Thursday, June 18, 2015
Gallup: "America Losing Confidence In Religion And Church"
Gallup is reporting yesterday, "American's confidence in the church and organized religion has fallen dramatically over the past four decades, hitting an all time low this year of 42%."
Catholic's decline in confidence has leveled, but Protestant's confidence continues to decline.
Gallup concludes, "Poor behavior on the part of some religious leaders has caused serious self-inflicted wounds for the church and organized religion---damaging its image among Protestants and Catholics as well as among non-Christians."
True. But it's about more than scandal.
Gallup says that moral scandals in church leadership has been a significant contributor to the decline in confidence. And that the strong leadership by Pope Francis in making Catholic leaders accountable has likely caused the decline of confidence in the Catholic Church to level out.
They also conclude that "At the same time, the nation is becoming less Christian and less religious, and those outside of Christianity naturally view the church with less respect."
True. But that is the consequence or effect, not the cause.
Walter Williams wrote an interesting article yesterday titled, "Culture and Social Pathology.
He says, "A civilized society's first line of defense is not the law, police and courts, but customs, traditions, rules of etiquette and moral values. These behavioral norms---mostly transmitted by example, word of mouth and religious teachings---represent a body of wisdom distilled over the ages..."
The Apostle Paul instructed the early Christians (II Thess. 2:15), "Therefore brethren stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught whether by word or our epistle."
The objective of Christianity is personal, individual salvation.
That word gathers up a good deal of Truth in Scripture---regeneration, conversion, born again, redemption, new beginning, etc.
And it assumes the Truth that all have sinned and therefore need a Savior. In that presentation, it is necessary to define sin, while presenting the Savior.
The church has been, in too many cases, caught in the whirlpool of political correctness and multiculturalism--and in its attempt to "relate" to a changing culture, the church has followed the evolution, thus becoming more irreverent to society and indistinguishable to the world it claims to be trying to reach.
And, it is violating Paul's instruction to "Stand" and "Hold Fast" to the message of Christianity.
In presenting the gospel by defining sin, explaining its consequences and presenting restoration through salvation, the individual is transformed.
So is the culture.
Williams says, "The failure to transmit these values and traditions to subsequent generations represents one of the failings of what Tom Brokaw called 'The Greatest Generation', who lived during the trauma of the Great Depression and fought World War II, yet not only failed to transmit these values to the next generation, but were responsible for government programs that will deliver economic chaos."
Perhaps that generation did not transmit those biblical values articulately and effectively, but they were also faced with a challenge their parents never knew---all out war against Christian values in public education.
Trusting people trusted their institutions.
Public education took full advantage of parental trust in their schools and created a breeding ground for objection, sometimes violent objection to the values of Christianity and the moral foundations upon which this country was founded.
For the past 75 years, the nation's secular progressives have waged war on Christianity and its values, customs and morals that made this nation strong. And great. Exceptional.
Our kids have been indoctrinated to believe there are no absolutes---morality is a matter of personal opinion.
There is no social sanction of anything because everything goes in the world of secular progressivism.
Williams observes that "baby showers are held for unwed mothers" because there is "no shame for illegitimate births."
Natural marriage has fallen from favor among secular progressives who seek to redefine it. Many no longer "honor" marriage as Scripture teaches.
Churches have either joined the evolution, or become silent on these "controversial" issues.
We cannot disassociate the moral health and the economic health of our nation.
Each election cycle there are some in the Republican Party who suggest we set aside the "divisive social issues" that "divide us" and focus on the economy.
At best that's improper thinking, at worst it's deception.
The collapse of morality in our country is driving the economic collapse.
One Example: The 1938 Encyclopedia of Social Sciences reported that 11% of black children and 3% of white children were born to unwed mothers. Today 72% of black children are born to unwed mothers and 30% of white children are born to unwed mothers.
The economic strength of this, or any nation, is not built upon single parent families.
In the 1960s, "values clarification" declared war on Christian values, and so-called sex education declared war on "normal" biblically based human sexual relationships. And marriage.
And the church, in too many cases, became obsessed with sermons about how to have a happy day.
Our federal government declared war on the poverty that began spiraling out of control, and the rest is history.
The social programs created in response to the social needs, created by the spiritual collapse, now threaten to bankrupt this country with over 50% of today's federal budget spent on these programs.
Our national debt today is over $18 trillion, with federal spending at $3.5 trillion last year.
And the culture is getting worse, not better.
The social programs are not solving the cultural problems. Instead they have created a culture of poverty. And an industry of poverty, providing personal wealth for those leaders who exploit it.
We celebrate the sins that are destroying the nation. And the church is silent and distracted.
The values and constricts upon which a nation functions are not merely "divisive social issues." They are the life and death of a nation.
Is there a politician who is bold enough to make this case?
More importantly, is there a church that is committed enough to proclaim liberty throughout the nation---and their community by proclaiming the whole gospel? With conviction?
While a clear message of the gospel may draw opposition, it will also attract growing respect and confidence because it will transform an individual life.
And it will heal our land.
Be Informed. Be Strong. Be Vigilant. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed.