This past Saturday was the launch of my new radio show called “Ed Stetzer Live” on Moody Radio. The program will air live every Saturday at 11 a.m. CST across Moody affiliates. This past Saturday, I talked with Pastor Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City about reaching skeptics with the gospel. You can listen to it here. You can also find us on twitter at @edstetzerlive. Below I share some my own thoughts on this issue.
Every Tuesday we will be posting an article that ties in with my Moody Radio show I hosted the Saturday before. Join me this coming Saturday as I talk with Beth Moore about the importance of studying God’s word to be effective witnesses today.
There’s no question, Americans are—and have been for quite some time—becoming less and less religious.
In a study conducted by Pew Research, we can see this shift happening over the course of even the past few years. In 2007, 78.4% of the U.S. population would have called themselves a Christian; just seven years later in 2014, that number dropped by almost eight percent. In other words, this decline represents a one percent decrease in the number of Americans identifying as Christian per year—a small, yet staggering, data trend.
Particularly, though, this trend can me seen most profoundly in young adults—Millennials as they are so infamously known. When asked, only about four in ten Millennials would say that religion is important in their lives. Furthermore, looking at data from the American Religious Identification Survey, about one third of all college students identify themselves as secular and generally irreligious.
So, what does this data mean for our nation?
The data doesn’t lie
It seems clear that we are living in an increasingly skeptical—and in some ways—a post-Christian culture. That’s not to say that America has completly relinquished its Christian roots and begun the process of closing churches and or religious institutions. Thankfully, Christians living in the U.S., aren’t being actively persecuted for their faith as our brothers and sisters overseas experience on a dailly basis.
Instead, what we’re seeing is the growth of an American populace that is largely disinterested in the faith of their forefathers. Many who maybe grew up in a church-on-Sundays kind of home and loosely practiced their faith are choosing to abandon their affiliation with the Christian church. This, in large part, is happening as more and more people are becoming convinced that the Christian faith is ‘out of step’ with modern culture.
Many feel that Christianity (and perhaps religious teaching more broadly) stunt intellectual curiosity and serious thinking. David Silverman, renowned atheist activist and author argued this in his book, Fighting God: An Atheist Manifesto in a Theist World: “Atheists seek truth; theists ignore it.” Some agree with Silverman; faith and reason are so at odds with one another that any attempt to reconcile the two ultimately proves futile.
There’s no denying it—our age is one that is largely dominated by doubt, disbelief, and skepticism of religious dogma and practice. Many believers find themselves unsure how to respond, what to say, and who to say it to. As Christians, how we choose to engage this skepticism matters; as Christ followers, we’re called to do so with thoughtfulness and conviction.
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Source: Christianity Today