A friend was visiting a rural museum that had restored a church.
He went inside and sat down to rest and reflect.
A boy, aged about 10, came in and asked curiously: “Why did you take off your hat?”
“This is a Christian church,” said my friend. “I took my hat off out of respect.”
The puzzled boy asked, “What is Christian?”
“Didn’t your mom and dad tell you about the church?” asked my friend.
The answer blew my friend’s mind.
“No,” replied the boy.
This encounter, in my opinion, explains one of the main reasons for many of the social ills and social upheaval we see in this era.
Let me disclose I have little personal use for organized church religion simply because of a bigoted racist pastor I met when I was about 11 years old.
But I recognize and respect the tremendous influence, good, bad and ugly, that religion has had on societies around the world.
There is good, bad and ugly in all. The Christian religion has lived down the murderous Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, treatment of Indigenous people, and the wars supposedly over religion, but really about resources.
Organized religion has had a tremendous role in the development of society.
Organized religion gave these communities a set of standards, a set of values and set of laws to govern their lives and the rest of the community.
Those values and laws provided the foundation for the community to live in relative peace and harmony — as long as respect for those values is observed.
Imagine how difficult it was to convert a free-for-all society into one practicing religion and common values.
In North America we have mostly lost respect for those values and laws — largely because fewer and fewer people of each generation subscribe to religion.
Without the respect and values, religion offers respect for ourselves and others in society diminishes.
Whether it be speeding, cutting off other drivers, vandalism, disrespect for authority and the police, or thinking nothing of stealing, defrauding insurance companies, abusive behaviour, or other activities, society suffers and pays.
Living a safe harmonious life in communities around the globe has become more and more difficult.
That is not to say other factors fail to play a role in the decay of values and respect for one another.
Ron Walter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.