Friday, October 9, 2009

God Is Within

This article speaks for itself. It is not surprising that faith and spirituality are evolving and taking on individually organic forms in peoples' lives. I think we've come full circle into an era where "God is within".

I attribute this in part to the age in which we live where ANY AND ALL questions CAN be asked without being socially shunned. Nothing is taboo and many atrocities of organized religions have been exposed over the past decade. The truth always surfaces. Information and exploration into religious questions can be accessed through many different sources (the Internet being one of these sources) and I think people are becoming more reliant on their own internal interpretation of God and the Bible and are acknowledging and abandoning the flawed religious institutions that all seem to be wrought with abuse and politics.

"The Most High does not dwell in houses made with hands..."-- Acts 7:48

Where Have All the Christians Gone?
Bruce Feiler - AP / - September 25, 2009

The number of people who claim no religious affiliation, meanwhile, has doubled since 1990 to fifteen percent, its highest point in history. Christianity is plummeting in America, while the number of non-believers is skyrocketing. A shocking new study of Americans’ religious beliefs shows the beginnings of a major realignment in Americans’ relationship with God. The American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) reveals that Protestants now represent half of all Americans, down almost 20 percent in the last twenty years. In the coming months, America will become a minority Protestant nation for the first time since the pilgrims. The number of people who claim no religious affiliation, meanwhile, has doubled since 1990 to fifteen percent, its highest point in history. Non-believers now represent the third-highest group of Americans, after Catholics and Baptists.Other headlines:

1) The number of Christians has declined 12% since 1990, and is now 76%, the lowest percentage in American history.
2) The growth of non-believers has come largely from men. Twenty percent of men express no religious affiliation; 12% of women.
3) Young people are fleeing faith. Nearly a quarter of Americans in their 20’s profess no organized religion.
4) But these non-believers are not particularly atheist. That number hasn’t budged and stands at less than 1 percent. (Agnostics are similarly less than 1 percent.) Instead, these individuals have a belief in God but no interest in organized religion, or they believe in a personal God but not in a formal faith tradition.

The implications for American society are profound. Americans’ relationship with God, which drove many of the country’s great transformations from the pilgrims to the founding fathers, the Civil War to the civil rights movement, is still intact. Eighty-two percent of Americans believe in God or a higher power. But at the same time, the study offers yet another wake-up call for religious institutions. First, catering to older believers is a recipe for failure; younger Americans are tuning out. Second, Americans are interested in God, but they don’t think existing institutions are helping them draw closer to God. Finally, Americans’ interest in religion has not always been stable. It dipped following the Revolution and again following Civil War. In both cases it rebounded because religious institutions adapted and found new ways of relating to everyday Americans. Today, the rise of disaffection is so powerful that different denominations needs to band together to find a shared language of God that can move beyond the fading divisions of the past and begin moving toward a partnership of different-but-equal traditions. Or risk becoming Europe, where religion is fast becoming an afterthought.

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