USA (MNN) — In the United States, a man with a grudge kills 10 in Alabama. A gunman kills a pastor in church, then turns the knife on himself. Those are just two of the headlines causing people in the U.S. to wonder, "Why is this violence happening?"
Some believe violence is growing because there's less Christian influence in the country.
That assumption is backed by the release of a survey by the Program on Public Values at Trinity College indicating that the United States is becoming more secular. The survey indicates that the number of Americans claiming no religion is now 15 percent–the highest percentage ever.
The number of people claiming to be Christian is now 76 percent, down from previous statistics.
President of HCJB Global Wayne Pederson says, "It does make some of us look and scratch our heads and say, 'Maybe the loss of spiritual value is resulting in some of this violence and some of the unexplainable crime and hatred and lack of forgiveness and retribution displayed in some of these horrendous crimes."
Pederson suggests that this type of violence, coupled with economic uncertainty caused by corrupt business practices, may actually help the church. "If you look back and see where the church has grown most effectively, it's been in circumstances in working in a very difficult culture. Hopefully in this time of difficulty and violence we can see the rebirth of true personal faith."
The evangelical church has become self-centered and myopic, says Pederson. That's why HCJB Global has started the Me and My Household campaign. "We are encouraging Christians to pray for their households and for their extended family. We're also asking them to move beyond the walls into their neighborhoods and pray for their neighbors around them."
HCJB Global is also encouraging you to be a doer of the Word and consider how to reach your neighbors for Christ. Pederson says a contest may provide motivation. "There's a contest where you can say, 'This is what we're doing to reach people here in our neighborhood.' And we're giving some cash prizes to people who have good ideas about how to reach households in their neighborhoods."
According to Pederson, the answer to violent crime is Christ alone. "If we can get people to understand they need to seek God's forgiveness and then reach out and forgive others, I think that would be the solution to a lot of what we're seeing in some of the mass murders and the horrendous crimes."