Culture At Large

Killing the "Christian" Label

Brian

I just noticed that The Christian Paradox, an article from Harper's Magazine, was one of the top links on del.icio.us today. Since del.icio.us is the last place I would have expected to see a link like this show up, I looked it up in technorati.com. So far 37 people at referenced it.

Most bloggers were latching on to this key sentence, which summarizes the paradox:

America is simultaneously the most professedly Christian of the developed nations and the least Christian in its behavior.

What I found interesting about the blogosphere commentary was how ho-hum it all was. Most of the Christian bloggers thought it was "nothing new." The self-identifying non-Christians found it unsurprising, and re-affirmed their own personal experiences. Nobody found the article alarming, nobody was questioning its conclusions. Everyone just sort of agreed that the majority of North American "Christians" really aren't Christians at all.

While the article -- and the apathy-- is nothing new, it does make me wonder if we'll ever see the word "Christian" means something again. There have been various movements over the years by "born-again" Christians to rename themselves. But they've never really taken off: their new names fade away and we're left with "Christian."

This leads me to believe Christians are not going to be the ones to reposition Christianity: it's going to be the non-Christians. It's going to happen when the majority of people look at Christianity and say "that's not me. I'm not a Christian." It's at that point that the word "Christian" will mean something again.

This line of thinking scares me a bit. On one hand, I pray that a true desire for God would overtake America, and that "One Nation Under God" would be more than just bunch of out-dated words. On the other hand, until that true desire does return, I wonder if we shouldn't be praying for the end of the "Christian" label, even if this means Christians become the minority.

What do you think?

Topics: Culture At Large, News & Politics, Social Trends