Despite advanced technology, religion is still a factor in the 21st century

Illustration depicting the symbols of various religions in the world.

By Justin K. Thomas

Nov. 26, 2017

Although mankind has made numerous academic and technological strides, religious experts including Rabbi Pinchas Taylor, author of the book, “Pillars of Faith” say that religion will continue to have relevance in the 21st century and beyond, no matter the inventions.

“With all the frills that have come about through our technological boom, the relevance of religion, belief, and spirituality remains,” he said. “At the end of the day our advances, cannot answer the vital questions which behoove a person to reflect upon in life: ‘Who am I?’ ‘Why am I here?’ ‘How then shall I live?’”

Religion, Taylor believes, is a roadmap to a life-long journey.

“I see my faith, which is based in the Torah, as being ‘night-vision goggles,’” Taylor said. “The purpose of which is to allow one to see in a world full of darkness. Also, we live in a society where situations may appear to be ‘good’ but are ultimately harmful. Religion provides a sense of clarity.”

Although the concept of religion in the 21st century is a difficult subject to understand for some, the idea of “belief” and “faith” in a specific conviction are not mutually interchangeable, said Clayton C. Johnsen, a computer science major at Western Illinois University.

“I find difficulty in answering whether or not religion is relevant in the year 2017,” Johnsen said. “In the grand scheme of things, religion was a way to help give faith to the faithless and reasons for why situations occurred before scientific explanation came along. For example, in my religion of Asatru, our ‘Adam and Eve’ came from logs of wood found floating in the ocean after Ymir was killed to create the Earth. With that in mind, if someone asked me if I believe in the ‘Big Bang’ Theory or that we are all descendants of wood I would pick the scientific response over my religious response. In other words, my belief system lies within scientific proof while my faith in spirituality lies in Asatru.”

Asatru is a modern revival of the ancient Norse Pagan religion that believes that the Gods live in each of us.

Regardless of whether or not it is relevant in the 21st century, Taylor said that religion does build social capital – it helps to improve the lives of other people – despite historical controversies.

“’Good Samaritan’ acts and volunteering of your time are all results of religion,” Taylor said. “Although some religions do have unfortunate histories of causing bloodshed. Only a small minority of recorded wars were primarily motivated by religious disputes.”

An eight-year Pew Research Center study shows that the observance of religion in the United States has dwindled. But, the fundamental belief in "something higher," a "God," or overall "spirituality" has remained the same.

And this being the case, Taylor said that the method of communicating the core tenants of spirituality to people could use a bit of fine tuning for this era.

“People have become disenfranchised with religion, and that’s understandable,” Taylor said. “But, I would encourage people not to give up hope. The world is becoming more and more decadent and dependent on technology as a distraction. That’s why there is a lot of room for improvement in the delivery of a religion’s message. A change in presentation such as using platforms like YouTube will in-turn, reinvigorate religious observance in a fun way. And that’s not a bad thing to do for the greater good of society."

For more information regarding Rabbi Taylor's ministries, visit his YouTube channel or Facebook page.