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Shopping for a Custom Made God

Time magazine recently described the phenomenon of Americans searching for religious truth as "shopping for a custom-made God" (5 April 1993, p. 45). This seems to be an appropriate description. Some looked to a messiah in Waco, some look to the eastern religions of the New Age and Mind Sciences, while others find solace in preparing themselves for becoming a god one day as they believe God has become God þ Mormonism.

The Time magazine observed that in their search for a comfortable God, "Americans who leave religious institutions do not necessarily abandon religious faith. Even most dropouts say they believe in God; though one-third also believe in reincarnation, ghosts and astrology."

Even those who claim to be "Born Again" are not necessarily firmly grounded in the truths of the Bible. In his book which provides a statistical analysis of religious beliefs in America, George Barna cites several fascinating statistics which are based on a national survey.

In chapter four he states, "The Devil, or Satan, is not a living being but is a symbol of evil." Then, asking that segment of his survey respondents who have identified themselves as being "Born Again", he states, "Do you agree strongly, agree somewhat, disagree somewhat, or disagree strongly with that statement?"

The "Born Again" population reply with 32 percent agreeing strongly, 11 percent agreeing somewhat and 5 percent did not know. Thus, of the total number responding, 48 percent either agreed that Satan is only symbolic or did not know!

Should it then be surprising that a few pages later Barna would receive some very startling responses? His next question, "Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and others all pray to the same God, even though they use different names for that God."  Again, the respondents were asked to agree strongly, agree somewhat, disagree somewhat or disagree strongly.

Of that population surveyed who identified themselves as "Born Again," 30 percent agreed strongly, 18 percent agreed somewhat and 12 percent did not know. That is a total of 60 percent! ("What Americans Believe", pp. 206, 212).

The rapid spread of the cults in America and around the world can be attributed in part to the deterioration of the Christian church and its lax emphasis on the fundamentals of the faith.