Research by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life recently came out on the changing landscape of faith in America. I wasn’t surprised at all to see how many people reported changing their faith or having a personal belief system without any real loyalty to a denomination or systematic theology.
Being spiritual seems to be in vogue while being a doctrinal purest is clearly not something that appeals to Americans under 50. I believe this shows the impact of post modernism as well as the failure by institutional Christianity to encounter culture and people where they live.
Pew’s research showed a fluid and diverse religious framework in America. The NY Times reported that the group with the largest gain was people without an affiliation. According to the Times, “More than 16 percent of American adults say they are not part of any organized faith, which makes the unaffiliated the country’s fourth largest ‘religious group.'”
On the plus side, more people may actually take ownership of their faith and let it change how they live. On the downside, they may throw out some things that are essential or develop worldviews that blur necessary distinctions. Losing what makes one faith unique compared to another is kind of like having a painting with only one color.