Thursday, March 12, 2009

Is God dead?

In 1966, Time magazine ran a cover that read "Is God Dead?" Written in an increasingly modern society, the title reflected theories of the day that suggested man's need for religion would eventually run its course. But some 40 years later, people are still turning to religion for truth. In an essay in Blind Spot: When Journalists Don't Get Religion, authors Timothy Samuel Shah and Monica Duffy Toft state: "Contrary to the influential scholarly theories of the 1950s and 1960s, religion is not dying with modernization. Contrary to conventional wisdom, religion plays an independent and powerful role in how people view themselves and how states conduct their affairs."

But what about a recent study that indicates that the number of religious Americans is dwindling? According to the study, "The percentage of people who do not claim a religious identity has nearly doubled since 1990" and "although 86% of Americans identified as Christians in 1990, just 76% said the same last year." Doesn't this demonstrate that if religion isn't dead it must be rather ill?

Although it may seem as if some communities are moving away from religion, this certainly isn't the case around the world. Blind Spot points out that "except for Europe and a few other places, global religion shows little sign of declining in the face of modernization." The book points out that more people proportionately adhered to a major world religion in 2000 than in 1900, with the greatest growth in Protestantism and Islam. Regardless of theories and forecasts, religion is increasing in the world. It impacts how we understand ourselves and our place in this world. It affects how we interact with our neighbours – both near and far.

Joseph Stalin once said, "God must be out of Russia in five years." Our Russian brothers and sisters in Christ are testimony of this failed goal. Time magazine's question "Is God Dead?" speaks to our modern age. Like in the past, God is certainly not dead to the Christians around the world who are willing to pay any price to follow their Saviour. No matter the age, people will always be in need of God's grace in their lives.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kind of a stupid title Time came up with if you think about it. "Is God Dead?" The title follows the same foolishness as much of our society; if you don't believe something is true, then it isn't. If I don't believe there is a God then there isn't. Is God dead? My opinion or that of 100% of the population of the world is irrelevant. Is God dead? Either He is or He isn't, regardless of the percentage of people who believes it.