April 5, 2024

Faithless America

Church attendance has been declining in the U.S. in recent years, but the trend isn’t irreversible.

We live in troubled times, but human nature hasn’t changed.

No matter the era or the system of government, we’ve always faced political strife, warfare, and natural disasters. Despite all of these challenges, we built a thriving civilization out of a wilderness while believing in a higher power. Indeed, the Founders of this nation thought faith in God was essential for the Republic to endure and prosper.

George Washington, who often credited God with guiding the colonists through the American Revolution, observed: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness.”

Thanks to the Founders’ faith and vision, Americans have enjoyed unprecedented peace and prosperity. It’s worth noting, then, that as our standard of living and material comforts have grown, faith in God has declined.

As a result, we have gradually exchanged our spiritual and moral values for nihilism, instant gratification, and the temptation to follow human leaders who promise what often turns out to be impossible to deliver.

John Daniel Davidson, author of the new book Pagan America, writes, “The radical moral relativism we see everywhere today represents a thoroughly post-Christian worldview that is best understood as the return of paganism, which, as the Romans well understood, is fundamentally incompatible with the Christian faith.”

“Christianity after all does not allow for such relativism but insists on hard definitions of truth and what is — and is not — sacred and divine,” Davidson adds. “So if we have entered a post-Christian era in the West and are facing a return, in modern guises, of paganism, what does that mean for America? It means the end of America as we know it, and the emergence of something new and terrifying in its place.”

That new and terrifying place is right before our eyes: killing millions of unborn children, embracing a self-centered and debauched lifestyle, celebrating perversion while mocking traditional families in media and culture, attacking people of faith, and standing by while watching the dismantling of the fabric of society.

Joe Biden’s presidential proclamation for “Transgender Day of Visibility” on Easter Sunday was troubling, indeed, but so is the fact that a sitting president could even make such a declaration without caring about how it might be perceived. Instead, the president claimed he didn’t do it, and the Leftmedia’s “fact-checkers” claimed it was all a big misunderstanding. His presidency would have been in crisis in a different era, but not today.

There’s a new religion replacing the old.

It’s no surprise that recent polling data reveals a steady decline in faith, which correlates with the lack of moral outrage as the pillars of our civilization are dismantled before our eyes. A recent Gallup poll, for example, found that 56% of U.S. adults either never attend or seldom attend religious services, including Christian, Muslim, and Jewish respondents. Forty-one percent attend services at least once a month. Mormons were the most likely to attend church, with 54% attending weekly services.

Referencing a Pew poll, journalist Chris Stirewalt writes: “The long, steep rise in the ‘nones,’ Americans who don’t profess any spiritual beliefs, has been one of the big shifts in American politics and culture in the past 20 years. In 2007, Pew Research found that just 16 percent of adults said they were atheists, agnostics, or believed in ‘nothing in particular.’ By 2022, that category had almost doubled to include nearly a third of all adults.”

Despite these grim numbers, one bright spot emerged in a recent Rasmussen poll, which found that nearly 70% of all Americans believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Digging into the numbers, we also find that a significant majority engage in prayer to varying degrees. A third of this group prays every day or at least once a week, while only 18% never pray.

We can’t assume that physical attendance at religious services is an accurate representation of the faithful in America. In fact, last summer Pew Research found that a quarter of adults watch religious services online.

Still, there’s no way to sugarcoat the steady decline in church attendance. Churches still stand all around the country, but more of them are being repurposed into community centers and coffee houses.

More worrisome is that as our society detaches itself from believing in a higher power, we embrace a state-sanctioned way of thinking and believing. And the human leaders of this new state religion are putting the fear of God into people who don’t worship what it proclaims.

Moving forward, we’re not going to become a reborn spiritual nation overnight. It’s going to take the work of good, moral, decent people to spread the word and engage in acts of faith that build strong communities. And while all faiths can be part of that process, it is the Christian foundations of the West that built our civilization and can right the ship again for our children and grandchildren.

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