Two recent reports have revealed alarming statistics about the state of faith in America. How should we respond? We obviously can wring our hands–the seemingly preferred method for any problem–or we can use this to spur us on in our quest to touch people’s lives and give an account of the hope we have in Christ.
The most recent report recounted that Protestants in America dropped from almost 2/3 of the population in the 70’s to just 48% of the population today. For the first time in America no protestant serves on the Supreme Court and no protestant is on the Republican presidential ticket.
Part of this comes from the rise of non-denominational churches which are not considered protestant in the survey.
The more alarming report reveals that 1/3 of the youngest adults in America have no religious affiliation. At the same time one-fifth of adults have no religious affiliation. These are the highest percentages ever recorded in Pew Research Center polling.
Over the last five years the number of adults without any religious affiliation increased from just over 15 percent to just under 20 percent of the adult population. This 20 percent of the population includes 13 million people who call themselves atheist or agnostic (about 6 percent of the population).
While this is unsettling, the poll shows tremendous opportunities for churches which speak the truth and seek to help lost people know God.
For one thing, this group consists of 46 million people, many of whom describe themselves as religious or spiritual in some way. Two-thirds of this group say they believe in God and 21 percent say they pray every day.
While these reports are disturbing, they show the church has opportunity. How do we make a difference with these new atheists?
We must get to know these people on a deep level. Within each of us there is the need to have an anchor. No wonder the Bible describes God as a Rock, In Him we have security for today and hope for eternity. The fact so many people pray shows their openness to the things of God. We must help them see how God blesses. When people alienated from God see God at work in the lives of people, we have the opportunity to help others know God.
May we be found faithful as we reach out to our friends and neighbors.
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