Going to church this Sunday? Look around. [Excerpts]
The chances are that one in five of the people there find “spiritual energy” in mountains or trees, and one in six believe in the “evil eye,” that certain people can cast curses with a look — beliefs your Christian pastor doesn’t preach.
In the 1980s, Albert Mohler and Julia Jarvis were in graduate school together at Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville. Today, Mohler is president of the seminary and a leading voice for Baptist orthodoxy. He sees a “rampant confusion” about faith revealed in the Pew findings.
Pew says two in three adults believe in or cite an experience with at least one supernatural phenomenon, including:
·26% find “spiritual energy” in physical things. ·25% believe in astrology. ·24% say people will be reborn in this world again and again. ·23% say yoga is a “spiritual practice.”
Mohler calls these “the au courant confusions,” attachments to the latest fashionable free-floating beliefs. “One hundred years ago, it would have been ‘spiritualism.’ They wouldn’t have known what yoga was but might have been attracted to the ‘New Thought’ of the time,” Mohler says.
His former classmate giggles at that. She’s an ordained minister in the progressive United Church of Christ and leads the Interfaith Family Project, which meets for weekly worship at a Silver Spring, Md., high school.
Jarvis, of Takoma Park, Md., also studies with Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh and finds a spiritual dimension in yoga.
“I don’t do astrology, but my mother, who grew up in Birmingham, Ala., and was a staunch Baptist all her life, looked at her horoscope daily and totally believed it,” Jarvis says.
“My mother feared for years that I was no longer saved, but just two days before she died, she had an epiphany,” Jarvis says. “She said she was ‘told’ in a spiritual experience to put aside all religious and political differences and just love each other. That was her blessing to me, and that’s what I’m doing.”
[TBC: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears” (2 Timothy 4:3).]