Losing faith is heart-breaking. Relationships rely on faith. When trust dissolves, relationship does too. That leaves us feeling isolated, and it’s hard to trust again.
That’s just as true of our relationship with God. Aussies are facing a crisis of faith. Most of us no longer identify as Christian. Many say they have “no faith.”
Crisis might not be the right word. This is no sudden disaster, like a bushfire or a flood. It’s more like a climate change: rising sea-levels of unbelief gradually eroding our faith. Europe experienced this last century. America has yet to feel the full impact.
Perhaps we don’t lose faith, so much as misplace it. “Believe it enough, and all your dreams will come true,” Disney sings. And then we grow up to discover that I am not the centre of the universe, and it wasn’t designed to fulfil my dreams. Disillusioned I feel when my illusions evaporate.
Only a minority of Australians now identify as Christians. How does the church respond?
Australian Bureau of Statistics figures for the 2021 census arrived this week. For the first time Christians are less than half the population: just 44%. No, people haven’t switched to other faiths: 39% identify as “no religion.”
What are Aussies saying to the church? I’m hearing values such as these:
How do you decide what you believe? Is it a gut feeling, what sits right with you or a witness of the Spirit? Do you trust your friends, believing as they do? Do you follow a tradition developed over 2000 years? Or do you need to prove it from the Bible as the only inspired revelation?
The way you determine truth reveals a great deal about you and the kind of church you’re likely to belong to. Christians divide over the basis of truth when we consider our way the only way.
Truth is more than I perceive, stretching beyond the horizon I see.
So here’s how I answered this question in another forum this week.
She’s one of the most creative singer/songwriters of our time. Her mystic is the strangeness that never belongs to any genre, a feeling that things are never quite as they seem.
She’s chilled, with lyrics that can be chilling.
She’s a warm soprano, with the highs filtered out.
She’s the mellow whisper that draws us into her trance.
Complementing her voice are filtered electronic rhythms, smooth bass, edgy guitars and percussion, blended by the master-chef Finneas — the less conspicuous member of the duo. She may be a soloist, but it can take a symphony orchestra to create that sound.
That’s all part of the enigma that attracts us to her music. When things don’t quite match, we’re drawn to explore further.
If God isn’t visible to our physical senses, so how do we see him?
Where do you look to find God?
This podcast (34 minutes) suggests the answer is relational — in the relationships that exist between Jesus, the Father, the Holy Spirit, the people who recognize Jesus’ authority, and the world that doesn’t.
The world has changed. In just ten generations, we’ve moved from not even knowing many places existed to using a GPS with Google Street view. We’ve moved from hand-copied books to the Internet, from camels to Qantas, from saddles to satellites, from superstition to science.
Where does God fit in a world explained by cause and effect? Christians have failed to provide clear, consistent answers to this crucial question: