Romans 10:2-4: Religion that cannot save
In the west we are becoming less religious and more religious at the same time. Christianity is on the decline and atheism on the increase, but ironically as Christianity is cast off other religious worldviews are rushing in to take their place. This growth in religion can be put down to many different things. Our increasing knowledge of the world has turned the many isolated countries into a single global village where we have been confronted with others cultures and faiths, this has caused many to re-evaluate their own Christian heritage in the West and opt for an alternative spirituality. The late 20th century saw many countries casting off their colonial pasts and declaring independence forcing them to define themselves apart from the Colonial/Christian heritage of those who had annexed their lands. This has led to many casting back to the pre-Christian roots and religion as a new way to define themselves in a post-Colonial world. Many religious perspectives are shaped in reaction to reigning influences. With the rise in secularism and the drawing away of millions of children from the culture and beliefs of the parents to MTV, western dress, music, the English language and many other media spread exports, there has been a resurgence in various forms of fundamentalism as a force of preservation, and a return to a pure practice of earlier beliefs. Another reactionary trend is towards alternative and minority beliefs as a protest to the corruption and monopolising and monocultural nature of the former generation. The media and the development of a consumeristic culture where every person individualises their choice has led to a syncretism of beliefs never heard before where there are nearly as many religions as people because we all make up our own beliefs according to our own fancy. Although many have pronounced religion to be dead we cannot escape our spiritual and worshipping natures, religion is here to stay. And this brings us to the politically incorrect question, but which is the right way?
Paul’s words in Romans 10:2-4 are very important for us to understand as we engage this question of religion. The Jews were some of the most religions people in the world, they had zeal, knowledge, righteousness and various ceremonies, yet we will see that for all of their religion they were going to hell. Paul helps us to see the type of religion that does not save and our only hope for salvation.