Recent research indicates that the number of people who do not consider themselves a part of an organized religion is steadily on the rise. Interestingly enough, though the number of those religiously unaffiliated is increasing, there is little to no trend in the number of those who express atheist or agnostic beliefs. People aren’t saying they don’t believe in God. They’re saying they don’t believe in religion. They are not rejecting Christ. They are rejecting the church. This begs the question, “Why are we losing our religion?”
Comments: I cannot speak for others, but I have grown very disenchanted with the modern evangelical church. The greatest reason is its obsession with money rather than an obsession with the person of Jesus Christ. Many, if not most, churches require a 10% income tax (called a "tithe") in order to be in good standing with the church. You sense that evangelism´s purpose is to increase the coffer of the church rather than to increase the kingdom of God.
Every time I hear people say they don´t like organized religion I ask if they prefer disorganized religion.
I´ve never found a perfect church. But I so often hear the Gospel message taught or I´m reminded of the teachings, I can leave the imperfections aside. As far as I know, the true Church is the mystical Body of Christ, the Body of all Believers...
I used to attend a mainstream protestant church, but gave it up when it became uber-liberal, and more about politics than religion. I´ve tried evangelical churches, but can´t stand the "Happy Clappy" Christian rock music with the repetitive lyrics. I´ve also experienced the tithing racket.
I haven´t ever been a ´religious´ person, but that said, the ´latter half´ of my life - I´ve basically noted *extreme* animosity on the part of ´the enlightened´ towards religion. Between ´media´ and the ACLU - the act of a kid reading his Bible on a school playground in his free time has been attacked previously as ´impermissible´ (file under *BS*).
Want to know why Christians are ´losing their religion´? Try 4 decades of mainstream vilification of it in the schools and public square.
Apparently - ´freedom of religion´ has been interpreted by *government* to mean *absolute* freedom FROM religion - which is a pretty abysmal interpretation.
As noted - I´m not very religious - but in my life - I´ve seen *no* reason for American people who *are* religious - to receive the treatment they have.
Meanwhile - Islam gets a pass from the same ´enlightened´ - who can´t quite get a grip on that ´world domination´ bit enshrined in their belief - and it´s *amazing* how many ´so-called´ intelligent people will actually argue that Xtianity poses a ´greater threat´.
The church - such as it is - is now under the auspices of a new god - George Orwell.
And it hasn´t done itself any favors kow-towing to the morally bankrupt of late either...
I´m a Jew, so I don´t really have a dog in this fight, but I always been struck by what I see as a contradiction between Jesus and the church. Jesus was poor, but the church, sometimes, is so wealthy. Seems the money would be better spent on helping the poor than in building enormous structures, be it a cathedral or a stadium-sized "mega-church." What I most admire about American Christianity is that when I visualize it, I see not cathedrals and mega-churches filled with thousands of worshipers, but the humble corner or country church, its pews fewer, but filled with friends and neighbors who know each other not just inside the church, but outside, too.
One of the big reasons I hear for people not attending church, even from those raised as Christians in a church, is that the churches have left the conservative Christians behind, moving toward the progressives: gay marriage, social justice, environmentalism, etc. If my values are insulted by every sermon, I don´t go back to that church. But it is hard to find a truly conservative, Christian church anymore. So we stay home.
Come to Jesus has always been the real message from God. Come just as you are and together He will make you whole. Start the dialog and the message of love will change your life for the glory of God. Jesus told the samaritan woman at the well that: ´John 4:23 a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.´ Trust in the Lord to direct your path to the church He wants for you. Trust in the Lord for everything and everything will be yours.
OP, I don´t know where you go to church but look around for another one. I go to a non-denominational church and there is no tithing requirement. In fact, all donations are anonymous to the church leadership except to the person who processes them. Having said that, churches do need contributions to keep going. I give, but nowhere near 10% of my income.
In the past year, my church has ministered to a wife and mother of 5 who was finishing up chemo from breast cancer when her middle-aged husband died in his sleep; an older widow who lost her husband after 40 years of marriage; a family that has never had a permanent home; a divorced woman with diabetes and other other health issues who has kids who ridicule her for her faith (and it is very strong); and many others with problems. Our average attendance? Under 60. Don´t tell me the church is useless. I know better, I see it every day.
I have never gone to a church that REQUIRED a tithe of any amount. John Hagee, Mathew Hagee, Max Lucado, Ken Copeland, Randy Frazee and many other Pastors are GREAT. They all teach the Bible, God´s Word. GETV.ORG is a great place to go and it is all FREE, for those not wanting to help pay the bills all churches have.
Show me a modern "religion" where you cant follow the money. Where was Christ about greed for money? I think we all know, and most, including the scientology (granted, hardly a religion) televangelists, and the catholic church seem to ignore it, accumulating tremendous and opulent wealth on the backs of the poor or the insecure. From TV evangelists to clowns like sharpton and schlager, religion has been painted with a malodorous brush for almost 2 thousand years by those who would pimp it for personal gain.
#3 and #8, I totally agree that the mainstream protestant churches have become so liberal they aren´t really even christian anymore. They encourage gay marriage, global this and that, and the ministry, for example in the UCC church, has been taken over by women´s gender nuts. Some actually are sanctuaries for illegals!I also have tried the contemporary Christian Churches, and agree, the rock music, the swaying and waving, and "earnestness" of everyone is a turnoff. I long for the music, the message, and the spirituality I experienced from childhood to about 1990. Sad. The churches have themselves to blame.
When fakes take over an institution, it means downfall of that institution. There were people who see the church and religion as a means of making money, lots of it. These fakes are contributing to the downfall of the church and religion.
IMHO, the "mainline" protestant churches (I´m an ex-episcopalian, but most have so fallen)have ceased preaching to Word of God for social justice claptrap and marrying gay clergy. The free evangelicals are just like a good 1970s Chevrolet commercial for old fuddy-duddies like me. We have found an Anglican church in the Peoples´ Republic of Evanston, IL that´s like the old episocopal church ca 1965 complete with real scriptural liturgy, real pre-Godspell music and clergy that are actual Jesus freaks. Nothing is perfect, but I can finally sing praises and thanksgivings with constancy and dignity.
Right now in MA, catholicism, has been turned into a do-what-feels-good group meeting and the churches are pretty empty. For goodness sakes, the present cardinal (who sees no problems with abortion)has sold off many of them and closed and sold a lot of schools. The catholics in this state have seen a very close, approving relationship between the likes of the kennedy´s and jfkerry, with the present cardinal even going so far as to praise them and hold them up as examples of what being a good catholic is all about. I don´t think there is any mystery about why the religion is failing....it is not teaching or upholding the teachings of Jesus.
Our message in church this morning was from Acts 9 in the New Testament which relates the story of Saul of Tarsus. Saul was born into privilege in the Roman Empire, educated by the best teacher in Jerusalem, wealthy and had authority to defend his strong beliefs by persecuting Christians. Saul was sure of himself and never doubted his place in his world, his respected place in his religion and his purpose in life, ...that is, until he took that road to Damascus and met Christ. Saul´s life demonstrated that even those zealous about their religion are not always right. Saul was blinded by the Light, physically and spiritually, but later could see better that ever before through faith in Christ with eyes of authentic understanding. Chapter 9 of Acts reveals how Saul´s life was saved & changed, along with his entire perspective and priorities as he came to know his true purpose in life.
Saul was given a new name, Paul. Paul became an Apostle of Jesus Christ. Fulfilling God´s will for his life became Paul´s motivation, his strength and his wisdom from then on as he traveled, encouraging others and spreading the Gospel, -the Good News about Jesus who came to save lost sinners, which we all are.
´´Religion,´´ does not save sinners. Only through faith in Jesus Christ are sinners saved. That was Paul´s message to the world. And that is the message of Christ´s church in the world today, as Paul´s letters relate.
I´m devoted to my religion. A body of faithful people can do so much more, in the way of supporting one another and rendering Christlike service, than an individual ever could. Plus, I get a spiritual "top-off" on Sundays by attending, and it´s comforting to rub shoulders with like-minded people, after hearing mixed messages all week.
I´m in it for the duration. Two of my now-adult children are active participants, the other two not so much. Which disturbs me, but it´s their choice.
We (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) just concluded our annual General Conference. Membership at the end of 2012 was 14.78 million, up from 14.41 million one year earlier.
I am a Christian. I like my church and its ministers. I tithe but not 10%. I do understand the finances of the church. I understand and support the good that the church does in our community as well as its missions.
I also understand that our denomination has many churches that have strayed away from God´s word and have adopted a more progressive view and interpretation of the Bible. My church remains true to God´s word.
If you are a Believer, there are churches, plenty of them, to support your beliefs. Find one. Attend regularly, support it as you can. Remember that the only real thing that is important is your relationship with God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Remember that churches are buildings filled with sinners like you and me seeking forgiveness being preached to each Sunday by ministers who are also sinners seeking redemption and forgiveness. By God´s grace and mercy we are all forgiven because His Son took our sins upon himself. Make your religion and your relationship with God personal. God will show you the way.
I go to church to worship God with other believers. It is really not about me and what I want but for me to be obedient to what God wants. Jesus Christ is it for me. There are millions of excuses for not putting God first, but they are only that, excuses. There are congregations that worship God, you can find one.
Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod here. Our sermons are based on scripture and politics are never discussed from the pulpit. That being said, we are a conservative denomination and there would be open rebellion if that ever changes. Don´t just throw up your hands and say there´s no church out there for you, because if you do you´ve surrendered the body of Christ to the secularists and the Muslims. They do exist, and when they´re gone, chaos will ensue.
We are to love each other as Christ loved the church. Our daily walk should be on the way He showed us, but we go our own way.
The Lord Almighty hasn´t left us, it is we who have left Him and His ways. WE pick and choose that in Scripture we choose to follow. Those who sincerely seek to help others are counted as "the enemy" by those in the world.
We don´t need research to tell us that many are not happy with organized religion-- it is difficult to find the "perfect" place of study and worship, but many go for the wrong reasons.
Every Sunday when Mr. Cow and I attend Mass the pews in our church are packed. Neither of us attended a formal church for years after some bad experiences with evangelical churches. We´ve found a home in the Roman Catholic Church, sometimes it´s just a matter of finding the fit that is perfect for you. Mrs. Cow
I´m a Catholic, so maybe that´s why I can´t identify with a "tithing" requirement; never heard of it in the Catholic world. In fact, Catholic pastors don´t talk enough about money. You look around and see freeloaders who, I guess, think the Church fairy pays for utilities, repairs, insurance, etc. You´ll see people throw the same couple bucks they did 30 years ago into the basket.
And yet, as someone noted, the Church funds hospitals, missions, charities, schools, the church services themselves, visiting of the sick, prison ministries...so again, I never got the rap that the Catholic Church doesn´t do enough. Yes, it´s asset rich but cash poor, in many cases.
We might be "losing our religion" because the modern American doesn´t like having to actually follow something, preferring to make it up as he/she goes along. Christ taught that we´re a community and are supposed to worship together.
We just had a thunderstorm sweep across the 0zarks, with some hail and a brief but heavy rain before I could finish my thoughts above. The sun is back out now & it is again calm outside.
Anyway, Paul later said in one of his letters that the important thing is that Christ be preached and Christians are to offer this Good News of the Gospel to everyone. And so, when some came to him asking by whom & how the gospel was to be preached, Paul was inspire by God to write that he was not concerned with who communicated the Gospel,(-´´Good News´´ about Jesus), as long as the Gospel was communicated so all people could hear about Jesus, which is: John 3:16-17
I love my church. It´s a mix of all ages, all races, all income levels. The gospel is preached every week. The music is a mix of old and new and is fantastic. I am not religious at all, so I don´t need liturgy, vestments, etc. I give because I support the mission.
Interesting article and interesting comments by posters.
I go to a church in Cincinnati, in a neighborhood called Oakley. There are also satellite locations in Florence, KY, and Mason, OH, just north of Cincinnati. We are all one church! Attendance runs about 20,000 on any weekend, so I guess Crossroads is a mega-church, but I have never, ever, felt like I didn´t fit in. Inside any of the locations, there is a palpable sense of oneness and community.
A key Crossroads statement is: “We started this church for our friends who didn´t like church.” To pass by the building (a converted Home Quarters store), it can´t be recognized as a church. There is not a cross to be seen.
The trappings of organized religion always puzzled me. Someone please point out the reference to a Pope in the Bible. The millions (probably billions) spent on brick and mortar, ornate decorations, ceremonies, etc., etc., seems to detract from the message. Now having said that, let me say that if I had to send my now-grown daughters to school in 2013, they would be in a Catholic school, where I know they would get an education. I teach in a public high school; they are broken.
Crossroads is about money, too, and we know where it all goes: right back out the door to fund projects in Cincinnati, rescue victims of the sex slave trade in India, and to minister to AIDS victims in South Africa in partnership with a church there. Last Thanksgiving, we filled at least ten 53-foot long semi trailers with food for those in need in Cincinnati. As the sun rises in the east, we´ll need more trailers this year.
´´Religion can make us nice, but only Christ can make us new. Religion focuses on outward behavior. Relationship is an inward transformation.´´ Amen. And the inward transformation isn´t something we do ourselves. God does the transforming. How great He is.
I´m a Mormon and could not live without my Church. It is a sign of the times that people are losing faith, but God is in charge and all will work out as He wills. I hope that all Christian people unite, no matter our Church, to fight evil together.
In past days I had no answer for people who announced that they disagreed with "organized" religion. But then someone pointed out that Jesus Christ himself attended Synagogue on a habitual basis. Christianity has been from the beginning a group participation activity. Roman Catholics even teach that one is required to profess his faith publicly by means of participation in the Sunday services. - Another thought: Churches that place demands on members are the churches that are growing.
#32, #36 - “…not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25) “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (Matthew 18:20)
Christians are to gather to hear His Word being preached, to receive the Sacraments (Holy Baptism, Holy Communion), to pray, to sing, and to give thanks.
I have had several personal issues with churches, from being very poor that I could not afford "church clothes" and being told not to come back until I could, to feeling that I had a calling as a female to teach the word, and being told to go home and take care of my family, there is no room in the church for women in that capacity.
Couple that with the sermon in Obama´s church on Easter, and it explains why I refuse to darken the doorway of another church ever again.
On the other hand, my relationship in Christ and God the Father is deeper than ever before.
Reply 44 - Posted by:
Ida Lil, 4/8/2013 12:17:46 AM (No. 9264616)
It is confusion that religion is a denomination instead of homage to the Lord. Since Progression from one body of christian denomination began it has also become the usual man made my way or the highway gatherings. Groups break off and form another community who think their way and begin to demean all others as wrong. That leads to denominations becoming social groups instead of concentrating on teaching the Christian life. This has grown until some must fail and drift into worldly status and actually lose their way where the commandments no longer apply. when the community forgets how to pray and worship and preserve the commandments they become lost like those Moses led out of bondage of Egypt forced to wander in a desert of misery . When that time was over only 2 of the tribes remained to be called Israel. The same changes will come and reduce the number of denominations truly called Christian.
I feel sorry for those who feel that they are unable to find a church to attend. There are a wide variety of denominations and different types of churches out there. This is one reason why the Left is winning the political battles. The Left is fueled by Satan´s lust for power and the false promises of Satan. We see the failures of the Left and Satan everywhere in our society, from the divorce rate to the STD rate to the crime rate. Yet people put up their hands and push back not on these issues, but against churches. I would say that Satan is winning the war, the Left is winning the war, and we on the Right are losing the war big time.
I am with both 3 & 4. Gawd, I hate that modern Christian music!! Give me the old classics or the black church music.
My parents were non-practicing somewhat agnostic (Mama was Episcopalian and Dad is Catholic). They let us decide on our own (or to choose not to choose). We all chose. While I chose, I never intended to be an active member as I have never been religious. I am more spiritual and have a wonderful relationship. But I do find myself defending the church a LOT. It makes me sick that people can be so nasty to the faithful.
People use a lot of excuses NOT to attend church! Money, the wrong message, the Pastor dresses funny, I don´t like the people... We have heard them all! We are commanded by God to gather together as a body to Worship Him! "Where two or more of you are gathered in my name..." Possibly one should look inward and stop judging! That is what Jesus taught! Our church in Minneapolis is booming! Largest Lutheran Church on the planet. We teach Christ crucified and the Gospel of Free Grace to sinners! The same one that Christ taught! Stop making excuses and Worship your creator!
As a pastor, I do not see a lot of people losing their religion. I see a lot of non believers that used to go to church but are now leaving because they see it as more socially acceptable to be a non Christian.
There´s been a sea change in how the church is perceived by the majority of people. Nowadays almost no one in the public at large sees being a pastor as honorable. The media and entertainment industries portray us as wicked and deceitful. The bad guy is frequently someone that quotes scripture, like the warden in Shawshank Redemption.
This cultural change now gives a societal ´permission´ for non believers, who were never Christians to begin with, to leave the church and do things like ´worship god in nature´ (IOW, while fishing on Sunday morning). The end result is the church is winnowing down to its core of true believers. Most of the departing are people that only went to church for social reasons, being seen, visiting friends, being accepted in the local area, etc.
Now, I speak as a pastor that is not a part of an ´organized´ religion. I´m a Baptist!
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