Pop icon and self-proclaimed Christian, Miley Cyrus, reportedly has a new tattoo –the Hindu symbol “Om” inked on her right wrist. This adds to Cyrus’ already pluralistic body of tattoos – a cross from Christianity; the word, “karma,” from eastern philosophies; and a dreamcatcher – from native-American and New Age religions.
Miley Cyrus truly is a walking religious oxymoron. But unfortunately, she represents a growing number of American Christians.
According to George Barna, Christians increasingly are customizing their faith – rejecting key Christian doctrines and adopting parts of other religions at will. A stunning 40-percent of Americans claim they’ve accepted Christ as their savior. But, only seven-percent believe all core Christian doctrines like the sinlessness of Christ and the existence of Satan. As Barna puts it, America is quickly becoming a country of “310 million people with 310 million religions.”
How can this be? Can God be one as Christianity teaches and thousands as Hinduism espouses? Of course not! But to most Americans, these contradictions aren’t a problem and a recent study by the Fuller Youth Institute may indicate why.
The study found that most kids who grow up in Christian homes have reduced the gospel to a moral code – a list of do’s and don’ts that frankly, doesn’t differ much from those of other religions. Similarly, Barna found that half of Americans believe salvation is earned and that “good” people go to heaven.
How ironic! Christianity actually is the only religion that’s not essentially a moral code! It’s not about what we do – working off bad karma, walking an eight-fold path, or following five pillars. It’s about what Jesus has done through the cross, making relationship with God possible. Perhaps, if more Americans understood the cross as more than body decoration, they’d practice true faith instead of designer religion.