About three-quarters of Americans identify with a Christian faith.
80% of Americans Believe in God.
Though these numbers have fluctuated over the years, it can still be said that the majority of Americans do indeed identify with Christianity. Naturally, people who call themselves Christians will have varying degrees of actual practice of their beliefs. They don’t all fall in the same denomination, some do not attend church services regularly, etc. But by and large, more Americans claim the Christian faith than all other religions combined. – For now.
So when President Obama declared in a speech that the United States was “no longer a Christian nation,” what did he mean by that? Likely, he was trying to appeal to the growing numbers of Muslims and make them feel more included. Or perhaps it was merely an effort to make any other religious group feel more at home in what has traditionally been known as a Christian nation. Whatever his intent, the numbers do not back up his claim. – Yet.
Despite any changes in the demographics, the fact remains that the United States was founded upon biblical principles. The Christian influence of the majority of our forefathers is clearly seen in the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and Constitution, as well as the founding documents of the original colonies. The desire to be able to freely worship God was one of the biggest reasons the colonial settlers came to the New World to begin with. It’s largely why they decided to stand up to the tyranny of Great Britain’s King George. And this Christian influence has permeated throughout our country’s history. – So far.
As for the apparent decline in Christian influence more recently, this is greatly due to the opposing carnal nature being allowed to thrive in our society. Sexual perversion is glorified and promoted in film and television. The horrific act of abortion is presented as a woman’s “right to choose” and lauded as “healthcare.” Christianity is portrayed in the entertainment industry as backward thinking, non-scientific, and even racist. It’s no wonder people are developing such a bad idea of those of us they laughingly refer to as “Bible-thumpers.”
But this negative attitude toward the church is not all because of outside misrepresentations. Indeed, some of it is our own fault. Too many “churches” no longer teach about the concept of sin or our need for a Savior. Afraid to offend people by preaching against sin, we are failing to offer an alternative to sinful lifestyles. And we haven’t been willing to speak up and correct those misconceptions about Christianity. If the world keeps seeing us as hypocrites because we don’t live out what we claim to believe, it’s surely our fault.
How often do we take the time to explain that we are not perfect and don’t instantly expect perfection of anyone else? We must be clear that we are not better than anyone, but we do serve a Lord who forgives. Our salvation is not due to anything we do, but instead is a gift afforded to us because of what Jesus did. We are all on equal footing, and Christ came to save the world rather than condemn it. Yet when we appear to condemn others for their sins while struggling with our own, we perpetuate the stereotype of those “holier-than-thou” Christians that no one will ever care to listen to.
So, let’s be real. Is America a Christian nation? Perhaps statistical data still supports that assertion, but are we who claim to be Christians living like it? Because if we do not behave as Christ did, if we do not accurately represent the Christian faith to those around us, and if we aren’t willing to be humble and do the work of God to show His love to all, then we risk losing our country to those who are willing to do who-knows-what to make America something very different from a Christian nation.