I remember when I first heard REM’s song “Losing My Religion”, I hated it. Sure I was 7 and at that time only listened to country music, but that is not why I didn’t dig the song. I hated it because I thought, “how dare they brag about losing their religion! I love Jesus…when is DuckTales on?” Like I said, I was 7. But still, I hated the idea that people who were religious would give that up, let alone sing a song about it.
Well, according to an article in today’ s ASU StatePress, fewer young adults are identifying themselves as “religious” then ever.
A growing number of American young adults do not identify with any religion, according to a report released Tuesday.
In the U.S., 22 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds identify as non-believers, and of all adults, 15 percent don’t believe in any religion, according to the report from Trinity College.
You might assume that as someone who has devoted their life to telling people about Jesus, that I would be saddened or even upset with this current trend. Well, I am not 7 anymore and God has since opened up my eyes to his wondrous gospel! So, what do I make of the fact that people are “losing their religion”?
I love it!
I have said it before and I will say it again. Religion sucks! The day I lost my religion and found* the gospel was the best day of my entire life!!
*really, God slammed my face in front of it and wouldn’t let me look away, Amen.
It may be a cliche(and probably is used as one too often), but like most cliches, it has truth – biblical Christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship. Trusting in Jesus to be your King and Savior is not about checking off a bunch of boxes labeled – “Good deeds”, “Going to church”, “not cussing”, “etc”. It is about knowing the God of the Bible intimately and having a deep understanding about what He sent his Son, Jesus , to do for you (namely, die for your sins and offer you eternity with Him if you would just repent and trust).
For the last 100 years or so, America has lived in what is known as “Christendom”. This basically means that church and biblical values were highly regarded in society. That in order to be respected or even “cool” you needed to go to church, not sleep with your girlfriend until you got married, don’t say “crap”, and part your hair to the right. If you did these things, you were considered “good folk” and were accepted by culture. In essence people hid behind these religious activities and labeled it “Christian”.
Well friends, times are a changin’. According to this study and others, fewer people are calling themselves religious and even fewer people are hiding behind the accepted religious activities of the 1950’s. So why in the world would I be glad this is happening?
Because I think it creates an amazing opportunity to share the real story of the Bible, the true gospel.
No longer are people hiding behind religious activities and thinking they are OK. People are sick of religion and just want to be free. Nothing offers greater freedom then the gospel!
Religion says “I obey, therefore I am accepted.”
The Gospel says “I am accepted, therefore I obey.”
There is a HUGE fundamental difference between the two. Religion forces you to give of your time, give of your energy and give of your money until you realize you can never give enough and eventually breakdown under the pressure to give more. The Gospel offers you acceptance into God’s family 100% free, Christ paid your entire bill for you. Only then does obedience come….but it is not obedience out of guilt, but rather, it is obedience that overflows from your heart because of the tremendous joy that you find in relationship with Jesus and because of what He has done for you.
So, does it surprise me that people are running away from religion as fast as they can? Not at all.
It surprises me that is took this long.