In part one, we sought to better understand the rise of the religiously unaffiliated with PRRI’s Research Director Dr. Dan Cox. This is a trend we cannot ignore as now fully one-fourth of the American population identify as religious nones. Find part one here.
Our aim is not just the acquisition of better facts, but better understanding to inform action. So, we also spoke with Jana Harmon, a teaching fellow with the CS Lewis Institute about what it looks like to reach out to those who are within the nones. Jana is currently researching the compelling topic of Religious Conversion of Atheists to Christianity.
From a Christian worldview perspective, what do we need to understand about the growth of “the nones” in America?
Jana: “A lot of atheism right now is informed by the culture. It is the water in which we swim. In many cases, many [atheists] said they lacked exposure to any real form of Christian belief.
“One person said it had been two generations removed from him, as far as any exposure to Christianity. When he thought of Christianity, he thought of Ned Flanders from The Simpsons. The goody two shoes that everyone loves to hate. The religious one who was backwards and intolerant and uneducated, unsophisticated. There is a real lack of attraction to the Christian worldview as well as just believing it is simply not true.”
Jana shared the story of man who harbored anger against God after a tragic childhood. He spent years building logical arguments against God. Then, his wife became a Christian.
This man had to pick up his wife from the home of the couple who had led his wife to Christ. Jana shared how God used this relationship:
“He walked in ready to fight. But that’s not what he received. He received undaunting hospitality. He was invited just to talk. They didn’t talk about God, they let him talk. He had never felt so valued, that he came back again and again, for about six months.
Listen to the show …