An interesting article in the Wall Street Journal entitled, In Europe God is (not) dead explains how after decades of secularization, religion in Europe has slowed its slide toward what had seemed inevitable oblivion. Because of this, scholars and theologians in Europe are debating a hot question: Why? The reason may be because centuries-old churches, long favored by the state, are loosing their monopoly grip and Europe's highly regulated market for religion is opening up to leaner, more-aggressive religious "firms." Which, they say, is providing a supply-side stimulus to faith. This article proves to me how the concept of what religion is, is becoming more and more skewed. The idea that wherever churches are a little more energetic and competitive, you've got more people going to church, shows how people are looking for the church that best applies to their views rather than trying to find out what God’s views are, and apply themselves to those.
Continuing in the article, America, where church and state stand apart, has more than 50% of the population worshiping at least once a month. In Europe, where the state has often supported -- but also controlled -- the church with money and favors, the rate in many countries is 20% or less. Historically, in 1776 around 17% of Americans belonged to churches. That is about the same as the current proportion of the population in Belgium, France, Germany and the U.K. that worships at least once a month, according to 2004's European Union-funded European Social Survey. In the U.S., the American Revolution ended ecclesiastical hegemony in the 11 colonies that had an established church and unleashed a raucous tide of religious competition. As Methodists, Baptists, Shakers and other churches proliferated, church-going rose, reaching around 50% in the early part of the 20th century. Now, upstarts are now plugging new spiritual services across Europe, from U.S.-influenced evangelical churches to Christian sect that uses a hallucinogenic herbal brew as a stand-in for sacramental wine.
This shows that spirituality can be sold as people choose the denomination that is most compatible with their view of life, and then select the particular institution that they feel best embodies that view. But this is not how God works.
Many are unwilling to regard religious teachings as commandments, about which we have no choice, rather than suggestions, about which we are the ultimate judge. Religion consumers shop in the market until they find what they like. But you cannot approach the gospel as you would a buffet or smorgasbord, choosing here a little and there a little. You must sit down to the whole feast and live the Lord’s loving commandments in their fullness. Cecil B. DeMille stated, after exhaustive research for the epic motion picture The Ten Commandments: “We cannot break the Ten Commandments. We can only break ourselves against them.” These are the laws of God. Violate them and we suffer lasting consequences. Obey them and we reap everlasting joy.
This is not an easy concept for many to embrace as the “guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center” (1 Ne. 16:2). It is not politically correct and is gives no excuses. It is absolute truth weather you want to believe it or not. Like the scriptures say, the word of God is “quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword, to the dividing asunder of both joints and marrow” (Doctrine and Convenants 6:2). When you are living a lifestyle that is against what God teaches it is difficult to change so people opt to try and “serve two masters” by living according to what they want to do and still trying to live the God wants them to, but it doesn’t work, “for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other” (Matt. 6:24).