The Barna Research Group recently reported on the "Six Reasons Young Christians Leave Church." Reason number three, according to the report, is that "churches come across antagonistic toward science." The findings of the report were noted in a new book by David Kinnamen entitled, "You Lost Me: Why Young Christians are Leaving the Church...and Rethinking Faith."
We will likely see more books and studies in the months to come because, for all practical purposes, the church is dying. There is no question about this, except among those who refuse to see the truth of what's happening in churches all across American.
In my last post, I wrote about the decline of the church. So there is no reason to repeat the reasons for it. If you have not read the post, then of course I hope you will. There are many, many reasons for the decline, and I would hardly know enough to diagnose all the reasons. What I do know I see almost daily across this country. As a coach and consultant to executives, leaders and other religious leaders across the spectrum of the Christian community -- Evangelical, Protestant and Catholic notwithstanding -- I have witnessed firsthand this steady decline everywhere.
The few Catholic churches that are growing are finding most of their growth is coming from within the Hispanic and Spanish-speaking communities, as they are outpacing all other groups of growing populations within the U.S. Most Hispanics are Catholic, too. Virtually all Protestant churches are in decline and annually hundreds of them are closing down. Most Evangelical churches are just holding their own and the few that are growing are drawing most of their newer members from among the disgruntled, disappointed and often disenfranchised Protestants.
Again, the reasons for the widespread abandonment of the Christian church are varied. But none more important than this on-going madness within the church that Scripture is in conflict with science. Unthinking religious leaders have made it out to be an either/or prospect. You must either accept that Scripture is as much a science book as it is a spiritual book or the entirety of the Bible's reliability as a spiritual guide is in question.
This is poppycock. There is no word strong enough to highlight the insanity of this thinking. I love the sacred Scriptures. They are a "light unto my path." But, no, I do not accept that the Bible is a book of science. It is a spiritual book for those interested in spiritual things. You do not have to deny your mind or force the Bible to be something it is not. I've written extensively about the point and purpose of spirituality and how to read the scriptures within the context of the modern human experience in "The Enoch Factor: The Sacred Art of Knowing God."
So, if this is the kind of nonsense your church is promoting and you're thinking you have to deny your mind in order to believe, you have my permission to leave that place of incarceration. It is a prison Jesus came to free you from, as much as he sought to free those bound by a religion system gone mad in his day. As much as I love the church and have devoted my life to its service, I assure you the church is neither infallible nor is it even necessary to the nurture and care of your soul. The rabbis' were right when they said, "God has but one sanctuary ... the human heart." Jesus himself said, "The Kingdom is within you" (Luke 17:32).
Church leaders and ministers must know it is this kind of madness -- the war it wages with science -- that is driving thinking young people (and adults) away from the church. If these religious leaders do not know this or refuse to admit it, they should know that they are themselves the "blind guides" and the "wolves in sheep's clothing" about whom the spiritual master once warned us to avoid. They make the Scriptures into some kind of god, instead of a spiritual guide to God it was meant to be. They have made the Bible into a problem instead of map to guide the pathways of those in search of the Sacred.
I, for one, truly believe, unless this sort of insanity ends, and very soon, the church will gradually disappear. And, no, the disappearance won't be consequence of the Rapture. Irrelevancy and insanity will be instead.