So You Think You’re Not Religious?
by James Rowe Adams
If you are actively trying to make some sense out of existence, you may be more religious than you think you are. If you think you’re not religious because you don’t (or can’t) believe certain propositions put forward by religious groups, you may be surprised to learn that Christianity is not necessarily about believing stuff. According to James Rowe Adams, the primary focus of Christianity may not be about believing but about living in a community—a community in which you find companions in the search for meaning, a community where you can celebrate your triumphs and joys and can find support in failure and in sorrow, a community that provides rituals for the transitions of your life, a community that tells a story in which you can find a place for yourself. It is a story beginning with the recollections of the Hebrew-speaking people and of the early followers of Jesus, the teacher from Nazareth in Galilee.
You may think you’re not religious because you see yourself as an agnostic or atheist, as a humanist or secularist, or as a skeptic or doubter, or as a person who is spiritual but not religious. However you see yourself, you may find yourself feeling right at home among Christians who use the word “God” as Adams does in reference to certain kinds of experiences but who resist talking about “God” as a sort of being who occasionally intervenes in nature or in human history.
James Rowe Adams sets himself a formidable task: asserting the value of Christian faith and practice to skeptics, and overcoming their very reasonable objections. It’s perhaps in his favor that he’s an extremely reasonable man, and that many of these objections were his own, at other times, in his life…he holds that the ability and willingness to question certitude are assets on the spiritual path: what’s required of the skeptic, in place of blind doctrinal assent, is a tolerance for the paradox and ambiguity so often found in the Bible, and in human communities.
– Carolyn T. Roosevelt