A new kind of faith in God

Surveys and polls come back to the subject of faith in God quite literally—religiously—as if we needed to reassure ourselves continually that God still figures into this world in some meaningful way. That tendency says something quite remarkable about us. For all that mankind has achieved and accomplished, mastered and manipulated, we continue to want God. It is not man-made gods we want, but God, Spirit, the creator of man and the universe. We yearn for more than a material view of ourselves and our world. A poll by Princeton Survey Research Associates, about what matters to Americans, showed 40 percent as considering God the most important thing in their lives. William McKinney, dean of Hartford Seminary, comments, "We're in some ways an incurably religious culture."

But opinion polls about God are quite different from actual closeness to God. Where is our faith in God? Has it given way before a brashly invented world, whose medical and technical devices and social attitudes require total compliance? It could look that way at first glance. What's becoming clearer, however, is that neither man-made views of God nor man-made inventions have been able to secure humanity's health and well-being, or sustain a standard of integrity and morality.

If people have been losing faith, it has been a loss of faith in a material view of God and man. But losing that faith is what often clears the way for a new, more spiritual faith—an understanding of the only living and true God, as the Bible puts it.

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September 16, 1991

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