Tony Fiorino ’21
Look at your life. We drift from quiet, barren homes to work and school—the location of our labours and where our forefathers once hated to be—only to return to those desolate spaces we call home. People shuffle between each other’s lives—literally swiping past in some cases—never attempting to reach out or see any common ground between ourselves and those people. In previous generations, this was not the case; families were still close and communities were tight-knit. While some of this can be blamed on the conditions of a pandemic, a major factor in the dismantling of humanity’s deepest social connections is the destruction and replacement of religion in the cultural zeitgeist.
In North America, there has been a growing trend towards secularization and agnostic belief. In the United States—a nation commonly considered to be a “Christian” nation or having a religious population—the popularity of Christianity is predicted to drop by over fifteen percent over the next two decades, with no other religion to take its place. This trend also applies to Canada and the rest of the Western world, all nations with similar trends and “Christian” backgrounds. The religious population of the West is declining—it’s obvious to all who actually care—but the vast majority of the population does not care, but why?
Once again, take a look at your life. We live in homes of dissolution filled with material goods to fill the void in our lives as we rush to work in the only places of forced interaction, but we eventually crawl back to the shrunken monoliths which trap our free time into their endless void of black screens. We, as a society, have replaced the role of religion in our lives with material goods, trading a Church and its Gospel for a brand like Apple and undying loyalty to its product line. People always want to belong to a tribe, but with the gradual convalescence towards globalism, the idea of the tribe as people or a nation has died out. In the place of patriotism and spirituality, the consumer class which has overtaken the place of the middle class in the developed world has picked corporate brands and political parties to satisfy the need of all people to belong to a “tribe.” Instead of fighting for God and country, people now focus on allegiance to Apple and the NDP.
So, is there anything to learn from the decline of a foundational link between developed nations? The only thing to learn is the need to belong to a community, whether it is ethnic, cultural, national, or any other possible “identifier.” The power of identity is one seen throughout history many times before, starting with the dream of Rome to the formation and achieving of the American dream. For one last thing to think about, here is a fun, little term coined by the first German chancellor, Otto von Bismarck: Kulturkampf.