Some have predicted that humanism and naturalism would produce a completely secular America. These forecasts have not proven true. While our culture has not embraced a robust belief in orthodox Christianity. Americans are interested in spiritual things.
Sociologist Christian Smith identified the religion of American teenagers as “moralistic therapeutic deism.” He lists its beliefs as follows.
- God created the world.
- God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other.
- The goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.
- God is uninvolved in one’s life except when he is needed to resolve a problem.
- Good people go to heaven when they die.
(Christian Smith and Melissa Denton, Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers, Oxford University Press, 2005).
This set of beliefs describes many adults as well as teenagers. Many I have known do not have a personal relationship with Christ or participation in a church. They use God’s name to forcefully punctuate a sentence but expect him to help them when they need him and confidently expect to go to heaven when they die.
An interest in spirituality does not make one a Christian. We must teach people to know Christ who has revealed God to us. Generic religion does not produce godly lives and does not save. In our lives and church we must help people know the God of the Bible and Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.