“Religion is trying to get along without God. It is somewhat like producing a new style in an automobile and removing the engine at the same time.”
In Rabbi Olan’s day, many Americans were attracted to things and ideas that were marketed as new and improved. The old ways were seen as boring and irrelevant, totally passé. In his November 7, 1965 sermon, Rabbi Olan suggested that change is necessary, even in religion, and that change is a sign of vitality. However, not all changes in religious thinking are helpful. Some may be quite harmful.
In particular, Olan was concerned about efforts to divorce religion from belief in the existence of God. He found such philosophical arguments, including the 1960’s “Death of God” movement, to be seriously troubling. “The new look in religion is glamorous and exciting but it is totally irrelevant to the desperation in which man lives. Without an engine, his new, sleek automobile will take him nowhere.”
Follow the links below to read (or listen to) Rabbi Olan’s criticism of new religion and his prescription for a vital, meaningful, and rational faith in God that can help us as we struggle through the crises of modern (and post-modern) life.
*Written by Timothy S. Binkley.*