'They say they want the Kingdom, but they don't want God in it'
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By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
3/22/2016 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
In the hit U2 song, "The Wanderer," Johnny Cash sings the line, "They say they want the Kingdom, but they don't want God in it." The verse seems very appropriate to the results of the latest study on belief in the United States. Americans are losing their belief in God, but strangely, they are keeping their belief in Heaven.
Millennials expect to go to Heaven, but they are estranged from God (Dreamstime).
LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - There's more atheists in America than ever, but what's weird about them is many believe they're still going to Heaven.
Nearly 59,000 U.S. adults were surveyed and their attitudes on God, prayer and religion were evaluated. The results show that since 1980, the number of Americans who never attend church, not even on holidays, has more than doubled to 26 percent. The number of Americans who claim they have no religion is now at 21 percent. And 15 percent say they never pray.
It is difficult to ascertain how many of these people are agnostics, that is people who believe that something supernatural is out there but they cannot comprehend it, and those who are atheists, who don't believe in God at all.
Nonetheless, what's curious is that Americans are losing their belief in God, but they're not losing their belief in Heaven. According to the study, 79 percent of Americans think they're going to Heaven. There appears to be some overlap in the numbers.
It's unclear what religion these atheists are following, but it's unlikely to be Christianity. In Christianity, with the exception of a few schools of thought, belief, or at least faith, is a prerequisite to salvation.
It's unknown what's driving these dramatic shifts, but much of it is coming from the millennials. The millennial generation faces a much more uncertain future than generations before. They were taught the same as previous generations, but are much more acutely aware of changes in our society. For example, college is much more expensive than it was for their parents, and the degrees don't bring as much return. The political system seems less responsive than ever to their plight. Homes are impossible to afford, and they are bombarded nightly with news of war and terrorism and things like job-snatching robots.
For the millennial generation, the world is not what they were told it would be. As a result of this incongruity, they are skeptical of everything they were told as children, and that includes attitudes towards God.
Expecting Heaven while eschewing God may be a strange notion to older Americans, but the world is strange to millennials, so it should come as no surprise they will see everything differently from the rest of us.
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