America has seen a disturbing rise in the number of people who call themselves atheists. Over the last five years, the number of people who describe themselves as atheists has increased from just over 15 percent to just under 20 percent. The part that is most disturbing about this is that the increase seems to have come most from the youngest generation of adults, often called Millennials (those between 18 and 32 years old). If you would like to see a full description of this report and my analysis, please click here.
This new phenomenon means that 1/5 of the adult population has no church affiliation. In the youngest age group, 1/3 have no church affiliation. In my post yesterday, I surmised this gives the church a wonderful opportunity since many of these people describe themselves as people who still pray. Many other of the unaffiliated adults actually believe in God.
What about the rest of this group? Who are they?
Many of these folks are true atheists. They believe in science but not in faith. Science has taken the place of faith for them.
But many others are not really atheists. They are what some observers have called igtheists–they simply do not know God or the things of God. This is particularly true of the youngest group of adults. Many of these young adults were the products of broken homes. Some lived by the week in the house of their mother and then moved to live with their father for a week. Many grew up without any faithful religious example.
Others of this group are often called apatheists. These are people who are not searching for any kind of satisfying church or religious experience . Obviously, these will be the most difficult to reach.
But, they can be reached. Not one of these folks is outside the realm of God. God’s Spirit is at work in our world. Let us be the people who pray for our unreached friends and who ask God to give us opportunities to touch their lives.
The words of Jesus apply here: “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain–first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come” (Mark 4:26-29).
God is at work producing a great harvest. Let us work with Him to expand His kingdom.
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