America’s Smorgasbord Faith


JP: Another look at the Newsweek article We Are All Hindus Now. Referenced earlier here. What’s a Smörgåsbord?

Are We Really Hindus? America’s Food-Court Faith


While the religious foundation of our country is as it has always been, Christian, in the short span of a few decades, we have moved from a religion of confessional creeds to the spiritualization of personal needs, where the question is no longer, “Is it true?” but, “Does it work?”

This has led to a smorgasbord faith that, as Boston University’s Stephen Prothero writes, “is very much in the spirit of Hinduism.” Professor Prothero explains, “If going to yoga works, great—and if going to Catholic mass works, great. And if going to Catholic mass plus the yoga plus the Buddhist retreat works, that’s great, too.”

I suppose if attending mass, doing yoga, retreating with the Buddhists, and viewing some Internet porn works, that’d be great, as well. And if that doesn’t work, there’s always Prozac. With only our felt needs to guide us, who’s to argue?

Yet the restless quest to satisfy our personal needs can never fill our universal need: an abiding relationship with the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In contrast to the “food court” religion of cultural Hinduism, Christianity is a one-stop source of Truth—a Truth that addresses man’s real need, for a Savior and for a way to live that is in harmony with the way things really are.

Christian teachings on the weighty issues of origins, morality, human nature, and ultimate ends form a belief system that is comprehensive in scope, coherent in logic, and livable in practice. It is the only belief system imparting eternal significance to our existence, while enabling us to experience peace, joy, and security even when our felt-needs go unmet. That’s because Christianity is for others—it is what we do for others because of what God has done for us.

For that reason, Christians must not yield to the social taboo of vocalizing one’s faith out of deference to the religious sensibilities of others. If, indeed, Christianity offers the best answers for the mysteries of life, it would be insensitive, even uncaring, toward our neighbors to shrink back from speaking a word of truth into their lives.

Source: BreakPoint which is the worldview ministry of Prison Fellowship Ministries. Our mission is to seek the transformation of believers as they apply biblical thinking to all of life, enabling them to transform their communities through the grace and truth of Jesus Christ. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print.

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