Faith Surge after 911 Did Not Last Dr. Michael L. Ford 30 August 2006 The Barna Group recently reported a study made by them showing despite an intense surge in religious activity and expression in weeks following 9/11 the faith of Americans is virtually no different today compared to pre-attack conditions. After the attack over half of Americans declared their faith helped them get through the trying times. Some churches experienced more than double their normal crowd on the Sunday after the Twin Towers were brought down. But by the time January 2002 rolled around, churchgoing was back to pre-attack levels, proving how very shallow most religious commitment is. Things like Bible reading and prayer went by the wayside even more quickly. One of the things that interested me after the attack were numerous reports of faith conversions. Supposedly right after the attack Muslims picked up a number of converts with the killing of unsuspecting people. But Barna now says “Adherents to Islam account for just one-half of 1% of the U.S. adult population. Osama bin Laden’s objective of using the attacks to spur conversion to Islam has not been realized.” So the percentages did not change even though some fearful sought to save themselves through conversion. In spite of the weak faith the statistics show a lot of people are still fearful. Nearly two-thirds of Americans (63%) described themselves as “concerned about terrorist attacks.” Increases in evangelicals and concern for the moral condition of the nation does not grow out of those fears however. There is a trend for some people to grow more spiritually aware as they age, and America has an aging population. It seems from my own look at the situation is that fear levels among people have a lot to do with both vulnerability (women over 40) and with those with much to lose. Some people blame churches and pastors for failing to meet the issues at the time of 9/11. But the real problem is that most people want to use God as a “band aid” for their concerns, and have Him stay out of their business the rest of the time. But “God is either God of all, or not at all.” The shallowness of hypocritic unbelief leaves people as unsecure in spirit as outright atheism.
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