“What is your religion, if any?” – That was the question asked of 54,000 Americans in a recent poll that made front-page headlines.
The survey found that over the past 18 years, the percentage of American adults who call themselves Christian has dropped 11 percent. Virtually every denomination has dwindled significantly.
So what’s the fastest-growing group? Those who answer, “None.” The number of Americans who say they have no religion has grown from 14 million to 34 million over the past 18 years.
Asked to describe his findings, the author of the study said, “Religion has become more like a fashion statement–not a deep personal commitment–for many.”
Do You Wear It or Bear It?
Do we Christians treat our faith as a fashion statement? If so, we ought to be deeply disturbed, concerned, prayerful and even repentant. Our lives ought to be a clear, unmistakable witness for Jesus Christ. No one should be able to construe our faith as a fashion statement.
The cross isn’t something you just wear–it’s what we are supposed to bear. Jesus tells us, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
In that same passage, Jesus poses a couple of questions that put the religion poll in perspective.
“Who do the crowds say I am?” (Luke 9:18). According to His disciples, the opinion of some was that Jesus was someone returned from the dead–maybe John the Baptist, Elijah or some other ancient prophet.
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” (Luke 9:20).
Only One Answer
That’s the crucial question we should be asking our neighbors, our nation and our world. It’s not a question of how you describe yourself, how you were raised or what church you attend.
Our world may treat religion like a multiple-choice question, but ultimately we all have to answer Jesus’ penetrating and revealing question. There is only one correct answer, as Peter declared in Matthew 16:16: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
The survey identified close to 50 million Americans who are lost in a spiritual vacuum. Of the 34 million Americans who claim no religion, only 1.6 million say they are atheists. Even 17 million so-called Christians say they don’t believe in a personal God. These people aren’t necessarily opposed to the Gospel–they are just lost.
They need to know Christ, the Son of the living God, and come to Him in faith and repentance. It’s a commitment, a firm decision to follow the Savior Who died and rose again for them.
It’s not the broad, easy way–it is the narrow path that leads to eternal life. Let’s go tell them the Good News of God’s love demonstrated in Christ’s death and resurrection.
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