In a 2001 Census in Britian over 70% of those completing the form marked the box “Christian.” In the United States I would bet the percentage would be even higher. But when you looked further, you have to wonder what “Christian” meant to those completing the form.
- 65% of ‘census Christians’ said they were not religious
- Only 6% of ‘census Christians’ had attended a church in the last week
- Only 48% of ‘census Christians’ believed Jesus was a real person who was the son of god, died and came back to life.
- Only 30% of ‘census Christians’ say they have strong religious beliefs
- 60% of ‘census Christians’ have not read the Bible from choice in the last year
- Only 10% of ‘census Christians’ say they seek most guidance on questions of right and wrong from religious teachings or beliefs, with over 50% preferring to draw upon their own inner moral sense
- Only 28% of ‘census Christians’ say that it is a belief in the teachings of Christianity which makes them tick the Christian box, with over 72% saying it is because they were christened and 38% because it was their parents’ religion.
I hope I’m not a judgmental person. But in my humble opinion most of that 70% who checked the “Christian” box are not what I would call “Christian.” Maybe we need a new word. When we are concerned about the spiritual state of friends or relatives, it isn’t much consolation to hear them proclaim that they are “Christians.” When we hear that we live in a “Christian” nation, that’s nice but it really doesn’t mean that most of us are followers of Jesus.
I hate to give up the label “Christian.” But since it no longer has the meaning I would like, I need to use something else. A few days ago I suggested “Follower of Christ.” I think I’m going to change that to “Follower of Jesus.” Jesus is more personal than Christ. I realize that calling myself that holds me to a much higher standard. It means that every step that I take needs to be in the footsteps of Jesus. I need to only walk where He would walk. It means my eyes need to be ever on Him. “Nick’s Walk” takes on a much deeper significance if I claim to be a Follower of Jesus.
What are you following? Jesus. A charasmatic leader. A church. A denomination. A belief system. Something else entirely.
This is Mardi Gras weekend. Where will your feet be walking? It may tell you who you’re following.