The Pew Research Center released a survey recently which was very interesting for those interested in the religious landscape of America.  Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly, a program produced by PBS, will be airing a three-part miniseries on the topic called, “None of the Above: The Rise of the Religiously Unaffiliated.”  Check local listings for the program dates and times.

The rise of the none’s (religiously unaffiliated) has grown to nearly 20 percent of the population, which comprises 46 million Americans.  These are startling figures.  However, as troubling as these numbers seem to be, there are some interesting contradictions.  One apparent contradiction revealed the religiously unaffiliated are not necessarily opposed to faith.  Sixty-eight percent of those designated “none’s” say they believe in God or a universal spirit.  This indicates that most of the religiously unaffiliated are not necessarily opposed to God, rather they have grown distant from organized religious institutions.

What does this say to those of us within organized religious instructions, such as the church and denominations?  It would be easy to lay the blame at the feet of the none’s, claiming they have given into the temptations of the world.  There is no doubt our culture has changed.  The world has become a more alluring place for those seeking an escape from reality.  However, much of the blame I am afraid can be set squarely at the front door of the church.

Here are some reasons I think we bear much of the blame…

  • The church has become more concerned over doctrine than people.
  • The church has merged herself too much into the secular political process.
  • The church has lost focus of our main objectives: worship, discipleship, fellowship, and missions.
  • Are there any other reasons you would add to this list?

    If you are a “None” then I would really like to hear from you.

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