From The Economist - April 29 - 2019
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.