|None (regarding faith and apologies) in the U.S.|
|Written by Michael Fones|
|Sunday, 18 October 2009 16:08|
The Wall Street Journal was quoting Beliefnet founder Steven Waldman not too long ago.
Nones-Americans who profess no religious affiliation - now make up 15 percent of the population. Given their rapid growth, their numbers might soon surpass the nation's largest denominations. But get this: 24% [of Nones] say they believe in 'a higher power but no personal Go,' the belief system that used to be described as Deism. They don't believe in Scripture, or cotton to organized religion. But in the privacy of their home, they think that the distant, aloof God occasionally checks in to listen to their prayers. I know, this doesn't sound at all consistent, but these days, as credal religions lose their members to the "Nones," all kinds of inconsistencies abound: like self-described atheists who believe God exists (18%; and 8% are absolutely certain God exists!)
As Sherry has pointed out before, many of those entering the category of "none" are young adults. There is much need for basic proclamation of the Gospel that focuses on who Jesus is and what he has done for us. That also requires that at some point each person has to recognize him- or herself as a sinner in need of forgiveness. That's a tough sell in today's market, you might say.
Speaking of "none," that well describes the existence of heartfelt public contrition. Think of it this way - when was the last time you heard someone publicly say they were sorry? I didn't follow the Letterman scandal, but it sounds as though he did make some kind of apology, although I doubt the word sin was used. (The Variety article noted that it was great for ratings!)
It may be my imagination, but public mea culpas sometimes seem to be along the lines of "mistakes were made." We have a hard time admitting failure and taking responsibility for it - Genesis 3 has it so right! Adam and Eve sin, and when confronted, Adam blames Eve (and God indirectly) and Eve blames the serpent and whines that it was a trick!
Let's take some responsibility for our sins so we can ask for - and receive - forgiveness. God offers that easily. What about us?
Let's also take responsibility for inviting others to experience the love and forgiveness of God that's found in the Gospel. Evangelization should be an act of love; an introduction of someone we care about to Someone who cares about us beyond measure.