This is approximately the number of DAYS each year that I spend commuting to work. Two and a half hours a day, five days a week, for fifty weeks. And the hard numbers don’t account for traffic jams, car accidents or other delays that inevitably come up when you really need to be somewhere on time.  

So roughly one month of my year is spent in bumper-to-bumper traffic. If I think too hard about that, I might cry, so I’m not going to.  Instead I’m going to think about something I heard on the radio last night… while driving home from work.

It was an interview on KPCC about the decline of Christianity among young adults in the U.S. NPR’s religion and belief correspondent, Tom Gjelten, shared some very telling stats and observations about the state of Christianity today.

He suggested many reasons for why our generation seems to be more resistant to Christianity than those before us. He mentioned that our culture of individuality and uniqueness is impacting people’s desire to associate with churches; in an effort to create a personal brand, some young adults end up rejecting religion completely because they feel that it confines or labels them in a way that they cannot control. They are less inclined to join groups in general because they ultimately desire to be set apart from the pack. With this growing religious disparity in this upcoming generation, he projected that this decline of Christianity will continue, as the number of parents raising children with Christian values will slowly decrease.            

After listening to this brief radio interview, I was left to consider the thought process behind this so-called imminent decline. I believe that individuality is important and that young professionals need to consider crafting a strong personal brand for themselves, as well as a strong sense of self. But I also believe that this sense of self is not something that should or can be shaped solely by introspection, emotion, personal experience or a resume.

Every person has been created by God, and therefore is uniquely and intimately known by Him. With this in mind, the notion that associating with Christianity will damage one’s individuality seems misguided. Jeremiah 10:23 reads, “I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.” Our creator knows us better than we know ourselves, so our self-understanding will always be incomplete without Him at the center of it.

There is much more to be said on this topic; these are just a few of my personal thoughts on it. Gjelten mentioned a handful of other hypothesis for the reason behind this decline. You can find his complete KPCC interview here. It got me thinking — maybe it will do the same for you.