Religion is fundamental to every living human being as it grants him or her consolation needed in facing day-to-day challenges of life. Man is naturally a religious being due to the spiritual aspect that is associated with it. The very existence of man is considered a mystery and hence requires some mysterious elements to help them survive. As the world changes, the aspect of religion also changes. This is due to the need of human beings to find a satisfactory life in their religious practice. The belief in a supreme being who has power over human life has prompted many to pay their allegiance to the creator. The nature of God and the different forms of conveying spiritual messages are the two characteristics that are associated with modern religion. Modern religious movements associated with such changes include the Christian Pentecostal movement and Taoism. In all the beliefs of man, people have come to recognize that there is an unseen supreme being who has power over all creatures. The main contradiction has however been on the intermediary who represents the people.
The nature of God
As the world shifts from traditional, to contemporary and now modern, there is a changing trend on how religion is being presented and the nature of God. It should be noted that in as much as people are not changing their religious beliefs, they are changing the perspective they have towards God. This is manly influenced by modern technology, which has also subsequently changed what people require from religion. There is also the issue of globalization where the world has been transformed into a small interactive place. It is generally believed that God is omnipresent and hence the justification of using technology to reach out to many people. People realize that they are not just limited by their communities or regions. There is hence a need for them to find a religion that will accommodate various thoughts and views. These days, it is not just about which religious group one stand for but rather how accommodative it can be to him and those around.
Gone are the days when a person was too conservative with the fear that interacting with others will compromise their religious standing. As more people are exposed, they realize that they can freely interact with people from various communities and religious backgrounds and still maintain their image as religious people. This is mostly done by respecting and appreciating other people and not judging them by their religious inclinations. People have also taken a neutral look when it comes to dressing and how they talk in public. This has also been boosted b the representation of various religions especially in public functions. This is meant to tell the masses that it does not matter which religious institution they are inclined to, what matters is that they have similar interests of building each other, which will not be thwarted, by their religious beliefs.
Even though religion is somewhat a private issue, it has a lot of effect in terms of relationships and the character of a person. Cultural assimilation and interaction is one of the biggest contributors of modern religion. A person wants to have a little bit of everything just to ensure they are at par. Religion has also moved from the poverty nature that was associated with humility to the acceptance that a religious person can have wealth. The need of having religious leaders who are vast in wealth is an assurance to the congregation that they can impart the same to them. This has hence attracted many people and especially from the upper class who understand that religion is not just for the poor and desperate but for al that need spiritual satisfaction. The two main characteristics of modern religious faith is emphasis on the positive thinking and the use of modern technology to influence their followers.
Positive thinking: Taoism and Pentecostal teachings
Stress and depression has become synonymous with the modern world. This is because of the changing trend where people have less time for their families and friends. Human beings are so much engrossed in their daily duties of looking for wealth that they realize their social life is wanting. This has hence prompted religious leaders of the day to encourage them not to blame themselves because of what happens around them but instead keep a positive mindset. This is also associated with prosperity messages where by preachers encourage their followers not to be lazy by providing them the tactics of being wealthier. The fact that people have become too busy with making money that they have less time for other people makes preachers to encourage them by letting them know that is not bad after all as long as they are doing something positive. Since many of them are also far away from their families, modern religion encourages them to associate with people that will impart them positively and resist those on the contrary. This hence makes them feel comfortable having business partners close to them rather than their family members.
Positive thinking is a philosophical thought of Taoism that has been adopted in religious gathering since it attracts many people. Modern lifestyle makes people to be attracted to what they want to hear rather than the truth. Since religion will be void without followers, most religious leaders have adopted such philosophical thoughts and inclined them to the normal religious beliefs and scriptures. Since the sole purpose of religion is to encourage and attract its followers, religious messages have to have such an impact on the followers. It has hence become normal to see wealthy religious leaders whose messages center on how positive thinking will transform them into being wealthy. Self worth which contributes to a high self-esteem and subsequently productivity is what people want to hear.
Use of Technology to reach out
Technology has also become a fundamental feature in modern religion. As mentioned, religion is all about reaching out to as many people as possible and granting them the comfort and consolation they need. With modernization, every religious leader aspires to have an international outlook. This has hence made most of them make use of modern technology where they are able to reach as many people as possible. Modern technology is also associated with convenience especially considering the fact that every person seems to be busy with one thing or the other. Technology ensures that many people are reached to at their own convenient time and place. For instance, in modern times, a person does not need physically to be at a particular gathering for them to receive their message of hope. They can get this at the comfort of their houses office or even when travelling.
Gone are times when televangelism was the order of the day. People from all occupations can stream live a religious preaching wherever they are as long as they are access to internet connection. Church services have been made virtual, as a single preacher is able to minister to billions across the world. When it comes to giving offering and other church payments, technology ahs also made it convenient. Irrespective of where they are, a person who feels compelled to support a particular ministry can do so by sending their contributions electronically. This also boosts ministries, as they will not be constrained by the speed at which the cash reach them and the limited number of people that can support them. This has also led to the expansion of ministries where known preachers need not to travel to plant their activities. They can do so by correspondence where they use the people they share a similar vision.
Even though we tend to ignore it, modernism has changed religion in both a positive and negative way. Depending on how a person may look at it, it can be admitted that the sovereignty that was attached to religion is no longer being done so as people look for convenience rather than truth. The need to impress and attract many followers has made many religious leaders to compromise their messages of truth. On the other hand, religion continues to play an important role in transforming the lives of people. Knowing that a person can still follow a religious meeting without necessarily having to interfere with their programs is quite encouraging. Many people have also gotten an opportunity to support various ministries and therefore touching many lives. The change that is taking place in religious circles has received both positive and negative feedback from people. Some condemn it for conforming to modernity while others applaud them for meeting their followers at their convenience and need. With al being said and done, we have to recognize that as changes take place around us; we will have no alternative but to also change. This is what has distinguished different generations.
Fowler, James & Schweitzer, Friedrich. Developing a Public Faith: New Directions in Practical Theology. New York: Chalice Press, 2003.
Harrison, Victoria. Religion and modern thought. California: Hymns Ancient and Modern Ltd, 2007.
Sands, Paul. The Justification of Religious Faith: In Soren Kierkegaard, John Henry Newman, And William James. London: Gorgias Press LLC, 2004.