Monday, March 09, 2009 Posted by Shattered Paradigm
The number of Americans who claim no religion at all is now 15%, which is up from 8% in 1990. Islam, Wicca and eastern religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism also show large gains.
But even those who still call themselves Christians do not necessarily hold to traditional Christian beliefs any longer. Two other recent surveys show that the majority of American Christians believe that accepting Jesus Christ as savior is NOT the only way to eternal life.
USAToday recently reported on an almost unbelievable new survey that has found that 52 percent of American Christians believe that eternal life is not exclusively for those who accept Jesus Christ as their savior.
A different survey that was taken last year by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life found that 57 percent of evangelical Christians in America believe that "many religions can lead to eternal life".
That shocking study revealed what many Christians have known for quite some time - apostasy among "evangelical Christians" is spreading, and it is spreading rapidly.
Evangelical Christians are supposedly those who follow the teachings of the Bible the closest. But this survey shows that even a majority of them do not even believe in the most fundamental precepts of the Christians faith.
For example, John 14:6 says the following:
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
If there was another way for our sins to be forgiven, then why did Jesus need to die on the cross? If there were other ways to salvation, then Jesus could have come down to earth, pointed out a bunch of other ways to get to heaven, and then could have gone back up to heaven without having to deal with the cross.
But the reality is that there was no other way for our sins to be paid for.
And yet these new surveys reveal that a majority of American Christians now believe that there are other ways to heaven.
The Pew survey also revealed that 45% of Americans as a whole say they seldom or never read their religion's holy books.
Perhaps if more Americans were reading the Bible then they would know what is truth and what is error. Instead, Americans have surrounded themselves with preachers and self-help coaches and ministers who tell them what they want to hear, who always make them feel comfortable and who never tell them about sin, holiness or the judgment of God.
The current situation in America reminds us of 2 Timothy 4:3.....
For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
The sad reality is that the trends all show that church attendance in America is in decline.
Dave Olson, the director of church planting for the Evangelical Covenant Church, has done some really interesting research into the church attendance patterns of Americans.
Olson's findings contain a ton of bad news. For starters, his research found that the percentage of Americans regularly attending church is only 18.7%.
Olson has put his findings into an eye opening slideshow entitled "Twelve Surprising Facts about the US Church".
Here are some of the things that he found:
The percentage of people who actually physically attend a Christian church each week is quite a bit below what pollsters report.
The percentage of people who attended a Christian church each week decreased significantly between 1990 and 2000.
Only one state, Hawaii, actually saw an increase in the percentage of the population attending church between 1990 and 2000. Every other state in the entire nation saw a decrease in church attendance.
Evangelicals, mainline Protestants, and Catholics are each strong in very different regions of the nation.
The church planting rate has been declining steadily throughout the history of the United States.
If these current trends continue, the percentage of the U.S. population that attends church each week in 2050 will be about half of what it is today.
So is Christianity the religion of the future in America?
The way the trends are heading, it looks like the days when America could be called "a Christian nation" are quickly slipping away.