Clergy and theologians — people invested in the significance of doctrine — may be dismayed by the newest Pew findings but they can hardly be surprised. An array of surveys in the last two years have detailed the swirling, unbounded paths of believers. The data show:
• Between 47% and 59% of Americans have changed religions at least once, according to a Pew survey released in April. Top reasons for most: Their spiritual needs weren’t being met or they liked another faith more or changed their religious or moral beliefs.
• The percentage of people who call themselves some type of Christian has dropped more than11% in a generation, and so many people declined to label themselves with any religion that the so-called “Nones,” now 15%, are the nation’s third largest “religious” category after Catholics and Baptists, according to the latest American Religious Identification Survey released in March 2009.
• Despite Americans’ overwhelming allegiance to someone they call God (92%), Pew’s 2008 U.S. Religious Landscape Survey of 35,000 Americans also found a “stunning” dismissal of institutional religion: 70% said “many religions can lead to eternal life” and 68% said “there’s more than one true way to interpret the teachings of my religion.”
From USA Today®
So What about Australia?
Whilst this survey was conducted in the USA, the bastion of “evangelical Christianity”, the results although alarming, are not surprising. One can only wonder what the results would be if it had been carried out in Australia; we suspect the outcome would be very similar.
Should we expect anything different given the “illiteracy of the laity”?
It is our prayer that in some significant way, God will empower HBC to address this “illiteracy” – a mission to which God has called Hills Bible Church.
If you share this God-given passion, and live in our area, we urge you to join with us. Together with God, we can make a difference!