LeadingSmart

Practical Stuff for Church Leaders

Religion Has Become an Ugly Thing

I just read an article (forwarded to me from Philip Shoffner) about a new study by the researchers at Trinity College of Hartford, Conn. The poll of over 54,000 American adults found the number of people who call themselves Christian is down 10 percentage points since 1990.

The article by Leonard Pitts of the Miami Herald was fascinating. You should read it in whole. Here is an excerpt…

Religion has become an ugly thing.

People of faith usually respond to that ugliness -- by which I mean a seemingly endless cycle of scandal, controversy, hypocrisy, violence and TV preachers saying idiot things -- in one of two ways. Either they defend it (making them part of the problem), or they regard it as a series of isolated, albeit unfortunate, episodes. But irreligious people do neither.

And people of faith should ask themselves: What is the cumulative effect upon outside observers of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker living like lords on the largess of the poor, multiplied by Jimmy Swaggart's pornography addiction, plus Eric Rudolph bombing Olympians and gays in the name of God, plus Muslims hijacking airplanes in the name of God, multiplied by the church that kicked out some members because they voted Democrat, divided by people caterwauling on courthouse steps as a rock bearing the Ten Commandments was removed, multiplied by the square root of Catholic priests preying on little boys while the church looked on and did nothing, multiplied by Muslims rioting over cartoons, plus the ongoing demonization of gay men and lesbians, divided by all those ''traditional values'' coalitions and ''family values'' councils that try to bully public schools into becoming worship houses, with morning prayers and science lessons from the book of Genesis? Then subtract selflessness, service, sacrifice, holiness and hope.

Do the math, and I bet you'll draw the same conclusion the researchers did.

Where does the author have it right?