Sunday, August 24, 2008

We are Slipping Fast

It’s front page news in Des Moines, Iowa both in the paper and on television station websites: Protestant Christianity is declining and shows no sign of stopping. I tend to believe the report but I also realize that these are the same media outlets that are against Christianity and conservative values in the first place. They may be doing nothing more than trying to create the news story they want. But, I think in this case the numbers speak for themselves as does our culture. Christianity is losing its influence in America.

Some of the quotes from the Associated Press article:

  • “Mainline Protestant churches are in decline”
  • “The United States is 78 percent Christian and about to lose its status as a majority Protestant nation, at 51 percent and slipping”
  • “More than one-quarter of American adults have left the faith of their childhood for another religion or no religion at all.”

If you figure in people moving from one Christian denomination to another along with those switching religions or leaving religion “the number rises to 44 percent” of Americans have left the faith of their childhood.

  • “One in four adults ages 18 to 29 claim no affiliation with a religious institution.”
  • “Atheists or agnostics account for 4 percent of the total population.”

Less than 1 percent of the total population is Muslim.
0.7 percent of those surveyed are Buddhist.
“Jews accounted for 1.7 percent of the overall population.”

Now we crunch the numbers. Despite the trend and the media’s headlines, 51% of our population is Christian Protestants. Compare this 51% with 4% atheists AND agnostics, less than 1% Muslim and 0.7% Buddhists. Score: Protestants 51 Others 5.7!

In a tournament game that is a blowout!! I know enough about coaching to realize that 51-6 is not as good as 81-3 but I’d still rather take the Protestant team back to the locker room at half time or to the gym for tomorrow’s practice than the atheists and Muslims. The media could have ran a headline on the front page that read:

  • “Protestants Still Dominate US Religion”
  • “Protestant Major US Religion”
  • “Only 3% of US is Atheist or Muslim”

Another thing the numbers show is Americans are thinking. They are thinking about religion. Many of them are thinking something like the following:

  • I do not like the church I grew up with and am going to look for a better church (19%)
  • I do not think the religion I grew up with is worth continuing so I am switching religions or I am giving up on religion all together (25%)

I have been in one of those above groups for the last 32 years. I am glad I had enough thought and desire to make my religion personal and not just stay with the status quo. To the 44% (19% plus 25%), I pray for success in their adventure. I hope they find fulfillment and meaning in their search and I hope they find Truth.

Surely, if people are leaving a religion, that must mean they are not satisfied. If they are not satisfied that means a good portion of them are still looking for something. And if they are still looking that must mean some of them believe there is something to find. And if that something can be found it must be something that is real with some absolute value. I believe they are looking for reality. Christianity calls it Truth.

The basic game has not changed. The rules, the players and the contest are the same.
People always have free will. People are always faced with many emotions, desires and distractions as they move through life. The goal of life has always been to use wisdom and experience to sort through emotions, desires and distractions. Then each person must establish in their soul the correct values, priorities and morals. This becomes their base of operation. Ultimately, victory is living in agreement with the Truth. Truth is the eternal Reality. Since there is an absolute Truth and there is eternal Reality, it is very, very possible to choose poorly and to lose this game of life. Final Score: the loss of your soul.

No comments: