If You Want America To Come Back To Life, Get Yourself And Your Friends Back To Church

If You Want America To Come Back To Life, Get Yourself And Your Friends Back To Church BY: TIM GOEGLEIN for The Federalist

Several years ago Dan Edmunds, a diplomate of the American Psychotherapy Association, said, “One of the most destructive problems is the breakdown of community, and it is this breakdown that has often led to the breakdown of persons. Though we may put many around us, we are alone.”

For decades, a major source of community for many Americans was their local house of worship. While those attending may have had varying degrees of commitment to living out their faith, they would gather to enjoy fellowship with each other as they passed through the stages of life — from childhood all the way to life’s eventual end.

Unfortunately, fewer Americans are enjoying that community these days, and we are worse off for it as a nation. While there may be a lot of people coming in and out of our lives, fewer have the deep, abiding ties that are developed within a religious body. As a result, Americans are more alone than ever.

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Shunning Services

A few weeks ago, a new Marist poll found that while 54 percent of Americans still believe in the “God of the Bible,” they increasingly shun religious services — and the numbers are even worse for younger generations.

This is the result of the trickle-down as religious attendance declined with each passing generation. As Daniel Cox, director of the Survey Center on American Life, writes, “The parents of millennials and Generation Z did less to encourage regular participation in formal worship services and model religious behaviors in their children than had previous generations.”

As it has been said, values are caught and not taught, and millennials and Generation Zers are seeing the lack of commitment from those older than them and are following their example. As a result, the rising generation is feeling increasingly isolated.

While a slim majority still say they believe in the God of the Bible, their lack of connection with a local religious body has profound consequences not only for themselves but also for our society as a whole.

Compared to those who either infrequently attend religious services or do not attend at all, regular attenders are more actively involved in their communities and have stronger social ties with others. Is it any wonder that the unraveling of civility and our social fabric started to occur when attending weekly services became a kind of cafeteria option rather than a priority?

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