According to public opinion surveys by Gallup, 92% of Americans believe in God. Furthermore, Gallup found that 77% of all adults claim to be Christian in the United States of America (52% Protestant, 23% Catholic, 2% Latter Day Saints). And 69% are “very religious” or “moderately religious,” Gallup found, with 40% of adults identifying as “very religious.”
Now, look at your newspaper or television news. What do you see happening all around you? Does it look to you as if U.S. culture and society reflect a population that is 77% Christian, with 40% “very religious” and a nation with a 92% belief in God? Or do you see almost no trace of Christian influence in American culture now?
Jesus said in Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how]can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.”
Some will think that Christians need to try harder. That’s only part of it. The Bible makes it clear: It is impossible to be a genuine Christian without impacting those around you.
If 77% of roughly 305 million residents were actually Christian and they prayed only in hiding, the nation would still be swept by a powerful wave of revival more intense than Pentecost in Acts 2. If you doubt this, watch this video of the revival at Asbury College in 1970. When students prayed, a supernatural visitation of God was so profound it made the television news.
We must confront an unpleasant reality: The 77% of our countrymen who claim to be Christian are either lying or don’t really know what Christianity is. Those who don’t think being Christian matters are just fitting in socially.
Jesus said in Matthew 7: “16 You will know them by their fruits. . . . 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.” In context, Jesus was clearly talking about exactly this situation. Actual Christians numbering 234 million would revolutionize society automatically, without even knowing it.
These days, churches in Africa, the Philippines, and other nations are sending missionaries to the United States. In those nations, the dead are raised, miracles occur in front of thousands of eyewitnesses, the sick are healed, the blind see, the lame walk. But the United States of America is gripped with an enduring drought. Amos 8:11: ‘“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord God, “When I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, But rather for hearing the words of the Lord.”’ Read Micah 4:5-6 for a shock.
- GOD IS A CULTURAL FICTION
Overwhelmingly, “God” is just a cultural fiction to many Americans. So when people say they believe in God, that means nothing more to many than believing in the Easter bunny or Santa Claus. When you engage many people in conversation, it gradually becomes evident that they don’t believe in an actual, supernatural being with a thinking intelligence.
This is why society does not reflect a belief in God. They don’t think they owe any allegiance or obedience to God, because God isn’t real. Doing what Christianity teaches is entirely optional to most American Christians.
“God” to most people is simply a cultural ideal. So in actual conversations, people will insist that they are Christians. But they will quickly blow a gasket if you argue that Christians should actually act like God is real, such as taking a public stand.
The veneer usually starts to peel when such “believer’s” insist that religion is a private matter that should not be exhibited outside of church and home. They are adamant that it is socially wrong to “judge” anyone (that is, teach right from wrong) or “proselytize.”
- DESIGN YOUR OWN GOD
Our culture is dominated by the assumption that everyone can design their own personal God. Now, we have the legal and political right to believe whatever we want without government interference. This was part of the Protestant Reformation, not just part of the U.S.A. We live in a consumer society, in which the customer is always right and the consumer is (supposed to be) king. We are accustomed to our whims and personal opinions being catered to.
This makes Americans imagine they can create their own reality about God. If God isn’t real to begin with, then whatever I imagine is just as good as whatever you imagine.
So we hear people say things like “I can’t believe in a God who… [fill in the blank, such as would punish people for XYZ.].” To those who believe in an actual, real God, those ideas are ludicrous. God is who and what He is. It doesn’t matter if you like it or you don’t. Yet many Americans who claim to be Christian cannot comprehend a God who is different from what they wish God to be.
- JUST CALL YOURSELF A CHRISTIAN
The idea is widespread that one just declares which religion is their favorite, like a favorite sports team, color, or ice cream flavor. Dramatic and significant steps are required, such as repenting from the heart for one’s sins and committing to obey Jesus as King of the universe absolutely, in all things. One can’t just announce they are an NFL football player.
Jesus said in Matthew 7 : “22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” Warning people who think they are okay with God that they aren’t was one of Jesus’ main themes.
- GOD IS CONFUSED ABOUT HIMSELF
Our culture is dominated by the belief that all religious beliefs are equally valid or that “God has many names” or that “all roads lead to God.” Logically, this can only be possible if all religions are fake.
If one religion is “true” – that is, it accurately reflect the truth about God – then necessarily all other religions must be false. The only way that all religions can be equally true is if all are equally imaginary – or if the differences are trivial or superficial.
Yet Americans who adamantly insist they are sincere Christians will also sputter and emit smoke from their brains if it is suggested that any religion is incorrect. How can they believe that Christianity is correct if they insist that all other religions are also correct?
Every person has a right to choose what to believe. No one can be forced to believe anything. Indeed, if someone were forced against their will to believe what is accurate about God, it wouldn’t count. The God of Christianity would not be impressed by someone who believes the right things only because someone pushed them into it. And God would be mad at the person who coerced them.
But God is not confused. God knows who He is. God knows what He wants. God knows what He expects us of. So there is only one “true” and accurate version of who God is and what God wants.
Overall, until devoted Christians recognize and address false assumptions about God, American society will continue in rapid moral collapse. Those led to believe they are already Christians may still remain at risk of hell.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.