Dick Meyer On Faith August 8, 2008Posted by shawnnicholls in Uncategorized.
Against the Grain
Community, Choice And Faith
Athletes have an inelegant term for the fans, reporters, owners and managers who like to hang around them. They call them jock sniffers.
I have been a faith sniffer. Having no ability or capacity for faith, religious practice or mystical experience, I am fascinated and attracted to people who do.
In high school, I spent a long, hot Ozark summer working on a ranch with a man who came back from the Vietnam War as a born-again Christian. He was studying to be a Pentecostal preacher, and his final exam was to convert me, the lonely little Jewish boy with whom he worked. I enjoyed the hours we spent picking rocks out of a hay field, when he preached at me and I argued back, citing Dostoyevsky and Nietzsche. I majored in comparative religion in college.
Since then, I have thought consistently about why it is so hard for many Americans of my generation and younger to embrace traditional inherited religion. “Traditional” is the key word here. It is obvious that since the 1960s there has been no shortage of spiritual seeking. There has been an equally obvious rise in alternative religion, including Christian fundamentalism, which isn’t especially traditional in many parts of the country. This is rather different than Europe, which has tended to just reject religion in all forms.