Sep 04, 2016 2:56 PM GMT
NYT: Only half of American Christians can name the four Gospels, only 41 percent are familiar with Job, and barely half of American Catholics understand Catholic teaching about the eucharist. Americans suspect that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife, or wonder whether the epistles were female apostles.
This argument unfolds against a backdrop of religious ferment. The West has rapidly become more secular, with the “nones” — the religiously nonaffiliated, including atheists as well as those who feel spiritual but don’t identify with a particular religion — accounting for almost one-fourth of Americans today. The share is rising quickly: Among millennials, more than one-third are nones.
ONE puzzle of the world is that religions often don’t resemble their founders.
Jesus never mentioned gays or abortion but focused on the sick and the poor, yet some Christian leaders have prospered by demonizing gays. Muhammad raised the status of women in his time, yet today some Islamic clerics bar women from driving, or cite religion as a reason to hack off the genitals of young girls. Buddha presumably would be aghast at the apartheid imposed on the Rohingya minority by Buddhists in Myanmar.
“What would it mean for Christians to rediscover their faith not as a problematic system of beliefs but as a just and generous way of life, rooted in contemplation and expressed in compassion?” McLaren asks in “The Great Spiritual Migration.” “Could Christians migrate from defining their faith as a system of beliefs to expressing it as a loving way of life?”