How do you rate your religiosity? Are you nonreligious, moderately religious, or very religious?
This is a question the folks over at Gallup recently asked. They polled people in all 50 states and found that people in Mississippi are the most religious. Almost 60% of Mississippians say they are “very religious.” Vermont came in last with only 23% of its population declaring the same.
The study goes on to say that across the United States only 40% of Americans, less than a majority, say that religion is an important part of their daily life.
32% of Americans say they are nonreligious, declaring that religion is not an important part of their daily life and they seldom or never attend religious services.
The rest of Americans, 28%, say they are moderately religious. This group thinks that religion is important, but don’t attend services, or religion is not important but they still attend services. Kind of makes your head spin, I know.
What I’d really like to focus on is this moderately religious group. What does this mean? In my book you are either religious or you aren’t. Why the distinction between moderately religious and very religious? Isn’t this a lot like being pregnant? You are or you aren’t. You can’t be moderately pregnant or very pregnant (unless you are basing this on the size of the pregnant lady :0).
So, in our so-called “Christian Nation” less than half of the population thinks God is important in their everyday lives. Our great country now has an Immoral Majority. Now, you might be saying, “Calm down, the study said religion, not God.” What’s the difference?
In this study Gallup equates religion with attending church services. People may say, “Oh, I’m a Christian and I believe in God, I just don’t go to church. I’m just not very religious. But, I am very spiritually minded.”
These same people show in the way they live their lives, that God is not important to them. It has nothing to do with religion, spirituality, or attending services. These things are simply not a priority. They spend no time with Him or working for Him. Materialism, pleasure, and “fitting in” are what’s most pressing.
What do they think moderately religious means? Isn’t it really all or nothing? Doesn’t God expect a full, hot-blooded commitment?
Is your family very important or moderately important? Is your job very important or moderately important? If they are very important you show it by giving these things the time and dedication necessary. If they are moderately important you often end up fired and divorced. When it comes to religion, serving God, those that feel it’s moderately important have fired God and divorced themselves from His cause.
What is moderate anyway? Moderate is non-committal. It’s lukewarm. It’s being unable to give all of yourself. We see this in politics. People say they are moderates, sitting on the fence, so they don’t have to devote themselves. They can’t be counted on by Republicans or Democrats. They drift with the wind and land in the most pleasant place, that is, until somewhere better comes along.
I really shouldn’t be so surprised at this. We have made religion, God, a convenience. As long as He’s there when we need Him, we are okay. It’s like our physical father. We want to be able to count on him when we get into trouble. We never call or visit, but he’s the first person we talk to when we need something. Does this resemble your prayer life?
God isn’t our sugar daddy. He isn’t around to serve our whimsical delights. He’s not waiting by the phone for something important to come up. He is our Creator. The designer of the vast universe. He has rescued us from our reprehensible state. We should be very religious, committed to God, not because of what He will do, but because of what He has done, because of who He is.
This is so important because the 28% of Americans that say they are moderately religious are the “swing vote” on so many issues. These moderates often decide the direction our country will take on a moral argument. Generally, their moderation, apathy, results in the country continuing down an immoral path. This is because they are not committed to God. Their moderately religious state, in reality, is the same as the nonreligious. The things of this life are more important and appealing than things of God.
We should be very religious, because our hope in not in this life, but in the next. “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” So, get off the fence if you are a religious moderate and commit yourself fully to God!
On a side-note, several studies by Gallup have concluded that very religious people have a higher well-being, boast better moods, lead healthier lives, and report less depression and worry. A coincidence? I don’t think so.