The Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association
 
   

Secular Dominance & Christian Hypocrisy
by Jim Josephsen

A recent Newsweek article: The Decline and Fall of Christian America* has sparked heated debate across America. Has America moved into a post-Christian era? Are Americans less Christian, less religious? Is America going godless?

Of course one may argue, why equate Christianity solely with godliness? After all, there are many religions, many faiths, many spiritually based affiliations within America; all of which worship some type of superior being.

The results of several surveys recently undertaken, indicates American Christianity is on the decline. According to a recent Newsweek poll, fewer people now think of the United States as a “Christian nation” than did when President George W. Bush was in office. Two thirds of those polled now think religion is losing its influence in American society. In America, those who believe religion “can answer all or most of today’s problems” are in the minority. Only 48 percent, a historic low, now believe religion has the answers.

According to the American Religious Identification Survey, the percentage of self-identified Christians has fallen 10 percent since 1990; from 86 percent to 76 percent. Based on this survey, it is believed that America is entering a post-Christian era.

The author of the Newsweek piece writes, “Evangelical Christians have long believed that the United States should be a nation whose political life is based upon and governed by their interpretation of biblical and theological principles. While we remain a nation decisively shaped by religious faith, our politics and our culture are, in the main, less influenced by movements and arguments of an explicit Christian character than they were five years ago. The decline and fall of the modern religious right’s notion of a Christian America creates a calmer political government and for many believers may open the way for a more theologically serious religious life.”

Another recent poll, executed by the Pew Forum, reported that the percentage of Americans who say they are unaffiliated with any particular faith has practically doubled since 1990 to 15 percent. Since 2005, the percentage of Americans who call themselves spiritual rather than religious has risen six percent to 30 percent of the population.

The concepts identified with Judeo-Christian ideologies are clearly being challenged in this nation, and never so fervently than in the past three decades. From decisions rendered by the US Supreme Court, to legislation signed into law by our elected officials, to everyday behaviors, the once honored pragmatic, morally sound, God-defined principles that shaped this country are less recognized and even less tolerated.

From institutes of higher learning, to American-style entertainment venues, to the theology of mainstream religions, so-called Christian values and ethics are losing credibility, losing ground in America.

One need not go any further than the daily papers, the internet news, the various headline news outlets to witness behavior and lifestyles that are effacing to common sense and human dignity. From the daily ingestion of music, television, movies, to the constant drumming of new social and sexual behavior, America promotes less godliness and more secularism. These facts cannot be escaped. Our cities are flowing with blood, as homicide, fratricide, and familicide blanket the country. How fitting the prophecy found in the Christian and Hebrew Bibles; by swearing and lying and killing and stealing and committing adultery, they break out and blood touches blood (Hosea 4:2). An endless sea of human blood paints city sidewalks and stains the homes throughout this nation, the result of increasing rejection of God-ordained laws and principles; the result of a judicial system that is defective.

Prominent Senator Jim Webb has decried, “[The United States] incarcerates 756 inmates per 100,000 residents, a rate nearly five times the average worldwide. About one in every 31 adults in this country is in jail or on supervised release, all at a cost to taxpayers of some $68 billion a year. Either we are the most evil people on earth or we are doing something very wrong.”  [See article here]

Of course the concept of evil people is challenged by the liberal left and by the up surging liberal Christian left. Why, you can’t pin labels on people! And when the question comes up about gender-orientation, gender roles and responsibility, we have already seen how several Christian denominations have allowed practicing gays, male and female alike, among their bishopric and ministry.

Behavior across the country reveals sharp departures from what the Christian right had hoped. More school authorities are siding with science as opposed to creationism in disputes over evolution. In Iowa and Washington rulings have prevailed allowing for the recognition of same-sex marriage. Many states, including those thought as Republican strongholds, are now acquiescing, allowing legal same-sex partnerships. Abused first amendment rights now promote increasing incidents of pornographic transmissions over the Internet and now the cell phone. The picture of marriage across this land is stained with infidelity and mockery. The United States holds the highest percentage of failed marriages within the first five years, some 23 percent. The percentage of cohabitation relationships (once considered sinful) that break up after five years is 55. The percentage of kids under 15 whose parents break up is 40 percent.

The economic issues so turbulent in the past six months, Wall Street abuses, trillion-dollar bailouts, the decay of investments that our maturing population so desperately need, although not seeming to be religious in nature, are all the consequence of broken biblical laws and principles. America’s faltering economy and financial failings is a direct result of America’s disregard and disobedience to God. Christian principles, not to mention civics and ethics, are no longer taught in our school systems.

Contributing to America’s religious uncertainty, we see the Evangelical Christian community being pounded by secularism. In a recent article, The Coming Evangelical Collapse, author Michael Spencer laments Evangelical Christians “will soon be living in a very secular and religiously antagonistic 21st Century.” He further goes on to explain, as a result millions will quit. Thousands of ministries will end. Christian media will be reduced if not eliminated. This will all be the consequences of an increased intolerance of Christianity throughout the post-Christian West. Public opinion and public policy will become hostile toward Evangelical Christianity, seeing it as nothing more than archaic and an opposition force against common good.

Evangelical Christianity has based its gospel in political arenas and on subjects that are emotionally charged. Their highly charged doctrines are based on their interpretations of the Bible. Even more embarrassing, many of the faithful are guilty of knowing less about the Bible but more about divisive political issues. The Evangelical Christian movement is losing its way, as a result of its growing hypocrisy, as many of the faithful cannot live up to their own ethics. The world is overcoming these Christians. All this errancy is forcing the faithful to rethink the church’s doctrines and standing in the country.

Godlessness in America is picking up steam through shear force of secular dominance and transparent Christian hypocrisy.

On the other side of the debate, a loud protest has gone out; claiming the predicted fall of American Christianity is highly exaggerated. Proponents of this argument are quick to point out that at many critical periods throughout America’s history, when times were difficult, questions about godlessness arose. Those who reject the idea that America is going godless, state all one has to do is look at history.

During the Civil War, during the Roaring-20’s, during the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and more recently, during 9/11, the cries rose up, America’s moral and religious fabric is crumbling; Godlessness has been exposed, society and religion are decaying. Today it is no different, so say these proponents. America is simply going through an economic funk, domestic and global political challenges and social readjustments. The American ethos, social and moral values are in a phase of modification. That which works best will prevail. This too shall pass, they say. In the past, society neither collapsed nor did religion, specifically Christian religion, fail. And so today, the outcome will avail a stronger society and greater religious soundness.

The fulfillment of democracy, individual freedom and patriotic idealism will prevail. Godliness will once again thrive. Christianity will survive. How will this happen? A new type of Christianity will develop, based on a greater understanding of a more loving, merciful Jesus Christ. A new Christianity adjusted to co-exist with new political and social behavior will arise.

These individuals articulate that every generation has its prophets of doom, predicting the rise of godlessness. Nothing is new; the predictions failed. At this moment of angst and uncertainty, anger and fear of government, Americans and Christian Americans alike, are battling the ideas of existentialism and humanism versus dependence on God for solutions to life’s difficulties.

Look at daily behavior within this country. Notice the moral fabric of society. Immorality and decaying virtues are prominent. In the main, Judeo-Christian principles are no longer valued. It is believed these principles are no longer efficacious in the 21st Century, post-Christian West.

Ironically, the United States of America had the opportunity to succeed under godliness, morality and Christian virtues. America failed. Ironically, American Christianity has not even lived up to the challenge; has not obeyed the teachings of its namesake. Ironically, disobedience and rejection of God’s Laws and Christ’s teaching has caused American Christianity to foster and promote godlessness. America is going godless; it has chosen to do so.
 

Breaking News Stories
Go here for the latest news stories on this subject. –news stories added 24 April 2008
 
Further reading:
News Commentary
Why We Must Fix Our Prisons - By Senator Jim Webb  [referenced above]
The Coming Evangelical Collapse  [referenced above]
 
Our Commentary
Did You Worship the Son or the Sun?   –by Jim Josephsen 
Without God in the World  –by Jim Josephsen 
 
Change Coming to America –by Jim Josephsen
Halloween - Paganism to Acceptance –by Jim Josephsen

Having a Form of Godliness  –by Jim Josephsen
Redefining Marriage - Really!  –by Jim Josephsen 

Liberation Theology  –by James Ricks
The Annual Christian Challenge   –by Jim Josephsen

Europe and the Coming State Religion –by Michael Burkert
Centuries’ Old Doctrine “Now out of Date” –by Jim Josephsen
 
Resources
American Religious Identification Survey
Pew Forum
 
 * Actual title is, "The End of Christian America"
 

Photos: Newsweek cover