I read an article today that says that a third of American youth do not identify with religion.

Now, more than one-third of those ages 18 to 22 are religiously unaffiliated…The “Nones,” as they are called, now make up the nation’s second-largest religious grouping. The largest single faith group is Catholics, who make up about 22 percent of the population. 

Now there is good news.  Two thirds of the “nones” still believe in God in some way shape or form, and a fifth pray every day according to this article. Only 12 percent are pure atheists.

At the same time, I’m struggling with the question of how many of these actually have a relationship with God and really have any understanding of who He is?  How many of these, when confronted with trials, or have their faith challenged will either ignore it or fall apart?

How many have a support system that is dedicated to their success for no other reason than that they are beloved?  (if you disagree with my definition of the body of Christ here, feel free to disagree somewhere OTHER than the comments section J )

Now the report has all kinds of theories behind why this trend has suddenly shifted into high gear but it ignores the really obvious one: the Church has stopped loving.

If you need proof, ask someone who isn’t a Christian, what Christians stand for and they will likely say “homophobia” “anti-abortion” or “de-centralized government”.  And to be honest I’m not sure why Christians who believe that Christ will come and establish a monarchy over the entire earth would be against centralized government but that’s me.

The point is most people who don’t know Christ and a lot of those who do have forgotten that Jesus is the center of our faith.  Not politics, not abortion not morality and not even social justice.  This same article says that young people may not attend worship but they’re there for the mission projects and soup kitchens and Habitat for Humanity and that’s great.  Really, I think that’s great.

But the Knights of Columbus build houses and serve in soup kitchens.  USAID is one giant secular mission project that started after World War II (That’s about sixty five years’ worth of social justice mission projects in case you weren’t sure).  If you listen to the news or watch TV during an election year you have seen more ads from more political organizations than there are Christian denominations and few if any of them have any religious affiliation (and I highly suspect any that claim as much).

What sets apart the Christian is our love.   Our love for Jesus, the love we have for one another, and the love we have for everyone else.  Take out the love, lose it and get focused on this other stuff, and is it any wonder people leave the church?