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EDITORIAL: Fighting a rising tide of ‘So what?’

‘So what?”
Increasingly, that’s the response of Americans to questions of spirituality and faith. Recent research points to a broad swath of “apatheists” — as one blogger called it — in the U.S.
• In a survey conducted by Baylor University, 44 percent of respondents said they spend no time seeking eternal wisdom, and 19 percent said “it’s useless to search for meaning.”
• Another study, by LifeWay Research, found that nearly half of those polled said they never wonder about whether or not they’ll go to heaven.
In a USA Today story, one of the “so whats” described his feelings on spirituality this way:
“I try to live my life and do the best I can. I figure if I do good, good things will happen. I’m not at all worried about the afterlife.”
Plenty of Christians and non-Christians alike would argue that there’s absolutely no evidence of good behavior begetting “good things” in this life. Suffering is universal. Repeatedly we see the innocent subjected to horrible trials for no apparent reason. Even atheists cry out for justice.
Though some say “so what?” to the question of heaven, the majority of Americans polled in the LifeWay survey said they wonder at least once a month about finding meaning in life. Two-thirds of them agreed that there is more to life than this physical world, and nearly three-fourths agreed that there is a plan and purpose for everyone.
That doesn’t sound like spiritual apathy to us.
Flip through the pages of The Christian Chronicle and you’ll find plenty of reasons to embrace the ideals of Christian service — whether or not you profess Christ as your savior. This issue features stories of church members committed to helping people marginalized by society in communities around the globe.
• On Page 1 we feature a minister who encourages the loved ones of those deported from this nation. He urges us to dwell on the Scriptures and ask, “What does God want us to do with the undocumented immigrants in our midst?”
• On Page 13 you’ll find news of a Christian who has dedicated his life to ending human trafficking in his native Thailand.
• Our Currents section features a ministry bringing real relief to drought-stricken East Africa, empowering people to grow their own crops and curb their reliance on foreign aid.
Christians must show the world that our Lord is the antidote to apathy. He intended for us to serve others, to practice the “pure and faultless” religion from James’ epistle — looking after orphans and widows in their distress and keeping ourselves from being polluted by the world.
We suspect that those professing spiritual apathy are more interested in everlasting truths than they let on. Deep down, they care about the world and their purpose in it. We must urge them to open their minds and consider both the issues that matter and the people involved.
We haven’t much time. A day is coming when all of us, whether we believe or not, will have to answer the question, “So what?”

  • Feedback
    I am convinced the problem is not with spirituality it is with congregations. Week after week after week of sit-and-listen assemblies does nothing for encouraging love and good works. They satisfy the preacher’s need for face-time.
    We no longer have gospel preachers we have keynote speakers for the assembly.
    People can live without that. There is a popular view that one can be christian without the church. We have to be because the church does little to promote Christ,
    John Jenkins
    great smoky mountains church of christ
    Gatlinburg, TN
    April, 14 2012

Filed under: Editorial Staff Reports

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