"Losing My Religion"

No, I’m not talking about the hit song by the American rock band R.E.M. I’m talking about a CNN report regarding a prediction by a team of mathematicians that “based on census data stretching back 100 years…religion will be driven toward extinction” in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, Switzerland and the Netherlands (Source: CNN Belief Blog). According to lead mathematician Daniel Abrams, “Every single data that we were able to find shows that people are moving from the affiliated to unaffiliated. I can’t imagine that will change, but that’s personal opinion, not what the data shows. …[We] are not passing any judgment on religion… [We’re] just modeling a prediction based on trends.” (Ibid) Also, in other studies, these people are “the fastest-growing religious group in the United States” (Ibid). Those labeled “unaffiliated” are not necessarily atheists or non-believers… just people who do not associate themselves with a particular religion or house of worship”. (Ibid) It appears to be a distinction that people make nowadays between being religious and being spiritual.

The mathematicians point out that this could be the result of the bandwagon or “the majority effect”, that is,People are more likely to switch to groups with more members… it’s more attractive to be part of the majority than the minority, so as religious affiliation declines, it becomes more popular not to be a churchgoer than to be one… Just a few connections to people who are (religiously) unaffiliated is enough to drive the effect” (Ibid). That means our social network can have a great influence on us.

As I’ve pointed out, the mindset today is that one can be spiritual without being religious. Of course, being affiliated with a religious group won’t bring us to heaven. Only faith in the Lord Jesus would. But the problem with this trend is that we see faith as a purely personal matter. We have to see faith as a corporate matter also. The way we express our faith through our words and works impact others also. It can’t be merely personal. Even our Lord pointed out that loving people is equivalent to loving God. He taught, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39, ESV) We cannot be disconnected from people of like faith.

Brethren, let us stay “affiliated.”


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