Preserving Faith Values In A Nation Of Religious "Nones"

Feb 6, 2024

By Emily Wood Hawley, Liberty Counsel writer

As Americans increasingly drift from religious affiliation and Christian values, morality in our culture has drastically declined. We could trace this shift back to monumental events in past decades or even certain U.S. Supreme Court rulings that chipped away at our values as a society, but the common denominator is this: America has veered away from faith in God.

Rise of the “Nones”

Religious “nones” have become the largest single group in the U.S., according to a recent survey by Pew Research. Religious “nones,” those who describe themselves as atheists, agnostics, or “nothing in particular” when asked about their religion, now reportedly make up 28% of the U.S.

This group is the largest single group in the U.S. and now outnumbers Protestants at 24% and Catholics at 23%. With more than two-thirds (69%) of this group under the age of 50, the religious “nones” primarily consist of younger Americans.

Although those who claim to be Christian, overall, still make up the majority of Americans, the state of religious affiliation in the U.S. is in decline. Among the religiously affiliated, church attendance is following the same downward trend, with only about 31% of Americans attending a religious service in the past seven days in 2023, according to a Gallup poll.

Certainly, not everyone was a person of faith at the time of America’s founding until recent times, but society was culturally Christian and revered God. How did we, a nation whose motto is “In God We Trust,” get to this point when religion seems to be either disdained, discarded, or dismissed.

Founded for a “Moral and Religious People”

Most of America’s Founders were either Christians or had a reverence for God and an understanding that rights come from our Creator who created all men equal. The United States was founded on Judeo-Christian values with the assumption it would be inhabited by people of faith and that adhering to shared values would sustain the nation.

In his farewell address in 1796, George Washington cited the importance of faith values in America, saying, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.

Similarly, John Adams said our Constitution was “made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Looking at the current state of culture and the erosion of values in the public square, it’s hard to describe American society as a “moral and religious people.”

Somewhere between 1776 and 2024, American culture slid into moral decay and godlessness. As a whole, a nation founded on biblical principles seems to have lost reverence for God and the understanding of the value of human beings made in His image. As Ronald Reagan warned, "If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under."

How Far We Have Fallen

We are cohabiting in a country with some mothers who think it is justified to kill unwanted babies in the womb and some parents who believe it is acceptable to let their children mutilate their healthy bodies in the name of “gender identity.” We are witnessing school leaders push for pornographic content to be available in elementary schools as others advocate for “drag queen story hour” for kids. On top of this, society is suffering from a rampant increase in degeneracy, crime, violence, broken families, and complete disregard for the law and morality.

As someone who attended public school from kindergarten through high school in small-town South Carolina until 2017, most of my teachers and classmates were professing Christians. I understand this is not the case outside of the Bible belt, but in a “government school” environment in the early 2000s, as a first-grade class, we prayed a blessing before lunch daily ending with “Amen, thank you, Jesus.” 

But even in areas with a strong Christian influence like the town I grew up in, I fear this is no longer the reality for most public schools, or at least it won’t be much longer, if religious affiliation continues its downward trend and the church remains silent. Godless progressivism is like a cancer that spreads aggressively and metastasizes if not stopped.

We are now living in a post-Christian scenario with groups of people who operate by a completely different set of definitions on the most basic of terms such as “man” and “woman,” and “adult” and “child,” and that “exchanges the truth of God for a lie” (Romans 1:25). Absolute truth is being traded in for relativism, as culture is inundated with lies that mock God and the natural order He established at Creation. My, how far have we fallen!

Our Only Hope

The difference in worldview of someone who understands where (and from whom) our rights come versus someone with no faith in God makes all the difference. Without this basic understanding, we are essentially rudderless, a ship without a sail, tossed by every wind and wave.

Where do our rights come from if not from the Creator and the Giver of laws? If the state is the grantor of rights (which it isn’t), then the state can take them away. An understanding that our rights come from God and that all men are created equal is born out of the knowledge that we are all created Imago Dei, in the image of God, our Creator. He is the One from whom our unalienable rights life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness  derive.

If we want to preserve faith values in a country of religious “nones,” the church cannot remain dormantIt is essential for believers and local churches to be bold and refuse to shrink back from speaking truth to a godless culture desperately in need of Christ.

Of course, merely believing in God is not what saves (only Jesus Christ saves), but as a culture and nation, it is important to have a shared reverence of our Creator and a basic understanding of biblical truth.

As Christians, as much as we love our country and want to see it restored, we are citizens of Heaven first and know our hope is in God alone, not in chariots or princes. But also, as citizens of the United States, we should advocate for just and moral laws and for godly values to be upheld in a fallen world this is critical for the redirection of our nation and the restoration of our culture.

 

Also published in Higher Ground Times.


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