WILL BABY BOOMERS TURN TO RELIGION UPON RETIREMENT?
We have come a long way on the road to God, and a lot more to go. The exclusive claims of access to God are steadily declining. Indeed, God has become a public property now, and is accessible to everyone in every which way. Unless you live in silos, you cannot claim your path is the only path to salvation. Indeed, religion is losing its monopoly in supplying God - Mike Ghouse
url - http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2013/04/texas-faith-will-baby-boomers-be-next.html
Texas Faith: Will baby boomers be the next source of growth for religion in America?
By Bill McKenzie/ Editorial columnist | email@example.com | 4:44 pm on April 16, 2013
Let’s return to Frank Newport’s book, God is Alive and Well: The Future of Religion in America. I did an interview with Newport, Gallup’s editor-in-chief, for our Points section on Easter Sunday. As part of the interview, he talked about the impact baby boomers could have on religion as they retire.
We’ve certainly heard a lot about how those of us who are boomers will affect entitlement programs likeMedicare and Social Security. But I really had not thought much about how this generation of Americans could affect religion.
Newport’s point is this: If boomers become like elderly Americans of the past, they will become more religious as they enter their senior years. Of course, boomers being boomers, they may defy that trend. But if they don’t, they could become a major source of growth for religion in general and various faiths in particular.
That would be interesting since we are reading about the decline of membership in some traditions, like mainline Protestant churches. Could boomers actually reverse those trends?
I don’t know, but I would like to hear your thoughts about this question:
As baby boomers begin to retire, what is it that your faith tradition could offer to those in that generation who do not have a particular religious belief? Or, to put it another way, could boomers be your next source of growth?
MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism, Dallas, and Speaker on interfaith matters, diversity and pluralism
We have come a long way on the road to God, and a lot more to go. The exclusive claims of access to God are steadily declining. Indeed, God has become a public property now, and is accessible to everyone in every which way.
I do not see the boomers flocking to churches during their senior years in large numbers, as the elderly Americans of the past did. Many of us have found God without being religious, and there is no going back.
However nothing is absolute, a few weeks ago around Easter, a senior friend whispered in my ears: I don’t need to go to the church, but I go there just to make sure my foot is in the door, in case God is really out there to pounce on me. Much of our generation is not motivated by fear, but rather freedom, we can see the religious right losing out to same sex marriages, gender equality and inclusive attitudes.
There was “one” Christianity a long time ago, so was Islam, Hinduism, Judaism and other traditions, that is no more the truth. Not only our branches have eked out their own existence, but we have also carved out a space for those who do not believe in God.
We have accepted diversity as a way of life, the unheard of interracial, interfaith, and intercultural weddings a hundred years ago are a common place now. I have performed a variety of interfaith weddings; Jewish-Christian; Muslim-Jain, Christian-Hindu, and a Muslim-Jewish wedding is coming up. Instead of conversions, they hear a common sermon extolling their traditions which they long for.
The bride and groom must be admired by one and all, they are setting a new standard, that of respecting and accepting each other’s uniqueness. Religion is internal to them and not a thing to flaunt or a wedge.
The attitude of imposing your belief on others is fading. We have freed Jesus, Moses, Muhammad, Krishna, Buddha and others to be available to be respected and honored by anyone. They are no longer exclusive property of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus or Buddhists respectively, and they belong to all.
Unless you live in silos, you cannot claim your path is the only path to salvation. Traditional church puts a restrictive noose around you, and many of those who have lived freely will not join the church where exclusivity is the order.
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..........Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, Islam, Israel,India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive Americaand offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in Standing up for others and has done that throughout his life as an activist. Mike has a presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest onSean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly atHuffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal sitewww.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through many links.