I’ve always felt that it’s important for religious people to have the same kind of philosophical stance they use in their religious life as they do in the rest of their life. And a lot of times I think religion — religions — ask people to sort of turn off the scientific part of their lives and just go and kind of think about God kind of pre-scientifically.I don’t think we can do that. We’ve got to have a faith that is, in some sense, consonant with the way we think about the world scientifically. And again, I think one of the things the Pew study suggests to us is that if the church can get over its anxiety about talking about God in a grown-up way, we would actually reach out to and speak to more people than we do right now.
The U.S is home to the most Christians in the world, but the number of Americans who identify as Christian is declining, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center.
While the drop in Christian affiliation is particularly pronounced among young adults, it is occurring among Americans of all ages. The same trends are seen among whites, blacks and Latinos; among both college graduates and adults with only a high school education; and among women as well as men.
One of the most important factors in the declining share of Christians and the growth of the “nones” is generational replacement. As the Millennial generation enters adulthood, its members display much lower levels of religious affiliation, including less connection with Christian churches, than older generations. Fully 36% of young Millennials (those between the ages of 18 and 24) are religiously unaffiliated, as are 34% of older Millennials (ages 25-33). And fewer than six-in-ten Millennials identify with any branch of Christianity, compared with seven-in-ten or more among older generations, including Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers. Just 16% of Millennials are Catholic, and only 11% identify with mainline Protestantism. Roughly one-in-five are evangelical Protestants.
In a NPR interview The Very Rev. Gary Hall, the retired dean of the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., points out that to counter this decline it is time to talk about God in a grown-up way:
The sky was all purple
There were people runnin’ everywhere
Tryin’ to run from their destruction
You know I didn’t even care
They say two thousand zero, zero
Oops, out of time
So tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1999
In 1999 worldwide music revenue was $27 billion, in 2014 it had dropped to $15 billion. Most blame Napster for this decline, but if you dig deeper you will find that Wall Street and government policy are the actual cause of the steep decline in music revenue. The death of Prince is a metaphor for the death of music and especially Black music.
I got something that’ll
Sho nuff set your stuff on fire
John Shelby Spong, who was the Episcopal Bishop of Newark for twenty-four years, writes in The Fourth Gospel: Tales of a Jewish Mystic:
The good news of the gospel, as John understands it, is not that you–a wretched, miserable, fallen sinner–have been rescued from your fate and saved from your deserved punishment by the invasive power of a supernatural, heroic God who came to your aid…. John’s rendition of Jesus’ message is that the essence of life is discovered when one is free to give life away, that love is known in the act of loving and that the call of human life is to be all that each of us can be and then to be an agent of empowering other to be all they can be.
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?
~ Matthew 6:25
I spent over four years homeless mostly in New Rochelle, NY and discovered the power of empathy to fuel innovation and creativity:
I believe that empathy – the imaginative act of stepping into another person’s shoes and viewing the world from their perspective – is a radical tool for social change and should be a guiding light for the art of living. Over the past decade, I have become convinced that it has the power not only to transform individual lives, but to help tackle some of the great problems of our age, from wealth inequality to violent conflicts and climate change.It is important to understand what empathy is and is not. If you see a homeless person living under a bridge you may feel sorry for him and give him some money as you pass by. That is pity or sympathy, not empathy. If, on the other hand, you make an effort to look at the world through his eyes, to consider what life is really like for him, and perhaps have a conversation that transforms him from a faceless stranger into a unique individual, then you are empathising. ~ Roman Krznaric