religion going extinct?
while perusing my google reader (which contains lots of religious blogs), i read this blog. and when i checked my email, my friend had sent me the link to this article. they’re the same story since they all talk about this research. (on a side note, i think it is interesting to see how physicists/engineers link their math with society)
a brief summary: mathematicians predict that some countries (primarily western ones) are heading toward religious extinction. their census data shows increasing numbers of non-churchgoers, which is putting them (non-religious people) in the majority. and since people like to be part of the majority, they will continue to flock to no church. thus church will slowly keep heading towards extinction (but currently not predicted to be completely extinct, thanks be to God)
my thought: despite how the mathematicians have no idea about the united states’ status of religion, i think we won’t be far behind. if nothing else, the status of religion will progressively be a concern. even britain, despite not being one of the 9 predicted to head towards religious extinction, has a crisis where 2 out of 3 are not religious. granted, we in the usa have a bit more religion than some other countries, but i still think that so many people in our country are starting to question how and why to be religious in a western culture that is post-christian.
part of the challenge might be the fact that our culture may not necessarily see any benefit to religion. why should we adhere to any religion when we can use our own reason to figure out how to love and respect our neighbors across the world?
i think of atheists and agnostics that i know, who i would claim are some of the most christian and spirit-filled people (even though they would hate to be labeled such, but the characteristics i associate with being a christian fit them) because they are simply good and want to care for their neighbors.
i think of some churchgoers i know who i am reluctant to call christian because of their behavior.
note: i am not judging personal beliefs. i am not questioning anyone’s faith. but i am concerned about the (lack of) spiritual gifts that abound when one is filled with the Spirit of God.
i struggle to see why we need church in a society that is on the move toward social justice and concern for neighbor without having the religious leaders guiding the way.
but i believe that God is at work in the world, and i think this is where the church needs to be active in voicing where we see God. it’s time for us to contribute to society by using our religious history and tradition to help guide our world into caring for those around us. because the bible has a lot to teach us. because Jesus commanded it. because the Holy Spirit is pushing us.
and as church leaders, we can help provide the language and framework to help our non-churchgoing friends think about the world and our place in it. hopefully we can articulate the importance that not only are we brothers and sisters of humanity, but that we are all children of God.