by Dr. D ~ May 16th, 2015
(Photo: courtesy of TripAdvisor)
For years nearly every American (90%+) identified themselves as ‘Christian’ mostly because everyone they knew claimed it and besides as kids their parents took them to church at least at Christmas and Easter. In the mid 20th century after WWII everyone was considered to be a Christian unless they were Jewish. Now there are more ‘culturally acceptable’ options in America including ‘none of the above.’
Now only 70% of Americans according to the latest Pew Research are Christian so it appears that Christianity in America is in decline? I posted on this research a couple of days ago. In reality it is my contention that it is the ‘Cultural Christians’ who are actually in decline not those with real religious convictions and acted upon faith.
To prove my point, Evangelical Christians, which are more conservative and demanding of their members and still hold to traditional Christian theology and the teachings of the Bible, are actually increasing in number. While the more liberal Mainline Protestant Churches, which reflect the latest changes in American culture, are the ones that are in sharp decline. Most serious committed Christians who actually participate in their faith and attend churches have known all along that their community really didn’t include everyone who claimed to be part of it. It has never been true theologically and now the culture more closely reflects the truth.
A whole new generations of Americans have been raised up at the turn of the centuries with little or no real connection to Christianity never going to church as a child and experiencing only the cultural festivities (Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny}surrounding the religious holidays. There’s no real reason for them to claim to be Christians. Now it is fashionable to be ‘spiritual not religious’ whatever that means.
Meanwhile, 35% say they are Evangelical ‘born-again’ Christians which now represents half of all American Christians. Plus, over half of those folks attend church nearly every week. Also overall church attendance in America is still at 40% which is close to where it was at in the 1940’s.
So what is really on the decline? The cultural popularity of Christianity. This has been reflected in the American media for some time. Christians have been portrayed in negative ways on TV and in the movies. Also, the main stream news media reflects a bias against conservative Christianity since so few journalists are Christians anymore or actively participate in any religion for that matter.
So how will these trends play out in the future? Unless there is a new revival or another religious awakening in America, Christianity will continue to decline in cultural popularity since the core teachings of the faith no longer reflect the PC progressive ideals of the dominant American culture. The current issues of same-sex marriage and LGBT civil rights could well bring with it actual persecution of conservative Christians and churches in the near future. Christians will need to stand up for their faith and convictions in the future or religious freedom and liberty will decline in America. It is time to pray for America as never before. *Top