Well fancy that! - Reformation21 Blog
It is easy to smirk (as I am doing) at statistics that show only 85% of people committed to a certain faith which believes in God do actually believe that such a God exists; but I wonder if the real statistics even in confessional churches are actually that much better. It is almost impossible for a European to understand that churchgoing in America, even in a confessional context, can bring its own wider social kudos and, of course, psychological comfort of being in a community. It's one of the reasons why megachurches in the confessional fold struggle to plant congregations and often opt for the crypto-epsicopalian multi-campus, one whale of a big personality preacher model: people like the status of being where the action is, the big budgets are, and the head honcho puts in a regular appearance so that they can get a piece of the magic. Ask them to move to the suburb of Nowheresville with the Rev.Whohe Nobodaddy, and it's amazing how few people a 2,500 strong congregation feels able to spare. And this raises the question: how much of our Protestant church commitment arises out of real belief in the gospel? And how much of it from the collateral benefits of being in a large community? Not so much belonging before believing; more like belonging instead of believing.