us comes from. People just feel that they have better things to do with their time.

Having said that, it does not take away from the fact that each of us is not the lord and master of our lives. We, as all cultures in history, always go back to the existence of a Divine Being which has created the reality we live in.

We keep saying, in acknowledgement of this, that we are spiritual, but not religious. We sort of need to create our own “gods”. It is hoped that this “god” does not turn out to be “ourselves”.

People are religious. We just must meet them on their road and walk with them on the road to salvation. That is what we all want.

Gregory Baum, a Canadian priest, theologian who only died a few years ago, said, “There is something permanently unsecular about man”. We would say that we all have a soul which has been created by God. It is that which is the spiritual part of us.

This of course, gives those who care about the church, cause to wonder. What is it that the church can do to bring people back to church? Fr Baum says, “The church’s concern should not be whether or not people are religious or not, but rather, to find out what kind of religion they actually have.

People are religious. We just must meet them on their road and walk with them on the road to salvation. That is what we all want.

Our God, Jesus Christ, is a real person whom we must all come to know and love.

Religious truth as Fr Baum says, is connected with us humans, as it is “the divine disclosure of the hidden”. It is not something to be explained intellectually, but rather a spiritual reality which changes both us and the world.

So then, the real questions is, “Who is your God?”

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ and His victory over sin and death has always been believed in our Christian community.

Our God, Jesus Christ, is a real person whom we must all come to know and love. That is only possible through an active relationship with Him. This relationship will, as it should, lead us back to a closer connection with all our brothers and sisters. That is where our God really lives.

Bishop Peter Stasiuk C.Ss.R. AM

This article was published in The Church and Life Newspaper

 

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