Berwick Thought for the Week: The question is, whose story is it?

The idea that we are getting less and less religious and more and more secular is one which was suggested by, among others, Peter Berger in 1968.
Rob Parson.Rob Parson.
Rob Parson.

But later, he admitted that this is not how things are turning out. It turns out that religion gives a goal, or a destination, to humanity, a reason for our existence and meaning for life, and this is something not jettisoned, but retained by modern society.

We tend to long for a bigger story to be part of, or a vision of the good life. The difference is that we have attempted to place our faith and hope elsewhere than in the religion of previous generations.

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It might be faith in the institutions of the state, or democracy, or the markets, or consumerism, or anything else. But it is often faith none the less.

The hope is that these will deliver us from our problems, save us from our dilemmas and provide a better future for our children. The problem is that all these houses of hope are homes built in our own image, constructed according to our own preferences and desires.

This is not to claim that they are to be dismantled, but merely to prove the point that whilst the claim that we are secular and non-religious seems attractive, the reality under the bonnet is that we are just as religious as we ever were – albeit with our faith in our own self-made realities, not in the self-giving reality of God.

Today in society, we rightly uphold the dignity of humanity, the equality of persons, the need for deliverance, the concept of right and wrong, and the part we want to play in a bigger story.

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The question is, whose story is it? Our own, or the God of the Bible?

Rob Parson is the pastor of Wooler Evangelical Church. He lives in Wooler with his wife and four boys, having recently received his MA in Theology from Oak Hill College in London.

He has previously lived in the North East for more than a decade, working for a church with students, children and youth. He enjoys reading, teaching, chatting, getting out into the Cheviot Hills and enjoying the beaches of Northumberland with his family.