Those who mistrust religion or distance themselves from churches "are, like all of us, seeking a way that seems right to them. We ought to love those who disagree with us, including those who see us as bigots. They are not our enemies."
"It's kind of sad how talking about faith brings up this huge divide," Lindsey Stirling said in an interview with Huffington Post. She recalled the initial negative reactions she had from fans when she first began talking openly about her faith.
"When she was first bringing up her faith. . . there was this huge negative backslide at first,'" said Brooke Passey, co-author to Lindsey Stirling's new autobiography.
Though concerning, this divide is not as stark as it may seem; one can be turned off by forms of religious speech and not necessarily be secular. It’s true that the respected Pew Research Center tells us the "nones" (the religiously unaffiliated, which make up nearly a quarter of the U.S. population) are "becoming increasingly secular." And the younger they are, the gloomier those who belong to a church might perceive things to be. Only 38 percent of millennials born between 1990 and 1996 say religion is important in their lives. But notably, 61 percent of all nones believe in God.
If, as Pew reports, only a quarter or less of millennials read scripture or participate in prayer at least once a week or rely on religious teachings for moral guidance, we can assume that much of what they perceive organized religion to be stems from a lack of familiarity with the religious experience. What they know of religion rarely goes deeper than the headlines.
Helping those who don’t belong to a church understand religion and its motives is more likely to come about (though it’s not guaranteed) if people of faith not only know what they believe and why they believe it but also explain that belief so clearly that their witness cannot be misunderstood.
Lead image from Mormon Newsroom.
In Our Search for Happiness: An Invitation to Understand the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is the most recent addition to the approved missionary personal library, Elder M. Russell Ballard explains the Church and LDS beliefs in a clear and inoffensive way. Elder Ballard discusses the Apostasy, the need for the Restoration, the Book of Mormon, the priesthood, the plan of salvation, the Articles of Faith, the Word of Wisdom, temples, missionary work, and benefits of living the gospel. Through personal experiences he reveals how the gospel has benefited him and concludes by bearing his testimony.