Are you a believer; in anything? Have you thought about quitting? Do you know anyone who has? The pandemic with the Covid virus has closed churches where I live, and it feels like everyone is dropping out.
Quitting is like a modern fad. Often, millennials do not like the things that were important to baby boomers, especially religion.
There is a growing trend these days, to quit religion. I have some close relatives who have done that. If you do an Internet search with “ex” and any belief, you will find many discussion sites. There are ex-Mormons, ex-Muslims, ex-Evangelicals, and probably any other belief you can think of. Some have video testimonials.
I’m a Christian, so what should I do with this information? This is important. I was raised with the idea that new converts would find their way to the truth, but now we have reverts who leave.
There are several possibilities:
a) They never really believed. People easily drop out of ‘Churchianity’ if they have only joined a religious tribe. Subscribing to a group is different from knowing God, and cultural Christianity is a weak religion.
b) They switched. A Pentecostal leader in Sweden recently decided to become a Roman Catholic, and I know someone else who switched to Judaism. I just learned that someone close to me wants to visit a Russian Orthodox church because the liturgy and structure interest them. These are personal decisions, and every story is unique.
c) Some believers truly fall away. We are told that this will happen at the end of our time in history; “That Day will not come unless the falling away comes first” (2 Thessalonians 2:3). “The falling away” will happen, and it sounds like a big thing.
The result is the same, for a believer who wants to keep on believing. Someone is missing in our lives and we are less secure. If you are a Christian and you attend a nice church in the suburbs, imagine if that was taken from you. What would your family do? Those buildings and staff salaries are expensive, and a population is needed to keep them going. We need a critical mass to keep the doors open on our churches.
For Christians, Jesus told us that ‘c)’ truly falling away, quitting, is a common experience:
- Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.
- Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.
- Still, others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. (Mark 4: 15 to 19)
I inserted the numbers 1, 2, 3, but we have three reasons why we quit. We can be trippy idea tourists with no plans to make a decision; we just enjoy new things. Or, we are shallow and we quit anything when there is a cost. Or, we want the gods of this world more than the God who made us.
We were warned and we were only given those three reasons. This is something that could pull on any of us.
There is another possibility; we could believe something true and continue. The result of staying with truth is a useful life. We can be useful and productive to God and to people around us. Jesus said this in His fourth point:
4. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop; some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown. (verse 20)
If life is a race, there is a finish line, and it is six feet under. We were given the possibility of a useful life, but we live in a time when people are ‘ex’ something. The real cost is in the lives of the quitters, if they are leaving something that is true.
We live in interesting times.