Someday, there won’t be any mosques or temples. There won’t even be any churches. There won’t be any religion at all.
That sounds scandalous, doesn’t it?
Bear with me here.
It’s not that we human beings will develop to a point where religion is unnecessary or that we’ll get so freaked out by the excesses of religion that we’ll outlaw it altogether. We might well do that, but it won’t matter. There will always be religions because religions are our humble, stumbling ways of articulating who God is and what it means to live as God has created us to do so.
We are religious people because we are hungry, starving even, at the deepest levels of our beings. No amount of law can obliterate that hunger nor can any human philosophy nor material wealth satiate it.
In this world, we will always have religion.
Maybe our building will be destroyed, our freedom revoked, still, we’ll worship.
If the great Roman Empire was incapable of destroying the sect of the Nazarene, we have no reason to fear that some more modern power will be any more effective.
And as for Islam, the Russians tried to destroy it, but failed. The Chinese tried to destroy their own indigenous religions and they failed, too.
As long as human beings live separated from the full revelation of the God of the universe, we will have religions.
But someday, religion will come to an end. It will simply cease to be necessary. Mosques, churches, temples and all our human efforts to understand, experience and articulate the divine will disappear in the full, unveiled presence of the God whom our souls crave.
Until then, we will keep building our mosques, our temples and our churches. We will keep studying our Bibles, our Quran’s and our other sacred texts. Each one of us, each member of the human family, compelled by an undeniable hunger, will do whatever we think we can, to find and love the God we each know exists.
And that’s what I think of when I see a mosque, a temple or a church, when I hear the call to prayer or the sound of church bells; I think, we’re hungry, we’re all so hungry.
And until that day when religion becomes unnecessary, I will honor the quest in each of us.