Only the willfully blind fail to observe the obvious spiritual decline that is permeating these United States of America. The positive indicators, the hard facts, the statistical analyses all point to the reality that increasing numbers of Americans are utterly unconcerned about spiritual matters.
In a generation, from 1974 through 2014, those who never pray has risen from near zero to 15%; those claiming no religion has increased from 6% to 21%, and those who never attend religious services has shot up from 11% to 26%.
And, as an ominous sign portending the future, younger generations are markedly less religious than their elders. If not anti-religious, many are at least oblivious to such truth and utterly disinterested.
Observers have concluded that millennials (b. 1981—2000) are the least religious in memory and perhaps in all of American history. Those that follow, variously referred to as iGen or Gen Z, appear to be even more secular. Compared to youth of the same age a generation earlier, participation in religious services has declined by 50% and personal involvement in spiritual activities has fallen five-fold.
If the present practices of these young people serve as a harbinger of the future, there is no sign of change in the pattern of plummeting spiritual interest across our land.
A recent book, Esau Rising: Ancient Adversaries and the War for America’s Soul, documents that many in American society are driven by the same self-interest, the same disregard for spiritual values, and the same preoccupation with fleshly, temporal concerns as was ancient Esau. They are literally selling their souls for passing pleasures, fads, and a preoccupation with social media – the moral equivalent of Esau’s bowl of stew.
We who know Christ are charged with discipling future generations and instilling in them eternal values and biblical convictions that will drive them to follow the Lord and not the latest trends on Twitter. Let us pray for discernment, wisdom and divine grace that will enable us to prevail in the battle for the souls of our youth.