From The Economist - April 29 - 2019



United States

To be young is not  quite heaven


On one measure, America is starting to look less exceptional



For anyone who studies Americans and thcir beliefs, the most startling phenomenon of recent times has been the rise of the religious "nones". About a quarter of the total population, and about a third of those who became adults in the new millennium, identify with no creed. Some new figures suggest the flight from organised religion is even quicker than previously thought.


The share of Americans who acknowledge being members of a religious group is falling much faster than the proportion who, perhaps loosely, hew to one faith tradition or another. Comparing 2016-2018 with the last three years of the 20th century, declared participants in organised religion have plunged by nearly 20 points to 52%. And among millennials, signing up to a church is a minority (42%) pursuit, according to Gallup, a venerable pollster.


Membership of any faith is plummeting much faster among Democrats (71% to 48%) than among Republicans (77% to 69%) and it is not hard to imagine why. The closer the embrace between church and the Republican Party, the less appealing faith becomes to those on the left. But religion-watchers see a vast generational change which transcends political loyalty and will eventually embrace politically conservative youngsters too.


A change towards what, exactly? According to Mike Hout, a sociology professor at New York University, what Americans are rejecting is not the transcendent but simply structures and organisation. Younger Americans are more atomised and provisional in everything they do, from work to relationships, and that affects religious behaviour. He finds it telling that some polls suggest a steady to slightly rising belief in an afterlife, but declining faith in a Christian heaven: people often prefer things to be vague.


Americans in their 20s have long been less devout than their seniors, but in the old days, they eventually married and brought their children to church. Many of today's young parents were raised without a faith so they have none to go back to, notes Robert Jones of the Public Religion Research Institute, an independent study centre.


On the face of things, the United States is now on a path towards secularism that is already far advanced in western Europe, while other rich democracies like Canada are somewhere in between. Gallup's numbers suggest Democrats are now about as religious as Britons are. "America is not such an outlier any more," says Mark Silk, a religion professor at Trinity College in Connecticut.


……….


THIS  SHOULD  BE  THE  FACT  THAT  MOST  SHOULD  KNOW—— AMERICA  IS  BECOMING  MORE  SECULAR  WEEK  AFTER  WEEK  AND  MONTH  AFTER  MONTH. 


THERE  INDEED  IS  A  “GREAT  FALLING  AWAY”  FOR  CHRISTIANITY  IN  THE  WESTERN  WORLD,  AS  THE  APOSTLE  PAUL  SAID  IN  2 THES. 2: 3.

THE  GREEK  WORD  IS  “APOSTASY”—— AGAINST  GOD!


IT  DOES  NOT  SAY,  “A  GREAT  FALLING  AWAY  FROM  THE  CHURCH  OF  GOD:  OR  “A  GREAT  FALLING  AWAY  FROM  THE  TRUTHS  OF  GOD.”


PAUL  IS  SAYING  THAT  BEFORE  THE  PROPHETIC  END  TIMES  COMES INTO  BEING  AND  JESUS  RETURNS,  THERE  WILL  COME  A  “FALLING  AWAY”  THAT  WILL  PROCEED  A  MAN  OF  SIN  AND  HIS  REVIVAL  OF  HIM  BEING  GOD  ON  EARTH,  AND  SAVING [FALSELY]  THE  WORLD  FROM  SECULARISM,  FROM  MATERIALISM,  FROM  DECEPTIONISM.


SO  TODAY  IN  THE  WESTERN  WORLD  WE  CERTAINLY  SEE  THIS  PROPHECY  COMING  TO  PASS,  EVEN  NOW  IN  THE  LAST  COUNTRY  OF  THE  WEST  TO  HAVE  HAD  A  LARGE  POPULATION  THAT  BELIEVED  IN  A  GOD  AND  CHRISTIANITY;  THAT  THEOLOGY  IS  FAST  GOING  DOWN  THE  TOILET  BOWL.


I  WAS  RAISED  IN  THE  1940s  and  1950s  IN  BRITAIN,  WHEN  THE  BIBLE  AND  CHRISTIANITY  WAS  THERE, IN  THE  OPEN.  IT  WAS  COMMON:  THE  TOWNS  CLOSED  DOWN,  WORK  PLACES  CLOSED  DOWN,  NO  PRO  SPORTS  PERFORMED,  ON  SUNDAY,  ALL  IN  HONOR  OF  THE  WEEKLY  SABBATH  AS  CHRISTIANS  PROCLAIMED  IT.  I  WAS  RAISED  IN  A  CHURCH  OF  ENGLAND  SCHOOL—— TAUGHT  TO  MEMORIZE  THE  TEN  COMMANDMENTS;  I  BELIEVED  SUNDAY  WAS  THE  7TH  DAY  OF  THE  WEEK,  FOR  I  WELL  KNEW  WHAT  THE  4TH  COMMANDMENT  SAID.


I  WAS  WORKING  FOR  A  YOUNG  MAN  IN  1988,  HE  WAS  ABOUT  30  YEARS  OF  AGE.  HE  KNEW  I  WAS  RELIGIOUS,  AND  NOW  AND  THEN  WOULD  ASK  ME  A  QUESTION  ABOUT  MY  FAITH.  ONE  TIME  HE  ASKED  A  QUESTION  AND  I  REPLIED,  “WELL  THE  BIBLE  SAYS…..”  HE  ANSWERED  ME,  “WELL  KEITH  I  DO  NOT  KNOW  WHAT  THE  BIBLE  SAYS,  I  HAVE  NEVER  READ  ONE  WORD  OF  THE  BIBLE.”


I  WAS  STUNNED—— THEN  I  THOUGHT,  WOW….. YES  WE  HAVE  A  NEW  GENERATION  OF  PEOPLE  THAT  MANY,  MOST  OF  THEM,  HAVE  NEVER  READ  ONE  WORD  OF  THE  BIBLE.


GROWING  UP  WITH  THE  BIBLE,  IT  JUST  DOESN’T  REGISTER  UNTIL  SOMETHING  LIKE  THIS  COMES  UP,  THAT  SO  MANY,  THE  VAST  MAJORITY  PROBABLY,  OF  TODAY’S  YOUNG  PEOPLE  HAVE  NEVER  READ  ONE  WORD  OF  THE  BIBLE.


TRULY  WE  ARE  LIVING  IN  THE  DAYS  PAUL  PROPHESIED  ABOUT,  WHEN  THERE  WOULD  BE  A  GREAT  FALLING  AWAY  FROM  GOD.


Keith Hunt