Kent Ingle: How can we instill the hope of Christianity in a generation tired of tight reins of religion?
Author: Dr. Kent Ingle
Recent studies from the General Social Survey found that atheists make up the largest religious group in America. Catholics and Evangelicals fall right behind. Those who identify with “no religion” now account for 23.1 percent, the majority of them under age 50.
Americans are losing interest in attending religious institutions, as well as an overall loss of faith in the church. Yet still many identify as spiritual. These findings call for changes - our practice of Christianity needs to change in order to best address the needs of those who are drawn toward atheism.
But what exactly needs to change?
Our culture is impartial to the features of religion that our grandparents and parents were raised in -- the traditions, the social norms, and formalities. But the majority of young people don’t care to partake in the weekly customs of the organized church. Yet, many refer to themselves as “spiritual but not religious.”
A study by the Public Religion Research Institute, which surveyed over 2,000 people, found that one in five Americans identify as “spiritual but not religious.” They found that “29 percent of Americans consider themselves both spiritual and religious; 18 percent spiritual but not religious; 22 percent not spiritual but religious; and 31 percent neither spiritual nor religious (also known as the ‘nones’).” While the study also found the nonreligious (spiritual but not religious) are significantly younger than religious Americans, it’s clear that people are hungry for substance.
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