The faith of Americans is alive, vibrant and well according to this piece from the Wall Street Journal. Despite headlines and sensationalized stories from wishful thinkers of a less religious bent (stories and headlines that are as old as the Republic) religion continues to thrive in America--in no small part--because of our very open approach to the subject. The Pew survey that made headlines announcing the rise of atheism in America some weeks ago is notably taken to task in this story. Apparently, one-fifth of the self-reported "atheists" in their survey also said that they believed in God. The authors of this piece hilariously dub this, "a semantic confusion rich in meaning." Indeed.
Of course, acknowledging what I choose to call America’s religious "vibrancy" (and others will call its chaos) is bound to make some conservatives of a more orthodox bent wince. Without dismissing their concerns and while acknowledging the theological challenges this "vibrancy" presents for them, I still would have to say that this Catholic prefers the small "c" catholicism of our regime to the big "C" Catholicism of more homogeneous countries. It is a kind of chaos, yes. And chaos has its very real sort of problems that require diligence. But on the whole, it inspires a people with more mental agility, more hard-earned and deeply serious faith, and, I think--also, more sympathy for the unconverted. It makes us more mindful that everyone is a potential friend in Christ--if we can persuade him. It is a religiosity that is worthy of our natural freedom and our human potential.
Thanks to Kate for passing along this article.