Why are Young People Leaving Religion?


According to the latest data from Pew Forum on Religion, one in five US adults have no religion affiliation, while that figure rises one in three young adults who consider themselves part of the “nones.”  Nones are now a group that encompass atheists, agnostics, skeptics and open theists.

One in three!!! These are staggering statistics!

At the same time, NPR published an interview with six young people who have abandoned their religion, and I will paste some highlights here:

Miriam Nissly, 29, was raised Jewish and considers herself Jewish with an “agnostic bent.” She loves going to synagogue.

“I find the practice of sitting and being quiet and being alone with your thoughts to be helpful, but I don’t think I need to answer that question [about God] in order to participate in the traditions I was brought up with.”

Yusuf Ahmad, 33, raised Muslim, is now an atheist. His doubts set in as a child with sacred stories he just didn’t believe

“Like the story of Abraham — his God tells him to sacrifice his son. Then he takes his son to sacrifice him, and he turns into a goat. Today if some guy told you that ‘I need to sacrifice my son because God told me to do it,’ he’d be locked up in a crazy institution.”

Kyle Simpson, 27, raised Christian. He has a tattoo on the inside of his wrist that says “Salvation from the cross” in Latin.

“It’s a little troublesome now when people ask me. I tell them and they go, ‘Oh, you’re a Christian,’ and I try to skirt the issue now. They go, ‘What does that mean?’ and it’s like, “It’s Latin for ‘I made a mistake when I was 18.’

“I don’t [believe in God] but I really want to.

“I think having a God would create a meaning for our lives, like we’re working toward a purpose — and it’s all worthwhile because at the end of the day we will maybe move on to another life where everything is beautiful. I love that idea.”

Melissa Adelman, 30, raised Catholic

“I remember a theology test in eighth grade where there was a question about homosexuality, and the right answer was that if you are homosexual, then that is not a sin because that’s how God made you, but acting upon it would be a sin. That’s what I put down as the answer, but I vividly remember thinking to myself that was not the right answer.”

Rigoberto Perez, 30, raised as Seventh-day Adventist

“While I was younger, my father drank a lot. There was abuse in the home. My brother committed suicide in 2001. So at some point you start to say, ‘Why does all this stuff happen to people?’ And if I pray and nothing good happens, is that supposed to be I’m being tried? I find that almost kind of cruel in some ways. It’s like burning ants with a magnifying glass. Eventually that gets just too hard to believe anymore.”

Lizz Reeves, 23, raised by a Jewish mother and a Christian father. She lost a brother to cancer.

“I wanted so badly to believe in God and in heaven, and that’s where he was going. I wanted to have some sort of purpose and meaning associated with his passing. And ultimately the more time I spent thinking about it, I realized the purpose and meaning of his life had nothing to do with heaven, but it had to do with how I could make choices in my life that give his life meaning. And that had a lot more weight with me than any kind of faith in anything else.”


What do all these young people have in common?  Their answers prove how ineffective formal religion is at addressing their need for a Savior.  They have all been exposed to empty religious practice which can never save.  Even the four who had contact with Christianity do not mention the center of Christianity: Jesus Christ.

Everything in their universe is focused on themselves.  They are the authors of their future and no one will stand in their way.

They have tried to find answers in religion and they could not.  Now they will attempt to find answers in the philosophy, meditation, and human wisdom.  They will fail with these as well…

Until they find “the folly” of the cross, and the Savior who was crucified on it.

1 Corinthians 1:21-25 “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.”

Less Americans Believe Alternative Life Styles are a Sin

In just 14 months there was 7 point drop in the percent of Americans who believe that homosexuality is a sin from 44% to 37%.

LifeWay Research conducted these studies, and their president commented that the country is rapidly shifting position on this issue, partly due to president Obama’s “evolving” view on gay marriage.

“There is little doubt that the President’s evolution on homosexuality probably impacted the evolution of cultural values.  This is a real and substantive shift, surprisingly large for a one-year time frame – though this was hardly a normal year on this issue’

These findings are revealed in the wake of pastor Louie Giglio’s withdrawal from the presidential inauguration prayer.  The White House has already announced that Giglio will be replaced by a pro-gay pastor as a means to not alienate anyone.

Christians believers who hold to the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible will now be a rapidly shrinking minority in the US.

I am writing this to warn the body of Christ of our status in modern society.  Even though the Constitution gives us the right to believe the Bible as it is written, without taking Romans 1, 1 Corinthians 6, and many other pages out, we will be labeled as bigots, anti-social retros, and obstacles to progress.

Will this lead to religious persecution?  I believe yes.  Especially if Congress working with this Administration takes up “hate-speech” legislation which will prevent preaching from church pulpits from the above mentioned Bible passages.

At this point I do not envision pastors being put in jail for preaching against homosexuality.  But there is a real possibility of other legal methods being used to curtail religious freedom and free speech if such legislation is used.  Canada has already experimented with “hate-speech” legislation, and pastors there have confessed they are being pressured to not expose anti-sin views from the pulpit.

The world is changing.  Views are evolving.  A constant and confusing flux of public opinion is inundating us everyday.

Despite this we must remain anchored in the Word of God.  Anchored in Truth.

Supreme Court to Rule on Gay Marriage

And for Christians, the Supreme Court decisions on this issue will not be surprising, whatever the outcome is.  The social battle on moral issues like the sanctity of marriage has been lost as predicted multiple times in the Bible when it talks about the depravity of the end times.

State and national legislatures, governors, the White House, and possibly the Supreme Court have succumbed to Hollywood and media pressure on issues advanced by the gay agenda.  Also for the first time ever, the American public now supports the idea of same-sex marriage by a majority.

Two of the cases that the Court is planning to review in March include Hollingsworth v. Perry, which will examine whether gay and lesbian Americans have a fundamental right to marriage, and Windsor v. United States will examine the federal law that defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

The first case is a result of Prop 8 in California, and the Court will analyze whether denying a licence for marriage to a gay couple is unconstitutional.  The second is more important fundamentally and morally only because a group of 9 people will decide or re-decide something that us as Christians believe God has already ordained: the definition of marriage being between a man and a woman.

Who would have thought at any point in history up until about 10 years ago that we will have to potentially re-define marriage? The concept was so absurd that such thing was never brought up in the age of the Church including the Enlightenment, Reformation, and Great Awakenings, until society decided to have a sexual revolution in the recent past.

The Church tried to speak out against the inclusionary definition of marriage, but its voice was not loud enough, and even if its voice would have been loud enough, the biblical message is so antithetical to modern society that it would have just hardened so much more the ones pushing the same-sex agenda.

We live in an age where truth is relative.  Morality is relative.  People want and need to define their own morals.  The Word of God however claims absolute truth status, and this does not go well with moral relativism.

The redefinition of marriage, although morally devastating for society, will not affect our faith or our walk with God.  What society does apart from God should not affect us unless it results in persecution against our biblical views.

Let’s not forget the teaching of Peter and Paul who warn us about moral decay in the last days…

2 Peter 3: 3 “…you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.”

2 Tim 3: 1“There will be terrible times in the last days. 2People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5having a form of godliness but denying its power.”

This is why I believe that from a moral standpoint I think things will go from bad to worse.  I believe Christians will be hated for their views which are grounded in the Bible, even though we do not wish to force them upon anyone.

Society will continue its course of choice.  The Church however, the true body of Christ, will stay on its own eternal predestined course to glorification.

The 113th US Congress and Religion

According to the Pew Research Center, the current (113th) Congress includes the first Buddhist to serve in the Senate, the first Hindu to serve in either chamber and the first member of Congress to describe her religion as “none,” continuing a gradual increase in religious diversity that mirrors trends in the country as a whole. While Congress remains majority Protestant, the institution is far less so today than it was 50 years ago, when nearly three-quarters of members belonged to Protestant denominations.

Catholics have seen the biggest gains, adding seven seats, for a total of 163 and raising their share to just over 30%. Protestants and Jews experienced the biggest declines in numerical terms.

There is a large disperity between the percentage of U.S. adults and the percentage of members of Congress who do not identify with any particular religion. About one-in-five U.S. adults describe themselves as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” – a group sometimes collectively called the “nones.” This is a rapidly growing group.

This country was never a “Christian” theocracy, but it was founded by Christians on biblical principles. We are now a far cry from our origins. I believe this trend is set, and we will see a continuing secularization of our society and our institutions to the point of religious persecution against Christians.

Please see the table below for details on the religious breakdown in the current US Congress. Among neo-Protestants there are a 73 Baptists and… one Pentecostal… (one for oneness?)

Top 10 Christian Tweets of 2012

According to The Christian Post these are the top 10 Christian messages on Twitter in 2012.

10. Max Lucado – “On this Good Friday, envision the Savior on the cross, bloodied and cast in shadows. Listen as heaven whispers: For you, my child. For you.”

9. Colton Dixon (American Idol finalist) -“Someone loved you so much that he died for you. His name is Jesus.”

8. Joel Osteen -“God has you exactly where He wants you. Learn to be happy where you are, and God will take you where you want to be.”

7. Robert Griffen III (rookie quarteback for the Redskins) – “Couldn’t have written the beginning any better To God Be The Glory.”

6. Joyce Meyer – “God’s timing is perfect; He is never late. Even when things seem out of control God is still working and has a plan for your life.”

5. Gabrielle Douglas (olympic gold medalist in gymnastics) – “Thank you guys for everything! I am SO grateful God has truly blessed me! Remember to ALWAYS give him the glory for he is GREAT!”

4. Lecrae – “I’m not a Christian because I’m strong and have it all together. I’m a Christian because I’m weak and admit I need a Savior.”

3. Bubba Watson (golfer) – “To God Be the Glory!!! #Masters”

2. Rev. Run (some former rapper… who is this guy?) – “1 cross + 3 nails =4 given #ThankYouJesus!”

1. Tim Tebow – “Happy moments, praise God. Difficult moments, seek God. Quiet moments, worship God. Painful moments, trust God. Every moment, THANK GOD.”


Which tweets are your favorites?

Which tweets are biblical?  Heretical?

I await your analysis and comments…

Is “Christianity Today” Christian?

I have tried to follow the magazine Christianity Today (CT), but every other time I read an article there it seems like it is written either from a secular standpoint or by someone who might not be a Christian.  Really nice image being portrayed by a so-called Christian magazine…

Case and point, the editors just came out with their 2012 CT Music Awards.  I love Christian music, so I was excited to see check out the top Christian artists of the year.  But the top 12 albums of the year include names like Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Rait, and Bob Dylan.

Most of the names there are secular with the blasphemous Springsteen leading the pack.  His famous concert tirades mocking Christians and mocking God are now being rewarded by CT with a top 12 status!  Reformed rapper Lecrae somehow made it at the bottom of the list. 🙂 This is the explanation for their choices:

“Our annual best albums list includes the usual mix of clearly Christian and “secular” music. The loosely defined criteria for making the cut is essentially this: The album should indicate some sort of spiritual search, a quest for life’s meaning. Sometimes the music comes from an orthodox Christian worldview, and sometimes not.”

It is no longer about a quest for the God revealed in the Bible… the Bible that Christians from Christianity Today should believe as God’s inerrant and infallible Word.  It is now about “some sort of spiritual search.”  Is Christianity now reduced to Universalism?

This is just a symptom of the counterfeit Christianity prevalent in CT.

CT’s stance on homosexuality is readily apparent by the large amount of articles with relatively friendly positions toward the gay agenda.  They frequently include topics on gay membership in church and ordination of gays in ministry.

They have previously endorsed a definition of marriage as that being between a man and a woman, but with lukewarm stipulations: “Far more than the protection of the legal definition of marriage, our society needs a fresh understanding of marriage.”  A fresh understanding? Really? I guess what Moses wrote in Genesis and what Paul and Peter write in the New Testament about marriage is too old fashion.

The Bible calls on believers to separate themselves from the world, because as Jesus said even though we are in the world we are “not of the world.”  We cannot follow CT’s example in endorsing positions that require us to have to serve two masters.  Since Dylan is on their top 12 list maybe they should listen to his song “Gotta Serve Somebody.”  Since Paul quotes a pagan poet in Acts 17, I will quote Dylan here to prove this point:

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

The words of apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 6 ring truer then ever in this era when the church is increasingly mixing with the world:

14…For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God”

I question if Christianity Today is really Christian.

Newtown: Where Was God?

In the aftermath of the Newtown shootings, former governor and pastor Mike Huckabee presented the fact that for 50 years our government has systematically removed God from the classroom, and when a tragedy of this proportion precipitates in our schools our first reaction is to ask “where was God?”

He received a strong negative backlash from the liberal and atheistic media and blogosphere for that comment.  In this 3 minute video he eloquently defends his comments and makes the case that a culture without God is now reaping the consequences of its actions

Mark Driscoll’s “Puff or Pass?” On Recreational Marijuana

Mark Driscoll, controversial pastor of Seattle-based Mars Hill Megachurch marks the legalization of recreational use of marijuana in Washington with the publication of a brochure that asks the question “Should Christians smoke pot or not?”

Previously labeled by some as the “cussing” pastor due to the strong language used in some sermons and for showing unedited R-rated movies in his congregation, Driscoll now tosses up the equivalent of “Should Christians get high or not?” or “Should Christians dip into the habits of this world or not?”

He states that up until now his answer was always NO to marijuana based on Romans 13, explaining that it was an illegal drug.

But now… recreational marijuana is legal in Seattle!

Apparently that changes everything! 🙂

His 38 page brochure introduces the issue of smoking pot by making the following comparison:

“Some things are neither illegal (forbidden by government in laws) nor sinful (forbidden by God in Scripture), but they are unwise. For example, eating a cereal box instead of the food it contains is not illegal or sinful—it’s just foolish. This explains why the Bible speaks not only of sin, but also folly, particularly in places such as the book of Proverbs. There are innumerable things that won’t get you arrested or brought under church discipline, but they are just foolish and unwise…”

At the end of the brochure he endorses a position where he advocates against the use of recreational marijuana and is open for its medicinal uses (without questioning the motives for such medicinal use because he is not a medical doctor).

My main concern is not with his position.  It is with the fact that he does not label “getting high” as a sin, unlike pastor Douglas Wilson who labels it sin (quoted extensively in the brochure).  By implying that marijuana use is unwise, but not necessarily sinful, he leaves the door open for someone to think that getting high on pot may be OK.  This is especially problematic given the population of troubled kids that he ministers to.

He states he would strongly urge his 5 children not to use pot.  But I would have loved to see him make a strong statement forbidding his kids from getting high because it is sinful behavior, based on biblical principles:

“Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).

The word sorcery in verse 20 is translated from the greek word pharmakeia.  It refers specifically to the use and administration of mind altering drugs for the purpose of getting high or inducing trance.

Also, we cannot engage in sinful behavior as the world does:  “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think” (Romans 12:2) NLT.

Marijuana, cocaine, heroin, propofol, etc are inanimate objects that do not constitute sin in themselves… but the motives, cravings, effects and behavioral changes associated with their recreational use constitute sin.

Given the mind altering properties of marijuana, the sinful behavior associated with it, the main motives for its use, and the sinful situations used in, the godly answer to Driscoll’s question “Puff or Pass?” is definitely “Pass.”

22 Seconds of Paralysis… and Depravity

The story of mankind was told in 22 seconds in a New York subway these past few days.

It took 22 seconds for mankind to unravel the worst of its fallen nature.  It was 22 seconds of anger… 22 seconds of fear… 22 seconds of ignorance… 22 seconds of self promotion… and ultimately 22 seconds of paralysis and human depravity.

Following a verbal altercation, a young man pushed a thin, much older man off the subway platform and onto the tracks as a train was approaching.  It took 22 seconds from the shove until the train struck the victim to his death.  What happened in those 22 seconds stands as a testimony for all of us about who we are as humans, and how deep our moral inability and corruption affects us.

Eyewitness accounts, video evidence and a variety of news articles paint a shocking picture.

The train was quickly approaching.

The short, thin victim had gotten up and was desperately attempting to climb back up on the platform, but he could not… perhaps due to injury, desperation or physical weakness.

The multitude of bystanders were just… standing by… gripped by fear, suspense, maybe ignorance… but ultimately paralysis.

The freelance photographer from the New York Post quickly grabbed his camera, and as the train was approaching he started shooting photos of the scene.

He later gave the pictures to the NY Post who published a shot of the death scene.  He excused himself saying that he was trying to distract the train with the camera flash.

As for the perpetrator… “he never once offered any aid as the train approached the station. In fact, [he] watched the train hit the victim. And according to witnesses, he then calmly put his coat back on, picked up his cup of coffee and left the station, seemingly indifferent to the welfare or fate of the victim,” reports NBC news in an article.  The murderous spirit of Cain is alive and well today, as this man shows no remorse for the result of his actions.  He was careful to not forget his coffee while his victim was pinned between the train and the platform.

Could there be a worse example of human depravity in a civilized modern society?  22 seconds went by and no one attempted to help pull up this man…  a simple reach by two people would have lifted this 140 (or so) pound man back to safety in a matter of a few seconds.  Not even an attempt…  The photographer was more concerned with recording the action knowing there will be monetary gain down the line instead of helping his fellow-man… the ultimate act of selfishness.

Given what the Bible teaches, we understand why this is.  Man’s inability to do good, and the evil in his heart are echoed by God lamenting over His fallen creation in Genesis 6:5 “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

Despite this great evil that paralyzes even our so-called good intentions, the cross of Jesus has a place for all of us who chose to believe in Him for salvation from our depraved state.  My prayer is that the perpetrator and the bystanders will find Jesus, and forgiveness at the foot of His cross…

Black Friday: When Materialism Turns Into Idolatry

Black Friday is the culmination of idolatrous consumerism.  Not because someone wants to shop for a discounted item, but because of the underlying demeanor in the build-up and unraveling of Black Friday.

I confess, I do not have much Black Friday experience…  Last year we made the mistake of going to the local mall on Friday after Thanksgiving sometime in the mid morning, only to turn back home because we could not find parking.   Apparently you had to be there before dawn to get in line.  There are places where lines form days in advance!  These people sacrifice the Thanksgiving holiday and a night in a warm bed for a terribly unpleasant shopping experience.

Why?  Because they will save $200 dollars on a deal?   The average amount spent by the average Black Friday shopper is less than $400, so will a $200 saving really make that much difference in their lives?  In order to answer this question lets look at the things that happen during shopping on Black Friday because they help elucidate who we are as humans.

Shoppers get into a mindless and manic frenzy to the point where an apparel store can look like a category 4 hurricane just went through it.  In the busy stores one can see anger, greed and self elevation at the worst.  It starts with shoving, shouting, and it progresses to cursing, verbal fights, and fist fights.  In extreme cases there have been reports of shoppers and vendors being crushed, stepped on, and it seems like every year we hear reports of fatalities as a result of stampedes and lack of crowd control.  All for an average of $400 of merchandise!

At the core of the issue is human depravity and the worship of self.  The shopper is tricked into thinking it is all about “me, myself and I.”  The goal of the entire Black Friday exercise becomes less about buying a certain item, but beating out your competition to that item!  In some situations, pushing and stepping on another human being becomes part of the process… but it matters not, the depraved shopper must beat his competitor at all cost.

Greed coupled with anger is one of the most potent evil combinations of all human emotions and we see it on display during Black Friday Idolatry.  I call it idolatry because it comes down to serving, satisfying and elevating the self.  It all started with the fall of man after he was created perfect in the image of God.  Man was tempted with becoming just like the One who deserves to receive all worship, and the temptation proved too much.  And on Black Friday we are still dealing with the consequences of appeasing, elevating, and worshiping the self as exemplified by the demeanor and actions of the shoppers.

So, should Christians go and compete in the long lines and spend their $400 today?  If you do, just remember that you do not belong to this world and you must act that way.  Remember that lost people will act lost no matter what the situation, so do not be surprised when you see individuals fighting over that $199 “complete” home theater system, or that discounted video game.  You will see human depravity on display which will remind you where you once were before the Holy Spirit led you to the new birth.

Think of Black Friday as an opportunity to see how God has rescued you from this materialistic and idolatrous world, and how He made you realize that all glory and worship belongs to Him.

“whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1Cor 10:31