Why is faith in God a decreasing reality in the modern world? How can we show forth the goodness of God and the blessings of faith?
According to a news report, only about 70 percent of polled Americans claim faith in God. That’s a decrease of about 10 percent in about a decade.
I’m skeptical enough to ask, “But do the people who claim to believe, actually believe in God or simply believe that there is a God?”
The Disease of Distancing
Among us older folks, we sometimes complain about the generations coming after us: They live too fast; they always have their nose stuck in their I-Pads or smart phones; they show little interest in our Catholic faith or our history as a nation. They too often show little or no interest in family history.
However, I do sense a certain tendency to treasure distance between persons. Just think about the last time you were in an elevator or doctor’s office with four of five strangers.
And, of course, “us older folks” often complain about how the world has become so violent and volatile.
Well, complaining isn’t enough.
Perhaps, for the sake of solutions rather than complaints, we might (1) take a new look at the younger generation; we might discover some good traits we’ve been missing, and (2) seek the reason why people of all ages no longer believe in God.
Please consider the following and feel free to share your own thoughts.
- Perhaps a number of people in church on Sunday have little or no sense of being part of the People of God—a people whose life flows from and in the love and presence of God. They may not experience the Scriptures as God speaking to them “right now.” They may view the liturgy as locked in time rather than an experience that transcends time—letting all of us live, here and now, the saving grace of the Crucified Lord.
- Some people, maybe many, attend Mass and formation classes to find the strength to live their lives in a world filled with fear, violence, family divisions and personal economic crisis. They want to be good and faithful people right where they are—in what some have called “the real world.” They may not realize that the Church and the Gospel of Christ are in that “real world.”
- Do people in church feel welcome and do they have a sense of belonging? I know a number of parishes which strive to welcome people—regulars and newcomers—with genuine love and hospitality.
- In some parishes, music is geared for each of the weekend Masses for folks who generally attend their “favorite” Mass.
- And some parishes offer coffee and donuts after each weekend Mass to help strengthen community. Parishioners at the various Masses are considered special sub-communities of the overall parish community.
- Some parishes have a concierge after all Masses to help people find what they need to know to become a member of the parish family.
It Takes Work
Healing broken hearts and spirits demands deep faith and innovative outreach.
Complaining and posturing as wounded and hopeless believers will never attract unbelievers or those who do not know God intimately.
A sourpuss gets nowhere fast.
People need to see joy in our lives.