The Dominant American Religion

January 9, 2006

Quiz time: What is the dominant religion in America? Bzzzt, wrong! This list comes from Radical Congruency:

  1. "A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth."
  2. "God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions."
  3. "The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself."
  4. "God does not need to be particularly involved in one's life except when God is needed to resolve a problem."
  5. "Good people go to heaven when they die."

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What would you call this religion? Call it what you will (the researchers call it Moralistic Therapeutic Deism), this is the dominant American civil religion, and it is not what following Jesus is about. Like any religion, it's not a pack of lies, but a collection of half-truths. Sadly, many people think adding "Jesus" to the mix makes this list "Christianity".

An old song I grew up singing suddenly comes to mind:

Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me
Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me
Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me
Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me

(Written in 1926 by Daniel Iverson. Apologies to whoever holds the copyright.) This simple song brings me closer to missio dei, the mission of God.
++ Use me ++

Jon Reid

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As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.

4 responses to The Dominant American Religion

  1. That’s funny, I could have swore the dominant american religion was materialism. everywhere you look you can hardly miss the worship of the almighty dollar.

  2. The two are closely related. It’s all about me me me me.

  3. Personal peace and affluence. My own plastic Jesus, man!!

  4. Aslan is not a tame lion