We keep reading how Americans are losing their religion, saying it is not important in their lives anymore. But one author is convinced change is on the horizon.
In his new book, The Surprising Rebirth of Belief in God: Why New Atheism Grew Old and Secular Thinkers Are Considering God Again, Justin Brierley outlines the rising of a new conversation about Christianity and God.
“We’ve seen the increasing decline of churchgoing, the number of people who profess Christian faith of any kind, but I don’t think those statistics tell us the whole story,” Brierley said during an interview on CBN’s The Prayerlink.
Brierley, former host of the popular podcast “Unbelievable?” which featured debates between Christians and non-Christians, has been researching the issue.
He says more people are taking a closer look at faith as they search for meaning.
“I’m finding a lot more people now opening up to the idea that there may be more,” said Brierley. “I believe we are seeing room for the Christian story to emerge again in our culture.”
Brierley believes that includes some well-known secular intellectuals.
“Interesting characters like Jordan Petersen – he’s a psychologist from Canada but he has drawn hundreds of thousands of people to his lectures, his YouTube channel, his podcast and very much putting in front of them the fact that Christianity needs to be taken seriously even as a non-believer himself,” explained Brierley. “He’s recognizing the value of Christianity. And then also interesting thinkers who have crossed the line to faith – you’d be surprised at who’s finding answers in Christianity.”
Brierley also explains why new atheism – the belief that religion is the breeding ground for hostility, violence and crime in our society – is failing.
“The architects of that phenomenon – people like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris – they thought that they could get rid of God-belief in people by kind of arguing it out of them. That has really dwindled and in many ways it’s in the back mirror now,” he said.
“I think people are realizing you can only run on that story of materialistic atheism but for so long before it stops giving you any answers.”
As many seek for meaning, spiritual hunger is on the rise.
Earlier this year people from around the world flocked to Asbury University after students led a spontaneous prayer service that lasted for weeks.
And as CBN News has reported, collegiate ministry leaders point to the incredible spiritual appetite among many of today’s students.
“They have no religious background,” said Shannon Compere, executive director of CRU’s U.S. campus ministry. “They haven’t stepped foot in a church – but 80 percent of them are spiritually open.”
Brian Musser, Baptist campus minister at Drexel University, says he interacts with these students regularly.
“There is a spiritual hunger out there among this generation, but it is completely and totally undirected,” Musser told CBN News. “They’re hungry for something, they don’t know what and they’re open to anything.”
These are all signs of hope that Brierley encourages the church to embrace despite cultural trends that say otherwise.
“God is always doing a new thing. There’s always a renewal season around the corner and I think there’s been an intellectual renewal going on over the last several years and so I’m excited about that,” said Brierley.