In the article "Teens are fleeing religion like never before: Massive new study exposes religion’s decline" Joan Ships claims that young adults in America "are the least religiously observant of any generation in six decades". This conclusion is based on a study by Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State.
Twenge says this is “due to cultural change” after examining surveys conducted over 48 year to get the opinions of 11.2 million adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18. Case Western Reserve University and the University of Georgia collaborated to analyze data from the surveys.
It was concluded that adolescents pray less, approve of religious organizations less, and think religion is less important with far more believing religion is “not important at all”.
Twenge, who wrote the book “Generation Me”, describes young adults today as "disengaged, narcissistic, distrustful, and anxious.” She also uses terms like “tolerant, confident, open-minded, and ambitious" which seem contradictory.
She calls them the “Entitlement Generation.”
America has never been more socialistic as it is today. Socializing America has taken a hundred years and began with Public schools becoming the predominant source of educating your people in the early 1900's. Before that most schools were privately funded and less than half of America even attend public schools which were still heavily funded by private assistance.
Then came Social Security, individual Welfare and a swarm of entitlement and benefit programs managed by the government. Before that many of these services and social safety nets were manned by the Church and other religious institutions.
Twenge suggests that a cultural trend of "rising individualism in U.S. culture" has moved people to put "self first" so that "it makes sense that fewer would commit to religion”.
What Twenge and Joan Ships seem to have missed is that the definition of religion has changed. Religion used to mean the “Real piety in practice, consisting in the performance of all known duties to God and our fellow men” and it is simply how a nation, a people, or a society takes care of its needy and therefore serve the God or gods they have chosen for themselves.
Over time religion was redefined by men to mean "what you think about a supreme being". The prophets of religions like Judaism and Christianity said that we were to "love thy neighbour as thyself" which would require that you be engaged.
The early Christians formed a living Network through the early Church. Acts of the Apostles is an account of that religious network in action which was engaged in a daily ministration rightly dividing the bread of Christians in fellowship with their brothers in Christ through fervent charity.
Without that charitable network Christians would have to eat of the free bread of Rome which was a snare and a trap according to Paul and David, [Proverbs 23|Proverbs]] and Peter. The Roman Rulers were the Fathers of the earth, the men who called themselves benefactors but exercised authority, and only their civic children could eat at their table. The covetous practice of eating their free bread would entangle them again in the yoke of bondage and compel them to be engaged in the idolatry of their temples.
Christ commanded that the people who were to follow Him seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness be engaged in a network of love and charity. In fact, any society dependent upon charity to care for its needy would, by default, require those who wish the benefits of such a peculiar people to be voluntarily engaged with society.
All those young people who do not desire to "commit to religion” are actually committed to "Public religion" of the State and are a surety for its debt. They are not dependent upon the love and charity of their neighbor but upon those men who call themselves Benefactors and perform that duty to your fellow man with funds they take from you and your neighbor according to the rituals and ceremony of the State.
Religion today has become a myriad of opinions about God promoted by entertaining homiletics and imaginative hermeneutics. Religion and its institutions in the last 100 years has ceased to be the welfare of religious communities that we saw in the first century Church and many churches little more than a century ago. There is no significant daily ministration in the Church today. The welfare benefits which were originally the province of a charitable Church have become the territory of the authoritarian State which not only engages the youth but binds them to Public religion.
So the statement about putting "self first" or "rising individualism" is incorrect. It is the rising collectivism, the culture of identity politics and a lack of knowledge about the true purpose of religion and the nature of Pure Religion that has brought about the fleeing of false religion.
The Modern Church has abandoned the basics of Pure Religion for a strong delusion which allows people to become workers of iniquity while thinking they are following The Way and the doctrines of Jesus. It is time to Repent.
The study also implies that an “increasing acknowledgment that religion is not consistent with scientific understanding”. This is also the result of redefining the word Religion. Our series on Quantum and String theory counters that idea.
Because the Churches have accepted the Corban of the Pharisees as the norm of society they are making the word of God to none effect and their own role in society and the lives of the youth superfluous. In any case, almost none of these modern Churches practice what James called Pure Religion.
With little need for others, including their own families, we can expect a "narcissistic" approach to community. With no dependence upon the love of neighbor, there is little opportunity to build trust so distrust becomes natural and without trust anxiety becomes natural.
Vanity produces the air of confidence and ignorance becomes our comforter.
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- At the same time piety was defined as the duty to your Father and Mother and through them to others within your community.
- Judges 10:14 Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.
- Leviticus 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I [am] the LORD.
- Matthew 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
- Matthew 19:19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
- Matthew 22:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
- Mark 12:31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
- Mark 12:33 And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
- Luke 10:27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. Romans 13:9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
- Romans 13:10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
- James 2:8 ¶ If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:
- Richard John Neuhaus, 1936 – 2009, prominent American clergyman.
- Homiletics is the art of constructing a sermon or speech.
- Hermeneutics is the theory and methodology of interpretation, especially the interpretation of biblical texts, wisdom literature, and philosophical texts.
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Brother Gregory in the wilderness.