Fifteen Years Ago I warned a group of evangelicals working with teenagers to "Rest Assured" America is only a few years behind Europe when it comes to Religion issues. Magnificent churches built centuries ago were empty as culture decided there was another way to live out truth.
Well, a recent article published at CNN.com Belief Blog is proving my prophetic voice. The article is titled, "America Losing It's Religion," and points out more than 3 in 4 people say religion is loosing it's influence on America.
Ten years ago when I started exploring the idea of re-imagining the Christian worldview, I spent some time studying the faith movement history throughout Europe. I watched as the cradle of the western faith movement turn dark and cold as the neo-atheists began touting life without god. So, here we are. Living in an America now that sees God as something of a fairy tale.
Believe me, I'm surely not someone who wants to climb the mountain tops of America and scream, "Let's take the country back for God." I'm not even sure how God might feel about wanting to take back American anyway. But I AM concerned with the fallout of religious tradition. Although the history of religion might bring a negativity to conversation, I believe the hope faith brings to life is important. After all, we're not simply a conglomeration of biology, are we?
The word "religion" has a negative connotation among believers today. It brings back memories of those who lived in a legalistic world adhering to certain traditional laws that were less than honest. Churches popping up all over America called 'Fellowship,' 'The Village,' even 'Mars Hill' are all trying to live out the scripture. At the same time they are leaving the word 'religion' and replacing old time language with a new word, "relationship." Is this the lack of 'religious' fortitude the article speaks of?
Maybe the culture is re-defining the word without throwing out the important principles.
The notion of American falling into a spiritual black hole like other western countries conjures questions that make me wonder?
Why do people feel as though this is the time to run from God? We have a rich tradition of a people who worship and believe there is something out there bigger than ourselves.
Is this a true cultural shift, or is it simply people longing for a more real view of faith? Have the nature of people who worship turned off the people who see through the hypocrisy we all live?
What will the landscape look like when God is reduced to a choice? After all, if there is a God in the Universe, I don't think it should be equal to the type of candy I pick out at the convenience store.
As a fellow faith traveler, I'm curious how this plays out.
What do you think?
Is it reasonable to worry about the lack of faith participants in the world today?
What can we do about it?