But we pretty much already knew this, didn’t we?

A quote from the story:

“Religion in America is like a spiritual salad bar,” said Michael Lindsay, assistant professor of sociology at Rice University and author of Faith in the Halls of Power. “Americans pick and choose their beliefs and religious practices in a custom-designed faith system. I don’t have a judgment call on whether it’s good or bad. It’s just the way it is.”

I have a judgement call on it, and it’s not good.

What kind of god is defined by human reason?  If beliefs and practices related to faith in a divine being are determined solely by choices that are made based solely on the preference of the person practicing their own particular faith, then that person, not God, is supreme and sovereign.  Whoever “god” is becomes subject to human will and intellect.  That kind of god is powerless, and doesn’t even fit a loose definition of the term.

So if “God” exists, by definition as the supreme, divine creator of the universe with full sovereignty over all of his creation, onmicient, onmipotent and omnipresent, then it would stand to reason that He, and not we, would determine the conditions for knowing Him.  If he is sovereign, then the only way we could know him would be through revelation from him alone.

“There is therefore, now, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.  For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh but according to the spirit.”  Romans 8:1-4

Trendy religion, beliefs that are changed by popular culture and thinking, and by the latest philosophy, is a faith of the flesh.

If the Pew Forum is accurate research, and people in the church have concluded that they can put together their own faith from picking and choosing their own preferences, what does that say about the quality of the teaching and preaching that we do?  And while the percentage of traditional African American church members and conservative evangelicals who believe that there is only one way to God is close to half, and much higher than mainline Protestants or Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons are much more convinced of their own correctness, but are much less criticized for holding that view. 

Sometimes, when I read these things, I think about the people in my own church, and I wonder if they believe some of the things that the surveys show significant percentages of other Christians believe.  I plan to ask my Sunday School class some of these questions this week.  We may well have our work cut out for us. 

“I did not speak in secret in a land of darkness.  I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘Seek me in chaos.’  I the Lord speak the truth.  I declare what is right.”  Isaiah 45:19



About LS

I'm 56, happily married for 25 years, B.A., M.A., career educator with experience in education as a teacher and administrator, native Arizonan living in Pennsylvania, working on a PhD and a big fan of the Arizona Wildcats, mainly in football and basketball.

One response

  1. Ken Coffee says:

    Lee, picking one’s own faith is tantamount to choosing one’s own god. People in our generation seem to want a designer god, one who doesn’t say, “Thou shalt not”, but one who says, “Oh, alright, go ahead.” They want a god who caters to their whims, not a God who expects us to worship Him and obey Him completely.