Day 29 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

My life has always been connected to religion and it has played a formative role in my upbringing.

Baptised Anglican, and the son of an Anglican minister, I remember sitting through interminably boring sermons and church services that seemed to go forever. I also remember visiting the church with my Mom and sitting on her lap and steering our car through the parking lot while she dealt with the pedals.

Then our family transitioned away from Anglicanism towards a Pentecostal approach to religion, and we attended an Assemblies of God church. My memories of that church was that it was more interesting than the Anglican Church. Looking back, I think it drifted further towards the charismatic ‘modern’ approach to Pentecostalism. This was a long time ago, and I was growing through my teen years, so I can’t confirm if that is an accurate assessment - but it is my memory.

At this point I drifted away from organised religion.

Later I married a Catholic girl, so I have become familiar with the yin to the Anglican’s yang. I actually don’t mind the Catholic service - except for all the random sitting and standing, and then some kneeling for good measure. I always just copy the person next to me. Of course, both the Anglicans and Catholics strike fear into the heart of all introverts with their ‘peace be with you’ bit. Really, must we?

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had two work meetings divert into topics of religion and churches. This doesn’t worry me at all. What I find interesting is that Australia is a secular country, and rarely in my working life has religion ever come up in a work context before.

At this time our country is being led by a Prime Minister who declares his faith. What I find unfortunate is that this faith is tied to the Hillsong church business. I cannot abide this organisation. Their ‘prosperity doctrine’ has worked for their founders who have become obscenely rich, and (I believe) powerful behind the scenes despite having no formalised legitimacy. The Hillsong business spreads a message that deviates far from the original word and intention of Jesus. Cherry picking gospel and turning church into a rock concert doesn’t seem the answer to me.

Now they have the ear of our Prime Minister; and I’m sure they tell their followers that is further evidence of the truth of their mission. I’m not so believing.

Religion has forever played a part in keeping civilisation in order. It has provided guidelines for appropriate lifestyles when there has been no governance system or rule of law to steer societies.

Religion has been an enabler of great deeds. Religion has been a driving force for wars and hatred.

There is no doubt it is a complex issue. We will either get all the answers at our death, or we won’t.