What accounts for our such low and declining confidence in ‘the church or organized religion’?
I am not surprised, but I am concerned about the declining confidence in “the church or organized religion.” We have seen this lack of confidence developing over the years. It helps a bit to recognize that this decline is connected with the larger cultural decline of confidence in institutional expressions. For the church the declination is primarily centered in those 40 years and younger who have serious questions about the value of most institutions. For the church, however, we are at fault because of our lack of concern in reaching children and youth over the past three or four decades. The church assumed we were a “Christian nation”, and evangelism and/or apologetics for the faith were not needed. Add to that the fact that the political/social forces of our culture have mitigated against the celebration of the unique identities that religious groups, by their very nature, must have. A culture that has made an idol of individual autonomy and a “devil” of commitment to a system of belief and conduct has little or no appreciation for the fostering of anything that sets one apart from secular materialism which has become the “religion” of our nation.