Monday, March 09, 2009

Why the Increase in "No Religion"?

According to a study by Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. that sampled over 54,000 people, adults in the United States are less Christian and less religious.

Fifteen percent of respondents said that they had no religion, an increase from 14.2% in 2001 and 8.2% in 1990. Other indicators were 30% of married couples did not have a religious wedding ceremony and 27% said that they don’t want a religious funeral. About 12% said that they believe in a higher power but not in a personal God espoused by monotheistic faiths.

Apparently religious populations have also shifted. Catholics from the Northeast have migrated in significant numbers to the Southwest. Now the Northeast is the least religious part of the US, surpassing the Northwest. In Vermont 34% claimed “no religion” which is a greater percentage than any one religious group in the state.

Growth in the number of Muslims reached .06% of the US population and growth in the number of Buddhists slowed. The number of Christians in the US was 76% compared to 77% in 2001.


I can’t speak for other faiths. However, I may have some insight regarding Christianity. I believe there are significant numbers of those who bear the name “Christian” who don’t truly have a living connection with God through Christ. What difference does that make? According to Jesus, His plan for carrying out His mission of connecting men and women to the living God was through the contagion of His followers (see Matthew 5:13,14; John 20:21; Acts 1:8).

In other words, if I don’t have the flu, most likely you are not going to get the flu from me. Evangelism has become such a distasteful experience for everyone involved because it has become a packaged program that seeks to “sell” people on Christianity. The word means bearer of good news. If a religious person tries to sell a non-religious person on his brand of faith that is not true evangelism. That’s proselytizing or making converts to your way of thinking and living. That truly is not what following Jesus is about.

For hundreds of years sharing the good news about Jesus has been described as one hungry beggar who found bread, telling another hungry beggar where to find bread. I found life, sustenance, healing, direction, forgiveness and most of all, relationship with a Holy God through my faith in Jesus. It IS my greatest treasure in life. For me to tell you about the great treasure is loving of me. For me not to tell you of the treasure is selfish and unloving.

I have no problem with those that want to be non-religious or followers of other religions. That’s the freedom of being an American. I respect and acknowledge that right. However, I find it tragic that many may never have a good glimpse of Jesus and what it means to follow Him because they’ve yet to be around a person that has the “real deal”.

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