Monday, December 28, 2009

The New American Religion

According to a nationwide survey, lots of people like to blend Christianity with Eastern and New Age beliefs.

You can read the LA Times article here, but here are some quotes:
About a quarter of those surveyed expressed beliefs in New Age or Eastern religious principles such as reincarnation and the presence of spiritual energy in physical objects.

About 65% of those surveyed also expressed belief in or report having an experience with a variety of supernatural phenomena, such as believing in astrology, being in touch with the dead or consulting a psychic.

S. Scott Bartchy, a professor of the history of religion at UCLA, said the results were not surprising given the increasing cultural diversity of the United States.

Regardless, Lichterman said, Americans have the idea that religion and spirituality are a matter of choice.

"That kind of religious individualism," he said, "is the American religion."

This really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention to the direction the American church has been taking for the past – oh, I don’t know – 10 years or more? I know I’ve been speaking out about it for over half that time.

I’m afraid that evangelists, pastors, and teachers across the continent have failed in their mission. When America’s pulpiteers abandon biblical preaching in favor of ear-tickling entertainment, the masses are left to fend for themselves.

1 comment:

Kristin said...

It might not be surprising to you, but I need to learn how to school my features into something less drastic than “aghast” or “horror” when I hear some people purport these beliefs. Grounded believers will sometimes come out with things that make me feel like I’ve just licked paper. Yikes!
Even this past Sunday, I ran across someone teaching Sunday School (church shall remain unnamed because I think this was a personal belief, not church belief) who said that in Jesus’ twenties, he could have had a wife and kids like the Da Vinci Code says. Thankfully, discussion was allowed and I didn’t have to splutter in the corner keeping silent!
It’s hard to stand before a maelstrom of people and beliefs that disagree with your own. I think that’s why Ephesians 6:14 ff tells us to prepare ourselves and stand. I think some of the Body of Believers is giving ground with these beliefs. Let us hope we don’t function like a Roman phalanx or get flanked thanks to these weaker spots.