April 2nd, 2016| Topic: RaMbLeS | 0


Fewer Americans believe in God than ever before.

That’s the result of a study published recently in the journal Sage Open: “Declines in American Adults’ Religious Participation and Beliefs, 1972–2014,” by a group of psychology researchers lead by Prof. Jean Twenge, of San Diego State University.

The percentage of Americans who claim they never pray has climbed to an all time high, up foiur-fold since the 70s and 80s. Correspondingly, belief in God has declined in three decades.

The cause of all this may be multifaceted. Science is explaining more and more, leaving fewer and fewer gaps in our knowledge (or so we think), rendering reliance on deity redundant. Perhaps it is the behavior of Christians, especially those in the public eye, that belies the truths we proclaim and teach. Maybe it is the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandals that have rocked Americans’ faith in all things Christian. In any case, the foundation seems to be cracking, with evidence showing not just a mistrust of religious institutions, but a dramatic decline of personal spirituality.

Twenge and her group looked at about 60,000 entries from the General Social Survey, a national survey of American adults: never praying (up from 3% to 24%), not believing in God (up from 12% to 30%), not taking the Bible literally (up from 15% to 30%), never religious services (up from 14% to 33%), and identifying as “not religious” (up from 12% to 31%). This is even more pronounced in young adults.

Said Twenge:

Millennials are the least religious generation in memory, and possibly in American history. Most previous studies concluded that fewer Americans were publicly affiliating with a religion, but that Americans were just as religious in private ways. That’s no longer the case, especially in the last few years.”

However, there was an oddity that was uncovered. Americans have become more likely to believe in the afterlife (up from 73% to 80%) and that they will go to heaven, even as they abandon rituals, prayer, and God, himself.

The authors added:

One plausible, though speculative, explanation is that this is another example of the rise in entitlement—expecting special privileges without effort. Entitlement appears in religious and spiritual domains when people see themselves as deserving spiritual rewards or blessings due to their special status.

Interesting. You don’t have to believe in God, but you can believe you’ll get to heaven.

Well … you won’t.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
John 3:16

Salvation is contingent upon accepting the truth (believing) that Jesus Christ, God incarnate, died on the cross and rose again, paying the price for them.

Concluded Twenge:

It might be part of a growing entitlement mentality, thinking you can get something for nothing.”

Well … you can. It’s called grace.

For God’s sending of his Son for us was a free gift, given without charge, fee, ransom, or bribe, to all who believe.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves,
it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Ephesians 2:8–9

So, yes, you can get something for nothing. Nothing that we can do can to purchase salvation. That work was already done on the cross by Jesus Christ.

He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross,
so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.
1 Peter 2:24

But the gift must be accepted. Will you believe?

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