CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH
MORE U.S. CHRISTIANS MIX IN ‘EASTERN,’ NEW AGE BELIEFS
USA Today reports: “Going to church this Sunday? Look around.
The chances are that one in five of the people there find spiritual energy in mountains or trees, and one in six believe in the evil eye, that certain people can cast curses with a look – beliefs your Christian pastor doesn’t preach.
In a Catholic church? Chances are that one in five members believe in reincarnation in a way never taught in catechism class – that you’ll be reborn in this world again and again.
Elements of Eastern faiths and New Age thinking have been widely adopted by 65% of U.S. adults, including many who call themselves Protestants and Catholics, according to a survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.
Syncretism – mashing up contradictory beliefs like Catholic rocker Madonna’s devotion to a Kabbalah-light version of Jewish mysticism – appears on the rise.
And, according to the survey’s other major finding, devotion to one clear faith is fading.
Of the 72% of Americans who attend religious services at least once a year (excluding holidays, weddings and funerals), 35% say they attend in multiple places, often hop-scotching across denominations.
They are like President Obama, who currently has no home church. He has worshiped at a Baptist church, an Episcopal one, and the non-denominational chapel at Camp David.
Mixing and matching practices and beliefs is as much the norm as it is the exception, Pew’s Alan Cooperman says. Are they grazing, sampling, just curious? We really don’t know.
Even so, says Pew researcher Greg Smith, these findings all point toward a spiritual and religious openness – not necessarily a lack of seriousness.…” (I Timothy 4:1; II Peter 2:1, 2; Revelation 9:20; Jude 1:3-25.)