Jesse Carey is the Interactive Media Producer for CBN.com . With a background in entertainment and pop-culture writing, he offers his insight on music, movies, TV, trends and current events from a unique perspective that examines what implications the latest news has on Christians.
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Read recent articles from Jesse Carey:
Johnny Cash's Last Words
When Life Doesn’t Go as Planned
The Business of Redeeming
Fame's Fleeting Promise
Part of a Bigger Plan
The God of Second Chances
The Soloist: Love Conquers All
Angels and Demons: A Sublime Detective Story
Kings: Can NBC Do the Bible?
The Twitter Manifestation
No Country for 'Slumdog Millionaire'
Michael Phelps and Ted Haggard: The Connection
Kurt Warner: Beyond the Field
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John Lennon: One of Jesus' "Biggest Fans"
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John Lasseter: Stories that Live Forever
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When Hollywood Attacks
A Non-Religulous Response
Unshaken Faith in Shaky Times
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The new American Religious Identification Survey has been getting a lot of press in the last two weeks. The study, done by Trinity College, measures the religious orientation of the American public throughout the last two decades. Although the study breakdowns a lot of interesting numbers about people’s religious affiliations, there are two stats that stick out: More American Christians are calling themselves “nondenominational” or “evangelical” than ever before, and the amount of Americans that say they have no religion is the only number that has gone up in all 50 states.
Even though these results have led researchers to ask different questions
(“It deepens the conundrum about who evangelicals are" and why are people abandoning their faith across the country), I think both stats indicate the same thing: Americans have grown dissatisfied with organized/denominational religion.
Whether they are leaving a mainline Protestant denomination in favor of a “nondenom” church or abandoning religion altogether, the trend shows that Americans are increasingly weary of traditional religious structures.
The challenging part is that there is no clear answer as to why these trends are happening. Although there are several factors that may be contributing to a cultural abandonment of organized faith, a recent (unrelated) Barna poll may offer some answers.
According to Barna, since 1995, Americans that maintain a “Biblical Worldview” has been on the slow-but-steady decline. The group says that the amount of Americans who believe in basic Biblical principles is falling.
Of course, a worldview is reflected through a person’s behavior, but their outlook is ultimately shaped by their beliefs. You could make the case that because Americans know (and believe) less and less about Christianity and the Bible, they are walking away from faith in general.
I think that, if anything, this information should not only make Christians more passionate about evangelism, but also about teaching
people what the Bible really says. The research shows that even people who call themselves Christians know very little about what the Bible teaches.
Practical lifestyle books, uplifting sermons and praise and worship music are all good things, but they shouldn’t completely replace regular teaching and reading about the foundations of the Christian faith. I think these new stats show that we need to become more intellectually secure in our faith.
Coincidentally, last week we launched a new 45-day email course that walks subscribers through the Foundations of the Christian faith. Each day, users get a short, topical lesson as well as Bible memory verses. It's an easy way to grow deeper in the knowledge of scripture and the Christian worldview. (You can subscribe for free here