The year-long pandemic has caused the world to make a lot of changes. Not all have been bad, but not all have been good. In religion, it appears there have been a lot of changes in beliefs and attitudes. While we are more comfortable with picking up where we left off in daily routines, religion is seeing a serious lag in attendance and general interest.

I’m not sure what the reasons are behind this decline in religious interest. I do know that studies prior to the pandemic revealed a general decline in religion, especially Christianity. A recent study showed that, for the first time since religious polls began, less than 50% of Americans claim membership in a church, synagogue or a mosque. The numbers are disappointing, but Gallup Polls have been measuring a steady decline since 1965. The decline has become increasingly dramatic since the beginning of the 21st Century.

Some people don’t like traditional church beliefs or worship services. Some want more hype in their faith. Some are looking for a deeper spirituality, but are not sure just what spirituality is beyond feeling good about things. Some are turning to mysticism. Some are just giving up in the belief that a good and merciful God will just understand. An article on “evangelicals” described those whose priority is love without a commitment to definite biblical beliefs regarding faith, salvation, acceptable worship, (biblically defined) good works, etc. In other words, “Let me do what I think God wants and don’t tell me I’m wrong about anything.”

The idea is not new, just more widespread. There was a time when we were interested in Bible teaching. Sadly, evangelicalism (you can believe anything you want as long as you believe Jesus is the Son of God) has been the undoing of America’s faith. Evangelicalism was intended to be a unifying factor in a world of religious division. Perhaps, without intending to do so, it exalted personal beliefs and interpretations above in-depth Bible study.

What about the church? If love for our fellowman is all that is required of us, there is no need for the church! For that matter, there is no need for worship or faith or…for the Bible! It makes me wonder…the church and the salvation of lost souls cost Jesus his life. But, I guess that isn’t really important. Love for God and His will has been replaced by love for mankind. Too bad Jesus didn’t know about that. He could have saved us having to read Matthew 22:37.


Gary Knuckles is minster of the Briensburg Church of Christ in Briensburg, KY.