4 Things Christians Need to Know in the New Religious World

By Aaron Earls

For better or worse, the spiritual landscape of the United States is shifting.

Millennials are the least likely generation to believe in God. Nones are on the rise. And according to projections from Pew Research, Muslims will overtake Jews to become the second largest U.S. religious group by 2050.

Churches accustomed to operating within a culture dominated by a Judeo-Christian mindset will need to learn how to engage others in this new spiritual environment.

It wasn’t so long ago that most Americans had some type of religious affiliation or church background. Today, it’s not uncommon to have friends, neighbors, and coworkers who have no memory of going to church or who grew up in a faith other than Christianity. When reaching out to their communities, churches need to consider that those they are engaging may have a very different worldview.

Despite the global decline of the nonreligious, in 35 years, 1 in 4 Americans will be unaffiliated with any religion. In addition, adherents of minority religions will climb from 5 to 8 percent of the U.S. population.

Increasingly, churches and Christians will interact with those who have non-biblical worldviews. To help us better understand how to reach our neighbors more effectively, we spoke with Mary Jo Sharp, assistant professor of apologetics at Houston Baptist University.

Sharp is the author of Defending the Faith: Apologetics in Women’s Ministry, two apologetic Bible studies, Resilient Faith and Why Do You Believe That?, and a contributor to several other publications.

Here are four things Sharp says Christians need to know as we move into this new era of American religious life.

1. Know what you believe.

The first step in preparing to talk with others about their beliefs is to understand your own…


4 Things Christians Need to Know in the New Religious World