S. Michael Craven at the Center for Christ & Culture has an interesting article in which he asks if Christians are contributing to unbelief. While 89% of Americans claim to believe in God and 11% claim to be atheist or agnostic (numbers that have stayed the same for many years), there has been a lot of popularity of recent books written by prominent atheists such as Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris -- several even landing on the New York Times best-seller list. If we are a country that believes in God, why is there such an interest in books that are so anti-god? Craven looks at one possibility: a backlash against the mingling of religion and politics.
Craven notes the following, "J. David Kuo, who served in the Bush White House for two-and-a-half years as a Special Assistant to the president and eventually as Deputy Director of the Faith-Based Initiative, offers one possible suggestion... According to Kuo, a self-professed conservative Christian, growing interest in questions about God’s existence may be the result of a “backlash against the mingling of religion, politics and public policy,” and this idea that “Jesus was about a particular conservative political agenda.” In essence, he means that the actions of some Christians may be encouraging the spiritual seeker to further doubt the existence of Jehovah God."
He goes on to say, "This growing interest in “questioning the existence of God” seems to parallel the decline in church attendance or more precisely, those leaving the institutional church. According to Reggie McNeal, author of The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church, “They are not leaving because they have lost their faith. They are leaving the church to preserve their faith.” McNeal adds, “They contend that the church no longer contributes to their spiritual development.” This would certainly be the natural consequence of a Christianity that has lost its Christ-centeredness."
He concludes with this, "Regardless of where you are in relation to politics or the kind of church you attend; the question we must each ask ourselves everyday is this: “Is my life and conduct drawing people toward Christ or pushing them away?” I pray for my own sake that it is the former."
It is important to ask ourselves if our actions are a stumbling block to someone accepting Christ. But as important, we should ask if the Church has stayed from its primary mission. Even if the mingling of Christians and political party politics is not the primary cause of folks flocking to atheist best-sellers, I would argue that it certainly plays a role in folks not being willing to accept Christ's message (I have had several conversations with non-Christians who have noted this exact point). If someone wants to deny Christ, God or the Bible, let it be because they have hardened their heart to His word, not because we are sandpaper when we should be salt and light.