I've heard a lot of people say that America is turning away from God. I've heard many older people say that "back in my day" more people followed God and now we are turning away from Him. I've heard many blame our country for the moral decline of our society because they took prayer out of schools and questioned "under God" in the pledge. I've heard it said that this country used to be Christian and now it is falling away from that.
I have a theory, however, that says that America hasn't changed in its allegiance to Christianity over the past few generations. I say that because I believe that the majority has never been committed to Jesus, even if they thought they were. Here's what I'm getting at: It is not that less people are following Christianity now than decades before; instead, it is that less people are faking their spirituality than decades ago. I would dare say that the high percentages of Christianity in America decades ago were merely high percentages of people who followed religion, not true Christian spirituality. Many were faking it because it was somewhat socially expected to be a Christian. They went because it was expected and they thought that their rituals and religion was how to truly follow Jesus (but it wasn't). I would dare say that the change is not the numbers necessarily (at least not to the large margin that we think), but the change is actually that not as many people are faking it anymore. This "decline" in numbers is a good thing because it is not a decline in true followers of Jesus; it's a decline in those who claimed the religion without the spirituality. Less people in the newer generations are now going to church because they aren't interested in ritual and religion, which is a good thing. So, it has the appearance that Christianity is on the decline. However, I say that America's social atmosphere is finally being honest with itself and the merely religious are falling away in mass numbers. People are tired of the fake religiousity, so more Americans are not playing the game.
I'd rather the numbers be declining. It has been far too long that Christianity has been a socially accepted religion and not a selfless and costly authentic spirituality. Let the masses of merely religious go. Jesus did not ask for those who would follow Him out of social requirement or follow Him with a little bit of themselves. Jesus called for the committed. Barry Callen, in "Authentic Spirituality," states:
To be authentically Christian is to be fully human and to join God in the costly ministry of redemption and justice. Nothing else is worthy of being called 'Christian spirituality.' " (14)If a person's life is striving for anything less than this mindset, then he/she is not seeking the true spirituality that Jesus asked for.
To some degree, I thank God for the move away from the church. I'm tired of the bride of Christ being full of those who are merely religious and not willing to actually follow Jesus. Finally, the church can become the servant to Jesus and mankind instead of a social club.