I came across a blog earlier today that had a couple posts explaining that the younger generations of Americans have become less and less interested in Christianity. The two posts he wrote on this topic each dealt with one of the reasons that he suspects for this shift. The two reasons he gave were parents having interfaith marriages and not going to church regularly.
While it is clear that there are not as many young people professing to be Christians as there were in the past, I wonder what this actually means. Does it mean that there are less Christians, or less professing Christians? If there are less Christians then we can start asking why that is, but I think that it may be inaccurate to make the leap from less professing Christians to less actual Christians.
For quite awhile Christianity held a strong hand on culture. People went to church, they said grace, they tried not to swear around the pastor. Was that good? I don’t know. It was what it was, but it certainly did not mean that those people had surrendered their lives to Christ. It may have meant that a lot more people had a false sense of security in their religious observations that made them confident that they were going to Heaven because mom and dad went to church and they were members of “First Baptist.”
It’s not that way anymore. Maybe this means that less people are Christians, maybe it just means that the traditions of earlier generations’ Christianity are no longer relevant. I can’t say what it means, but to think that there was a “good ol’ days” of Christianity seems a bit inaccurate. It is important to separate the actual beliefs from the cultural traditions.
To deal with the second part of this: why do young people not seem interested in Christianity, I can’t give some definitive answer, but I think it is a little more complex than interfaith parents and non-churchgoing parents. I had both. I believe. Christianity is about God touching your heart with the truth of the Gospel and you surrendering your life to that truth. It is not inherited from parents and if it is forced on kids by their parents it isn’t real. So maybe it has to do with the fact that the church is more tied up with the gospel of traditions than it is with reaching people with the gospel of Christ. Maybe it has something to do with fundamentalism, and the church running away and hiding in caves while the world moved on. Maybe it is because certain people believe and certain people don’t. It’s all speculation. All we can do is share the gospel of Christ with the people around us, young or old, and live out the love and truth of that Gospel in our relationships with those people. They may have interfaith parents, they may have never gone to church. I don’t see how that matters in the least.