A recent study by the Pew Forum documents the growing “spiritual mobility” of Americans: more and more Americans are abandoning the religious affiliation of their upbringing and taking on a new religious or spiritual identity (or non-identity). Read an article about this study here.
My friend who alerted me to this fascinating study notes, “What it says to me is that people are seeking something behind church doors that they aren’t finding.” I’d agree with that, but I also think it speaks to how religion has increasingly become more like a marketplace phenomenon (just because I like to drink Guinness doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a Foster’s now and then), suggesting that changing churches is for many people no more momentous than deciding if the new car will be a Chevy or a Ford. I still remember how shocked I was the first time I heard the phrase “health-care consumers” (I was in college at the time) — that something as holy and sacred as health care could be reduced to the mentality of the free market struck me as just somehow terribly wrong. I suppose we are rapidly moving to the day where churchgoers will be seen as “spirituality consumers.”