Religious Identity

I had my AP United States history classes read a piece from the America’s Journey text. I found this part very interesting on the perception of religiosity in America during the early 1990s. It reads:

The New York Times reported on ‘dozens of surprises’ contained  in an opinion poll on religious identification in America. The poll revealed two main features of American religious life. First, organized religion was thriving. Nine out of ten people polled identified themselves with a religious denomination. Second, the American religious scene was highly diverse. Respondents claimed affiliation with dozens of groups, from Roman Catholics (the largest) to Rastafarians (the smallest).

Contrast this short piece to the recent news piece and book  below that draws on postmodernism among the youth in the 21st century. I first came across this information via Mike Cope, a church of Christ minister in Abilene, Texas.

The book Unchristian addreses:

Christians are supposed to represent Christ to the world. But according to the latest report card, something has gone terribly wrong. Using descriptions like “hypocritical,” “insensitive,” and “judgmental,” young Americans share an impression of Christians that’s nothing short of . . . unChristian.Groundbreaking research into the perceptions of sixteen- to twenty-nine-year-olds reveals that Christians have taken several giant steps backward in one of their most important assignments. The surprising details of the study, commissioned by Fermi Project and conducted by The Barna Group, are presented with uncompromising honesty in unChristian.Find out why these negative perceptions exist, learn how to reverse them in a Christlike manner, and discover practical examples of how Christians can positively contribute to culture.


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3 thoughts on “Religious Identity

  1. Taking into account the degrading of morals since the 1960, darn those hippies and birth control, in society this piece does not surprise me one bit, in fact I am surprised that I have not seen many more studies like the one mentioned above. The Bible states that many will go to the gates claiming to be followers and Jesus will reject them saying I never knew you(somewhere in Romans i believe). This study was done on those who say they are christian only because it is the thing to do, if we were in the middle east the same people who claim to be Christians would say they were Muslim even knowing what they know now about Christ, because saying you are a Christian is easy, being one is a totally different thing entirely in my opinion…but hey I am just Travis..

  2. Gandhi once said “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

    Travis, I would take this as evidence that this trend has been going on since well before the sixties…

  3. Travis-
    The verse you alluded to is Matthew 7:21-23.

    Now generally :). I agree with Ms. Chili that the issue of the “cultural Christian” is an issue that has plagued the Christian body for a little while longer than the 60s. The earliest I can think of in history is after Constantine made Christianity the state religion (there is examples in the Bible, but I want to prove other examples as well). Until that point, the Christian life was dangerous. After the burning of the Circus Maximus in Rome, Nero decided that Christians make good torches and blamed Christians for the destruction of Rome. Now if a guy promised to blow up the church every weekend on Saturday during the 11 am service it would make sense for attendence to decline. Instead Christianity grew and became a larger force. When Constantine decide Christians are friends not torches, many people joined in name… but not in action. Because it was protected, it was ok to be Christian on the Sabath, but I’ll just sneak into the brothel and get drunk Monday through Friday.

    Christianity has become too comfortable. In places that actively persecute and kill the Christian church, it thrives. Elsewhere it dies. Is it because we have our reward and don’t care about much else? Do we have our “fire insurance” and can go out and break the 10 Commandments freely?

    Carson please excuse my rant on your blog; however it is a message that isn’t posted enough. It is saddening that this is a trend, but I am not too surprised. These are labels that the church has borne since the Renaissance with the “Praise of Follie” to now with public scandals.

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