Changing Foundations: The New American Norm

Most of us grew up in a world where people had an inherent belief in a Christian version of God.  America’s foundation was strong and it was Christian when it came to a moral foundation.  As a result of the foundation we all spoke the same language and did not need to make our views relevant, we only had to make our views understood. 

A recent survey by Lifeway Research with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points shows the changing foundation.  Here is what they found: 

In the new America 61% of non-churchgoers believe the Christian God is no different from the gods depicted by Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and others.   86% believe they can have a “good relationship with God without belonging to a church.”  79% believe that Christianity is more about organized religion than loving God.  72% believe the church is “full of hypocrites.”  And finally 44% of non-churchgoers claimed that Christians get on their nerves. 

Against this background are some interesting findings.  72%believe that God, a higher or supreme being, actually exists.  The most telling foundation change in the key points of the survey is that in spite of the trouble with how Christians are viewed 52% of non-churchgoers believe the most central principle of Christianity; that Jesus died and came back to life.   

With this last piece of information we can see what a crumbled foundation we have.  If a majority of non-churchgoers believe the key tenant of Christianity why do we have so many people dissatisfied with the Church? 

I have a friend who preaches Christianity on university campuses.  He shared with me an interesting story that illustrates this point.  When he is preaching on these university campuses students come up to him and demand to know who decided that he should be the one who speaks for God.  They will ask him, “Who appointed you God’s spokesman?  Who gave you the right to tell us what is sin?” 

When my friend began to talk with these students he made a startling discovery.  The students who were questioning his authority were Christians by their own declaration.  Yet, they did not understand that a preacher could declare certain actions to be sin. 

There was a time when even non-Christians understood that preachers are responsible to call sin what it is.  Now the foundation has shifted or deteriorated so much that even the Christians do not believe what non-Christians used to believe.

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Books Worth Reading

C.S. LEWIS--Mere Christianity; CLAIRE BERLINSKI--Menace in Europe: Why the Continent's Crisis is America's Crisis, Too; BRUCE BAWER--While Europe Slept: How Radical islam is Destroying the West from Within; DAVID LEVERING LEWIS--God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215; THOMAS SCHIRRMACHER--The Persecution of Christians Concerns Us All; PHILIP JENKINS--God's Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe's Religious Crisis

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