Yesterday, Pew Research Center released the findings of their annual study of American religious belief. Each year the Center conducts surveys to determine where Americans stand on key theological issues and belief. In this year’s survey, the Center attempted for the first time to pose philosophical questions concerning the idea of suffering and faith to a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults, finding that Americans largely blame random chance – along with people’s own actions and the way society is structured – for human suffering, while relatively few believers blame God or voice doubts about the existence of God for this reason.
A majority of Americans say they believe in “God as described in the Bible.” The survey also showed less than one in 10 U.S. adults reject any belief in God or a “higher power.” Few Americans blame God or say their faith has been shaken amid the pandemic or other tragedies that have occurred this past year. Most U.S. adults say bad things just happen, and that people are often the reason. The research found that 58 percent of American adults say they believe in “God as described in the Bible,” while an additional 32 percent say they don’t believe in the God of the Bible but “do believe there is some other higher power or spiritual force in the universe,” according to the survey’s wording. All total, 91 percent of Americans say they believe in God or a higher power – slightly above the percentage when Pew asked those same questions in 2020 (89 percent) and 2017 (90 percent). Nine percent of Americans say they don’t believe in God or a higher power, slightly lower than the 11 percent in 2020 and the 10 percent in 2017. https://www.pewforum.org/2021/11/23/few-americans-blame-god-or-say-faith-has-been-shaken-amid-pandemic-other-tragedies/
At first glance Christians come away feeling that the increase in numbers is a good thing! Fifty-eight percent say they believe in the God of the Bible, great but what are they doing about it? Think about it. If half of our nation really believes that God is who He says He is in the Scripture, why are they living the way they live? Why is crime, sin and injustice at an all-time high? It is one thing to believe, another to put belief into action.
God calls His people to active faith. When we use the word “hope” it is not a passive, what and see what will happen thing. It is an active participation with God in the work that He is doing in our world. It’s great to believe, but we are better witnesses when others see the fruit of our belief. Very few are brought to the Lord because we tell them we believe in Him. Millions are brought to a right relation with God by the way they see us living out our faith. I’m reminded of Thomas in John 20 who saw and touched the resurrected Jesus and proclaimed his faith. In verse 29 Jesus says, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Then John goes on to say in verse 30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.
It was through the testimony of the eyewitness, their changed lives, that caused those around them to believe that had not seen Jesus. Think about it, to have the greatest impact on this world Christians must start living like they believe in the God of the Bible, not simply saying they believe. Until we demonstrate genuine life change, we will do little to draw people to Jesus. Make a point to stand out in a positive way for Jesus today.
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35
Serving the Savior,
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