By Dr. Greg Davis
Americans are unmistakably religious. The Gallup Poll on religion has shown that 9 out of 10 Americans will answer the question, “Do you believe in God?” affirmatively.
It’s as if there is something in our blood that makes us believe in God. While many have predicted the downfall of religious belief in America, a downfall that has been widespread in Europe, it has not set in here.
Having lived through the secularization of society, the “Death of God,” and the collapse of the transcendent (which is an even fancier term for the “death of God”), we find Americans asking religious questions more than ever. What is the meaning of life? Why am I here? Where did I come from? Where am I going? How am I to live these years upon the earth? Why must I die? How do I find some measure of health, happiness, and wholeness? How can I find God?
The reason we are asking religious questions is that many of us have at one time or another turned our lives over to one of the current philosophies – consumption, corporate success, self-help fads. Or we bought into awards, recognition, honors, monetary success. Eventually some of us find ourselves a little older, a little grayer, and not nearly as wise of fulfilled as we’d wished.
Hence a kind of vague memory of summer camp by the lake with songs and food and friends – a moment in our lives when we were totally in love with life and humanity. Hence a kind of vague recollection that the truly exciting times were doing things for the next door neighbor and scheming to get an extra thousand dollars by taking them to court.
Strange that the major myth in the West is the poor man who makes a killing and becomes rich, while the major myth of the East is the rich man who gives away everything to become poor.
Somewhere in the middle the human soul is asking the question, “What is this all about?” and realizing finding the answer to that question is almost impossible without uttering the word…God.
And so in the middle of it all there is a religious revival going on around the globe: in South America, Korea, and Africa, Christianity continues strong growth.
Even on 3715 Youree Drive, with air-conditioners that work according to their own schedule and mysterious plumbing, even in this place, there seems to be a spirit blowing through our lives. No need to mention names. Just look around and notice the person next to you. Notice their eyes. Notice their smile. Notice their handshake. Notice their life.
In this angry, crazy, dog-eat-dog world, year in and year out, decade in and decade out, Americans are hopelessly religious. I wonder why.