The moral demise of America is well-known and often celebrated. Sadly, while more people today are “attending church” than ever before, the church is a willing participant in the moral demise of the culture. In his excellent book Two Cities, Two loves: Christian Responsibility in a Crumbling Culture, James M. Boice notes:
…interest in religion remains high but … morality that ought to accompany it is down. Nearly half of all Americans go to church or synagogue regularly, but the differences between the moral behaviors and ways of life of these people and those who show no religious inclinations whatever are nearly unmeasurable.
The rise of social networks, most notably Facebook, has provided a public pulpit for many to lay claim to “their religion”. And indeed many have staked their claim to the name “Christian”–whatever that means. They willingly enter the fray on contemporary issues, doctrinal wranglings, and political problems; post neat little quotes, quaint sayings, Christian-themed notes, and even the occasional “if-you-really-love-Jesus-you’ll-repost-this-status-as-yours-and-find-hidden-blessing-in-it” kind of status updates. This however, is often accompanied by the use of questionable language, photos, and posts, all sprinkled with the intermittent “don’t-judge-me” warnings. Whereas the “about” section of his or her page professes Christianity, other content reveals a greater mystery.
With clear words, Charles Colson explains the problem:
The key to the paradox is the fact that those who claim to be Christians are arriving at faith on their own terms–terms that make no demands on behavior. … When the not-so-still small voice of self becomes the highest authority, religious belief requires commitment to no authority beyond oneself. Then religious groups become merely communities of autonomous beings yoked together solely by self-interest or emotion.
Despite the recent growth of these religious communities, there is a gaping void in the world. For the name “Christian” and the term “church” have both become bywords offering no distinguishing difference and no life-transforming power. Again, I point you to the words of James M. Boice:
If this is so, then what is called for today is a new generation of people who are confident that the Bible speaks the truth of God and who are not afraid to believe what it teaches, build their lives on its doctrines and proclaim it without compromise to others. What is needed is a new generation of Christians who know the Bible well enough and obey it radically enough to be a new people or new society to stand over against the world and its system. To recall Augustine, the must become a people who ‘love God, even to the contempt of self’.