Today's Daily Blessing

Today’s Verse: Is the Increase in US Violence Due To a Lack of Religion?

“The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”

– 1 Corinthians 2:14

Is a lack of religion leading to a more violent America?

“They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.”

– Ephesians 4:18

Many believe, that in American society today, where fewer people are engaged in religion and going to church – it is leading to moral decline.

The fear of God and the recurrent teachings of righteous living that one obtains through regular church attendance are missing in America many say.

The principle of loving your neighbor as you would yourself is missing, that vital ingredient that would prevent one from ever having thoughts of harming others.

Rising shootings parallels religious decline

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared,”

– 1 Timothy 4:1-2

An interesting parallel can be found looking at graphs of religious decline and that of rising mass shootings. The findings are nearly evenly parallel.

The decline of religion

According to the aggregate religious index, by J. Tobin Grant, sociological forum, that tracks religious practices starting in 1952, a dramatic falling away of religion is woefully apparent.

Following World War II there was a big revival in religious practices. But America seems to have hit its religious peak approximately between the years of 1956-1958. Thereafter, it has been a steady decline, with a slight uptick between the years 1996-1997.

However, religion dropped dramatically after 1998, and by 2012, the practice of religion in America was hovering above nil.

The rise in mass shootings

Beginning in the 1900s, mass shooting events were relatively low, except during the “gangster-era” of the 1930s and 1940s. However, the numbers dropped dramatically low again through the 1950s and 1960s.

Then in the 1970s, the number started to rise, climbing decade after decade. Mass shooting events more than doubled in the 2000s as compared to the 1990s. They climbed again in the 2010s when there were 16 mass shooting events.

Are video games and mental illness to blame for violence – or is it something else?

In the wake of four back to back mass shootings across the US in a week, Americans are looking for answers. The president and politicians are suggesting violent video games are to blame. Many are blaming mental health.

However, a 2018 FBI study of active shooters found that only 25 percent had been diagnosed with mental illness. A joint study by the Secret Service and the Education Department found that 12 percent of perpetrators of school shootings showed an interest in violent video games.

Further, the FBI found three common denominators of stressors that occurred in the life of the perpetrators a year before committing atrocities: Financial pressures, fights with classmates or coworkers, and substance abuse.

In summary, mental health professionals and experts say mass shootings cannot be blamed on violent video games or mental illness. By comparison, Europe and Asia only see a mere fraction of the shootings that occur in the US and video games are similarly widespread there.

Do religious “nones” really outnumber Christians?

Recent news headlines and studies are telling us that, presently in America, the number of people who claim “none” as their religion has surpassed those who claim Christianity. However, that is misleading.

While it is true that those who profess “no religion” (23.1%) now slightly outnumber evangelicals (22.5%) and Catholics (23%) – that doesn’t mean agnostics and atheists are outnumbering Christians in America.

Those choosing “none” are simply claiming no identification with a particular denomination – that isn’t a statement that they are atheist or agnostic.

Jimmy Parsons