God in schools has been a debate for years. And the obvious reason why there is no religion in schools is because we not only all have different belief systems. But we all have our own interpretation for what God means. And when sending our children to school, we may believe the same religion that is being taught yet still do not want the schools pushing their own beliefs onto our children. So we have worked to have a separation of church and state. But are there other reasons for why we have religion removed from schools?
lifestyle gets in the way
We all have lives that may conflict with our religious beliefs. And for that reason, you cannot teach religion in schools. The instructors just like the parents of the kids have lives. And to come to school and teach God and religion, yet have their own lives that cause conflicts with religion can create an unstable environment. The bible was written during a time period totally different than the one today. So living by the book becomes virtually impossible in the world today.
Having so many groups living in an environment can create a problem when trying to figure out what religion to practice. But even if we look at just Christianity, which is the dominant religion of America, what sect shall be practiced? Will it be Baptist, Agnostic, Pentecostal, Catholicism, Lutheranism, or Jehovah Witness viewpoint? And they all have different takes in Christianity themselves. And after them you have Islam and Judaism, who have their own sects under these headings, not to mention Atheist.. So trying to place religion in schools would cause problems, even among Christians. So for now, let’s keep the religious talks for families to deal with not schools.
As a child I would go to church with my mother and watch how people would worship. And there was something of interest the way people would extend their hands up to the heavens. And it dawned on me what people were doing. It is a form of submission and asking for help. But why were people begging for help?
Religion is one of those debates that get started as with politics that there is no real answer to in life. It is the dealing with people and their faith base, and that’s that. But why do people worship to God? What is it that makes people place their hands up. It is the one thing that all religions have in common. The need to look upward.
The meeting places of where we go to worship is quite exquisite. These regal style buildings that have paintings and glass sculptures of Jesus Christ. And every church mirrors that of old world Europe. The pews where people sit are all directed forward to hear the pastor speak. And the organs which jute into the air carrying the sounds of the piano playing.
And then there are the people who come in droves to hear the words of the bible spoken to them through the mouth of a pastor/priest. That coming together in this one place has a very fraternal/sorority feel. We all have this one group, one belief, one moral code, moving forward.
Living in New York City, I was watching the news where a lot of churches have been closing their doors. Problem is, is that the rising rent is pushing them out and members are not coming into the house. That means once a generation ages no one is replacing them. So what happens, the doors close. So are we seeing that now?
Are we seeing a dwindling down of the culture that has been around for so may centuries? Maybe, just maybe we might be living through the end of an era.
As a young child growing up, I attended church with my mother and two sisters every single Sunday. Since becoming an adult I attend less, not because of religious belief, but because of my job. Working everyday is a must, not just for me, but most Americans. Yet this topic is not about most Americans, but a certain segment of the country that has held on to the Christian faith for a very long time. And that segment of America is the Black community. You see, I went to church every Sunday, but my mother and her sisters went not only every Sunday, but they went to church services during the week. And for my grandparents, they went so much, it could have been easily misleading into thinking they were working in the church as a second job. So why did I choose to talk about the topic of the Black community and the church?
Well, for me, I live in New York City, and recently on the news, I have been hearing how the Black churches across the five boroughs have been closing their doors. One of which, the Cornerstone Baptist Church in Brooklyn just celebrated 100 years of service. But they are concerned that due to high rent because of gentrification and dwindling members attending, they are in fear of closing their doors as well. Their church has gone from 1,300 members down to just 75 people coming to church on Sundays. Now you think to yourself, the Black church was more than just a place of congregated for church. The church for the community was a place which held most of our meetings that were orchestrated by civil rights leaders during the movement. There they discussed agendas for upcoming marches, sit-ins, and any other show of resistance against the oppression we as Black people faced during that time period.
Now, what has been the haven for our social justice and worship is now closing doors. But not just closing their doors citywide, but nationwide. Well, what is happening to the numbers of Black membership? One of the reasons for dwindling numbers is why I don’t attend: employment. Work is so hard to come by in our society today, so every chance you get to work, you do so. Some may take it as you not showing enough time for God, but you are put into a position in which you have to work. Making ends meet is so important, that missing any day is crucial to survival. And with so many of us as Black people still below the poverty level, you can’t expect your parishioners to just take off of work. Yet, is that the only reason, no.
Another reason for the decline in the Black church is due to relationships becoming fragmented in the community. What do I mean by relationships, I mean Black men and women. Going to church in the Black community was a family tradition. But now, with single parent households and mothers trying to carry the load of the family, sometimes she is just too stressed to get her kids ready for Sunday service. Another connection with respect to relationships is the rising interracial marriages. Black people are marrying outside our ethnicity, and those relationships are taking on new beliefs of their spouse or not attending church at all. And still, there more reasons why churches in the Black community are closing.
There is also a rise in the number of Black people leaving the Christian faith and converting to other religious, or not believing at all. That’s right, believe it or not, Atheism is on the rise, even in the Black community. A community that has been deeply rooted in God that even non-believers believe just in case God exist. But why has the belief decline throughout the community. One aspect is in regards to the way church has been centered toward believing that God watches over households where children reside. Yet so many of these households are the main homes that struggle to survive. Another connection to the loss of belief is the same reason for many other groups leaving the church: scientific proofs. The smarter man get the harder man has in believing in divine intervention and the afterlife.
In the end, there are so many reasons why Black churches have diminished, but only a few stick out the most. Scary as it may seem, you might see the nonexistence of the Black church in America. Does that mean Black people are losing faith in life and themselves? No, but as a man who grew up in the Black church, if I live to be my mother’s age, the transformations that our community will take on could be drastic.
As a young man growing up in a Christian household, I can tell you all sorts of stories of the important role Christianity played in my upbringing. But there is something taking hold in society that generations did not see coming. And that is that religion is rapidly dying out in our society. What is it attributed to? In my opinion, the reason for religion taking such a plunge has a lot to do with the advancements in science. The more we understand about ourselves in relation to the planet, the more religion takes a deep fall. In the past, we knew little about the planet in which we reside. But now that we are starting to know more and more, the less religion is serving a purpose. Are there any other reasons for the shift in religion declining?
Another reason for the sharp decline has to do with the level of terrorism in the world. Terrorism today are faith based initiatives that require people to have the faith of what they are doing is right. Whether you believe it or not, if all you need is to believe and make a decision without having to fact check with anyone else, it creates problems. Meaning, in my heart of hearts I feel that the bible dictates one aspect of life, and effect your life according to my belief. That causes people to stray away from religion because there is no intervention of any kind. You’re taught that a house in which children reside won’t go without food or be harmed. Yet that in itself has been proven wrong. So now, people of religion have found themselves in a tough position where they have to address things that take place. Why? Because a young demographic is starting to get turned off by the idea of religion.
Well then, will we eventually see a time where people have come to an understanding that this is it? Or, will people take on new beliefs that will replace the ones we have today? Because at the rate we’re going in the present tense, the three majors (Judaism, Islam, and Christianity) are at risk of falling. And it’s not people form the outside that’s causing the problems. It’s the people on the inside that have religion in jeopardy of falling off. See, in the end, man’s intellectual capital is climbing, yet the religion is lagging behind. A major reason that has not been expressed yet, for the decline, is religion never changes. In an ever changing civilization, something that does not change is always at risk in an evolving landscape.
The conversation regarding church and the state has been a topic of debate for decades. Should we include the religious practices of the Christian faith into our schools, workplace, or even leisure activities? And I for one am against the involvement of religious practices into our daily lives on these levels. Not because I have an issue with Christianity, but mainly because the people aspect of what could come of it. People are fine with God entering all of our lives so long as it does not interfere with whatever it is that benefits their lives. This is a key reason why we have the separation of church and state. Well, let’s go a little further into what I mean by benefits their lives.
When sending your child to school, you want and expect them to receive an education that is based in academia. The obvious reason why religion in school wouldn’t work is because you don’t have children at your schools that all believe the Christian faith. But another thing that people don’t think about is the idea that we have many sects of the Christian faith. So let’s say we do put Christianity in schools. What sect of Christianity: Baptist, Lutheran, Catholic, Pentecostal, or Johovah Witness? Here is where even more fighting could possibly take place. Because the way in which each of the above sects serve God is different. So even with Christ in schools, not all Christians worship the same.
What about the use of Christianity in our laws? Here is the problem with laws in our society. It’s easy to say, “Thou shall not kill.” But what about laws such as, “Thou shall not commit adultery.” If you ask anyone do they cheat, they’ll say no. But if you make it a law, people will fight for their right to cheat. It will be fought under the guides of “everyone makes mistakes.” But cheating is not a mistake. You don’t mistakenly sleep with another person. You mistakenly spill a cup of coffee, but you know you are in a relationship. Cheating is thinking you’re getting away with something. Well because cheating is human nature. But if the bible speaks against this human nature, can you make it law? That’s why structuring laws around religion can be dangerous.
Another place where we separate the church and state decisions are in the workplace. Everything from how you dress, to both genders working side by side. Christianity has something designed around the workplace. And you really start to run into issues, even more than children going to school. Because you have adults policing other adults who live the same way. And what do I mean by the same way. For example, I am a male boss telling a woman what to wear. But the tables are turned the moment another man tries to enforce his will onto our wives, sisters, and daughters. We are comfortable telling other women what to do, just no one telling those close to us the same.
And in the end, all of what I have explained is the reasons why church and state have to be separated. Because when I do something you feel go against the bible it’s a sin. When you are now doing something that goes against the bible, it becomes either nobody is perfect, or the God I worship doesn’t judge. You can’t say abortion is wrong, then conduct research and abortions are up in the communities pushing against abortion. You can’t say wait until you’re married for sex, and then we find out you have been married for five years, yet you have a seven year old child. It’s the hypocrisy of us as people as to why we have to, and will always keep church and state separate.