Thursday, 28 April 2011
A recent Gallup Poll came up with the result that almost 9 out of 10 Americans believe in God (full poll here)
That is astounding considering how "Christian" the America I see with my own eyes. Mind you, I do live outside of the Americas and I cannot don't know exactly what happens within your little bubbles, but from the outside, I generally don't have a particular righteous view of your country. The loudest voices calling out are politicians and celebrities. A wholesome celebrity is nowhere to be found, and often found nowhere because immorality is the subject of their fame. Note that I'm generalizing, but for every negative, there is a positive group of people that breathe the same air that neutralize my negative opinion of some.
Moreover, on a much smaller scale, there are undoubtedly a large amount of nominal Christians interviewed in this sample. These are the ones who do not really believe in Jesus, but do so only in lip service. Whether it is to satisfy their own pressures or to satisfy cultural pressures, they dutifully amble up to church week after week. Perhaps sometimes they raise their hands in worship and sings the right words, but they have never truly pursued God or have been pursued by God.
I had a friend actually who rejected her Christian faith recently (pictured), she stood up to her father who works in the church as a pastor I believe. What she said was that she wasn't really into Christianity anymore. Her father was sorrowed, and that was that. The reality is that she was already falling away from church beforehand, and even when I pushed her to attend, she just didn't get what the pastor was saying, this was somewhat disappointing to me. Surely, the church must be the one that is more concerned than me about this.
Yet, still to today, she goes on about her faith as if nothing has changed. Before and after rejecting Christianity, the only change that occurred was that it now operates purely on her complete command as opposed to partiality given to God's. Moreover, what keeps her within the church community is that she needs it to stay within the certain clique that her friends are inexplicably linked to. People like her fall between the cracks constantly stuck within a cultural Christianity, which is dead in itself because no man is saved through the Church, but only Christ alone. It is not enough to merely have a verbal affirmation of the Gospel, Jesus said that it was never enough:
"“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." Matthew 7:21 (English Standard Version)
Jesus is not detracting from the importance of seeking God, and sometimes in prayer it is important to cry out, "Lord, Lord". But these words will fall on unresponsive ears if not coupled with the Holy Spirit, teaching us how to pray. How to do the will of the Father above is only accomplished through the leading of the Holy Spirit, that is how everyone in the past has moved. That is how Elijah was brought to the widow at Zarephath, that is how Nehemiah was brought back to rebuild the wall, that is how Jonah was brought to Ninevah. Without the Holy Spirit, we are lost human beings with no hope of ever finding Paradise.
9 out of 10 gives a rather bloated impression of Christianity, because it judge what the words of men are, not what is in their hearts. Even the greatest man can speak the right words, but only the humble could admit they are sinners in need of grace. That is a mighty task to come to that place where we are not supported by anything but God. I pray that I continually am brought to that place, and not trust in the culture that I have grown up in.
“It is one of the defining marks of our time that God is now weightless. I do not mean by this that he is ethereal but rather that he has become unimportant. He rests upon the world so inconsequentially as not to be noticeable. He has lost his saliency for human life.
Those who assure the pollsters of their belief in God’s existence may nonetheless consider him less interesting than television, his commands less authoritative than their appetites for affluence and influence, his judgment no more awe-inspiring than the evening news, and his truth less compelling than the advertisers’ sweet fog of flattery and lies. That is weightlessness.”
–David F. Wells, (God in the Wasteland, 88.)
Is God now meaningless to human life? How is he become irrelevant to the masses? Is 9 out of 10 an accurate measure of the people in America believing in God?