Fighting a rising tide of ‘So what?’
‘Increasingly, that’s the response of Americans to questions of spirituality and faith. Recent research points to a broad swath of “apatheists” in the U.S.
In a Baylor University survey, 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.
Stories of Christians committed to helping people marginalized by society in communities around the globe encourage us:
• Bobby Lawson, minister for the Park Forest Church of Christ in Matteson, Ill., prays with the loved ones of undocumented immigrants deported from the United States.
• Tawee Donchai, a member of Cheung Doi Church of Christ in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and a scientist researching HIV, has dedicated his life to ending human trafficking in his native Thailand.
• In drought-stricken East Africa, Healing Hands International, a minister associated with Churches of Christ, empowers people to grow their own crops and curb their reliance on foreign aid.
Do you know of examples of Christians replacing apathy with action?