I read an article in USA Today that talked about the rise of the ‘So Whats.’ What’s that? It’s people who do not claim to be a people of faith or staunch atheists; instead, they are a growing group who say, “So what?”
As one person interviewed said, “(Growing up) I was saturated with both views (Hindu mother and atheist father), and after a while, I realized I don’t need either perspective. There may be unanswerable questions that could be cool or fascinating. Speculating on them is a fun parlor game, but they don’t shed any meaning on my life.”
What are the statistics? The American Religious Identification Survey found a trend in the past 20 years that indicated a rise in “The Nones,” people who checked “no religious identity.” In 1990, 8% checked that box. In 2008, it was up to 15%.
Now according to a 2011 Baylor University Religion Survey, 44% of people surveyed said they spend no time seeking ‘eternal wisdom’ and 19% said, “It’s useless to search for meaning.”
According to a 2011 LifeWay Research survey, 46% said they never wonder whether they will go to heaven and 28% said that, “It’s not a major priority in my life to find my deeper purpose.”
The article goes on to say that the growing trend is apathy among people towards matters of faith.
“In a culture that celebrates that all truths are equally valid, personal experience and personal authority matter most. Hence, Scripture and tradition are quaint, irrelevant artifacts. Instead of followers of Jesus, they’re followers of 5,000 unseen “friends” on Facebook or Twitter.”
The result is that most young adults interviewed claim that they don’t see much influence of God or religion in their lives at all.
I suppose I should be worried as a church planter…Look what I’m up against. As Christians, I guess we should be terrified of the growing secularization of society.
But after reading this article, I go off to one of my children’s events and end up having a 45 minute spiritual conversation with another parent that I didn’t initiate.
How did that happen?
I’m not really sure, but perhaps it could have something to do with building authentic relationships with the un-churched, the de-churched, and the people who have questions. Or perhaps it’s that they have seen something in our family and how our faith makes a difference in our everyday lives that makes them want to know more. Or perhaps they are experiencing something in their family that has left them searching.
I guess I could wring my hands in worry about these troubling trends or hunker down with my fellow Christians while watching the rest of the world “go to hell.” But I’d much rather live life engaging as any people I can and helping them move from “So what?” to “So what do I need to do next?”