Sunday, February 6, 2011
Starbucks offers over 87,000 drink combinations. And many people today approach spirituality much like ordering a drink.
Design-your-own spirituality is “in”. A recent Newsweek poll found that 91 percent of American adults claim a belief in “God” of some sort.
However, research by GALLUP reveals a growing disinterest in organized religion. Only about half of Americans view religion as being “very important,” while nearly three-fourths of our nation sees religion as a waning influence in American culture. In fact, 3 out of 10 Americans view religion as “old-fashioned and out of date.”
“Is God real?” Americans are asking. But more directly, many people wonder, “Why does it even matter?” As Christian counselors, it is important that we are aware of our clients’ views of spirituality. In today's world, many Americans are asking, “What’s the point of religion anyway?” With only 4 out of 10 Americans regularly attending a church or synagogue, it seems that America is tired of religion.
Many psychologists resign religion to the museum of cultural history, arguing that in today’s technologically advanced age, the idea of a supreme other-worldly Being is irrelevant. But for all the advances of science, the immaterial still intrigues many people. Despite losing faith in the church, the majority of Americans still believe in a higher Being.
What do all these statistics mean? It seems that people want to believe in God, but can’t find sufficient answers in the church. The average American today isn’t interested in organized religion per say, but is likely open to talking about his or her personal faith.
As Christian counselors, the trend of spirituality may open doors for conversation about the God we know and follow. We may have the opportunity to walk with our clients on their spiritual journeys toward the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
However, vague conceptualizations of "faith" can also be problematic.
Who is “God” in today’s world? Frankly, whoever you want him...or her...to be. Many people are very comfortable talking about faith, and may voice their spiritual questions in counseling. However,when our clients bring up spirituality, we must not assume that we are necessarily speaking about the same "God."