American Christianity has fallen. Thanks to cultural corrosion and a lack of biblical literacy, a new “fake Christianity” has raked the dry ground of the American church.
This counterfeit religion is moralistic therapeutic deism (MTD), a worldview that has quickly gained prominence and given many Americans a theology that looks nothing like historical Christianity, despite what they may claim.
George Barna, director of research at Arizona Christian University, said MTD -- or "watered-down, feel-good, fake Christianity" -- is “the most popular worldview in the United States today,” according to Christian Daily. A recent poll conducted by ACU found that 38 percent of adults hold this view.
What's more, three out of four people who hold to MTD still consider themselves Christians.
The poll was conducted in February among 2,000 adults with a margin of error of +/- 2 percentage points.
“The fact that a greater percentage of people who call themselves Christian draw from [MTD] than from the Bible says a lot about the state of the Christian church in America, in all of its manifestations,” Barna said.
"Simply and objectively stated, Christianity in this nation is rotting from the inside out."
What Is MTD?
Barna explained to The Western Journal what MTD is and how it affects the way Christians engage in culture.
“MTD is essentially what I would call fake Christianity. Because it has some Christian elements in it, but it's not really biblical, it's not really Christian,” Barna said.
He then went on to explain each element of this worldview.
"The moralistic perspective is we're here to be good people and to try to do good,” Barna said. “That’s really what life is about. I’ll be good to you, you be good to me, it'll all work out.
"The therapeutic aspect is everything is supposed to be geared to making me feel good about myself, ultimately to make me happy."
Deism is the idea that God created the world but has no direct involvement in it. Basically, according to MTD, there is a distant God who just wants everyone to be nice, and the purpose of life is to be happy.
American "Christians" who have adopted this philosophy have borrowed heavily from the modern secular world, which elevates personal definitions of right and wrong above any objective standard of truth -- like the Bible.
According to a study conducted by Lifeway Research, a little more than half of Americans would describe the Bible as a “good source of morals.” Only 38 percent said it was an historical account and 37 percent said it was helpful today.
The study was conducted from Sept. 27 to Oct. 1, 2016, among 1,000 Americans with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points.
MTD is a cake-and-ice cream theology for those who want to feel good about themselves without sacrificing cultural relevance.
Why Is MTD a Problem?
MTD distorts the God of the Bible in an attempt to make him bless all the dissipations and vanities of the modern world.
“It’s one of those models that says -- and there are a number of worldviews that say this -- you gotta live in the moment. This is all you’ve got, and you’ve gotta make the most of it,” Barna said.
It makes sense that “Christians” who embrace MTD are hesitant to criticize the culture. How can anyone pass judgment if everyone’s just trying to be happy? The only sin is getting in the way of someone's personal "truth."
Without a firm foundation in the Truth, increasing numbers of Christians are ill-prepared to fight the moral battles being waged in our country. That's why so many are siding with groups like Black Lives Matter and the LGBT movement. They’ll listen to the loudest voice on either side.
Enter the screaming woke mob.
Some "Christians" have tried to argue for secular trends using biblical language. And while it is true that the Bible condemns racism and hatred, progressive agendas certainly do not reflect Christian values. They promote sin under the guise of “loving everyone.”
Followers of Christ have forgotten that Jesus didn’t come to tell people to be nice. His message has always been a stumbling block, and it's especially hard for 21st-century Americans to accept.
There is no such thing as “your truth”; there is only the Truth and deception.
What Is the Solution?
If the church does not train up believers in the Truth, they will find themselves floundering in a culture that desperately needs Christ.
In essence, Christians need to return to a competent state of biblical literacy.
Churches must focus on shepherding their sheep instead of obsessing over numbers. And believers must take the initiative to read and learn the Bible in order to apply it to their daily lives.
Barna said that conservative Christians were the least likely to talk to others about candidates and issues during the last election cycle. This was because they did not know what they believed or how to put it into words.
“Christians have to be clear about why they believe the Bible is trustworthy, why they would say it’s reliable for their own life, and then to be able to articulate that to other people,” he said.
“Secondly, we’re gonna have to have churches that are willing to bring the Bible into the real world.”
“We found that two-thirds of conservative Christians said they were dying for their pastors not to tell them who to vote for, but how to think biblically about the issues so that they could make up their own minds based on biblical principles,” Barna added.
Having a solid understanding of what the Bible teaches will help Christians engage confidently with the culture. They need to be prepared to give a defense of what they believe, because challenges to their faith are guaranteed.
America needs a firm foundation on which to stand. The Truth is the only one that will not sway with the ever-shifting sands of our sinful culture.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
Shock: Americans ditch Biblical worldview for 'fake Christianity'
By Rachel Bratton, The Western Journal
Published July 4, 2021 at 1:09pm