Have you heard of the term “cultural Christian”? It describes a person who generally accepts familiar Christian values and may participate in common Christian practices but does not consider Christianity to be of great importance in their life.
A cultural Christian may be atheist or agnostic, or may describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious”. Often, they have grown up in an environment that was traditionally Christian, and which is how they identify, though they may have serious disagreements with some expressions of that faith.
“Cultural Muslims” are similar. Decline in religious commitment is growing in Muslim communities where people are disappointed with the rise of extremism, corrupt religious leaders and the constraints of religious expectations. A cultural Muslim will identify as Muslim but be only nominally religious—or not at all.
Cultural Muslims can be found across the world, but especially in Europe, Central Asia, North America and parts of the Middle East and South-east Asia. Recent surveys from the Pew Research Center found that only one percent of Muslims in Azerbaijan and five percent of Muslims in Albania attend mosque regularly, for example. They also found that only two percent of Muslims in Kazakhstan and 14 percent of Muslims in Bosnia-Herzegovina perform all five of the daily prayers. In the USA, where Muslims make up only about one percent of the population, 64 percent of Muslims say religion is very important to them, which is about the same as the percentage for Christians.
As the role of religion is changing globally, Muslims are confronted with the same questions that Christians are, about how to identify themselves both inside and outside of their traditional communities.
WAYS TO PRAY
- Pray for Muslims who long for a faith that is important and significant, to find what they are looking for. (Matthew 6:33)
- Consider in prayer how we as believers in Christ should continually examine our faith so our witness is authentic. (2 Corinthians 13:5; James 3:9–12)
- Be inspired to pray for cultural Muslims from Psalm 111.