At the risk of ticking off this whole country, I am going to address this issue head-on, from the point of view of a missionary kid—a person who grew up outside of the U.S. but then returned to the U.S to live as an adult.
Before answering this question: “Are most Americans superficial?”– I would like to clear the air and say that some of my closest friends are Americans, and they are not superficial. Those I relate to the most are people who have gone through suffering in their lives and have a real walk with God. These are the exception to the rule, and I married one of them.
I recently offended someone on my Missionary Kid Page when I said that missionary kids that return to the United States are shocked at how superficial Americans are. The Missionary Kid page exists to show how missionary kids perceive the world, not how other people perceive the world. Missionary kids don’t care about being politically correct. Our world view is opposite to most Americans. We’ve never truly belonged to any nation, so there is no reason to pander to anybody.
I have listened to thousands of missionary kids over the years, and here are the real reasons why we perceive Americans as being superficial:
1. Most Americans care about and pursue trivial things.
They love to talk about TV shows, sports, celebrities, and other topics that have no substance. After living in a third-world country my whole life, I perceived that part of the reason is that Americans are pampered because they have way more money than they need to survive. If they don’t, they use their charge cards to pursue the frivolous pampering that they “deserve.”
People in third-world countries are concerned about survival. When you are surrounded by suffering, your conversations are different. The conversations are more relational and less about trivia.
2. The U.S. educational system has churned out brainwashed, mindless idiots.
Ask any random American walking down the street basic information about any topic, and they just don’t know and don’t care. All they want is to be entertained and to stare down at their cell phones, snapping selfies to post to Facebook.
The reading level of this nation has been dumbed down so much that what was previously considered 5th grade reading is now college level. The majority of Americans do not read in their spare time—they watch TV for tens of thousands of hours, which brings us to the next point.
3. Whoever controls the media controls the minds of the U.S. population.
The morals of our nation are eroded as we watch sin and practice sinning over and over in our minds. Pretty soon we are actually committing the sin because we have been de-sensitized to it. Even if we don’t practice the sin ourselves, we allow the sin in the lives of the people around us because it’s so normal to us now.
We can’t perceive the heart of God on major issues because our hearts are so calloused to God because of the media.
The media is controlled by the world. We are told in Scripture to not be a part of the world, but instead we have morphed into the world. American Christians ARE the world.
The U.S. population is like a huge mob. The media can actually CAUSE riots and other problems by brainwashing people to believe lies. Then everyone is in an emotional frenzy, and if you stand against the emotional mob, you risk being killed. That’s because they no longer can think clearly.
That’s just it. Most Americans can’t think independently. Whether they are afraid of public opinion, or whether they have just been told their whole lives by their teachers and the media what the right answer is, who knows?
4. The American church is in a babyish catatonic state.
When talking about the deeper things of the Lord, very few people even understand what we are saying. Their eyes gloss over, and they would rather talk about fashion or what they are doing on Friday. The majority of American Christians do not pursue holiness—they even say that pursuing holiness is a sin because everyone is imperfect. Even if they have unrepented sins, you have to look the other way and not tell them that what they are doing is causing their misery.
I have never been in a third-world church where the native Christians were so apathetic about the things of God. True delight comes from pursuing God full-tilt. I guess if you’re poor, you have less to lose when you give up your life to gain Christ.
So I ask you, do you sense that most Americans are superficial? Does it disturb you? When you mention it, do people get offended and stomp off, like the woman on my Missionary Kid Page?