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PaulS

Christianity in decline

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Whichever way you cut it, Christianity (and religious affiliation in general) is in decline in the US. 

Why do you think this is? 

Is the decline reported here a blip or do you think it is part of a more permanent trend?

https://www.pewforum.org/2019/10/17/in-u-s-decline-of-christianity-continues-at-rapid-pace/

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1 hour ago, PaulS said:

Whichever way you cut it, Christianity (and religious affiliation in general) is in decline in the US. 

Why do you think this is? 

Is the decline reported here a blip or do you think it is part of a more permanent trend?

https://www.pewforum.org/2019/10/17/in-u-s-decline-of-christianity-continues-at-rapid-pace/

Permanent trend.  The decline of churches is almost complete in Europe and the US is following suit.  
 

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1 hour ago, Burl said:

Permanent trend.  The decline of churches is almost complete in Europe and the US is following suit.  
 

Yet in Asia and Africa, Christianity is growing.  Why the disparity?

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3 hours ago, PaulS said:

Yet in Asia and Africa, Christianity is growing.  Why the disparity?

Southern hemisphere churches are different.  Speaking in tongues and healing are fundamental, and there is syncretism with traditional religions.  The growth is not in the mainline churches.

Asia I have no idea.  A friend of mine is an imam in Indonesia.  I’ll ask him.

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So any ideas as to why the huge decline in the US?

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7 hours ago, PaulS said:

So any ideas as to why the huge decline in the US?

Americans in general are losing the willingness to wake up on Sunday mornings.

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I think Americans are getting better educated and questioning past norms that are part of the programming of the mainline organized churches.  People here are better educated and just don't buy all the doctrine and dogma. Undeveloped countries may be on the increase for opposite reasons as they are more primitive and willing to accept what they are told by missionaries. That may be a step forward from their more primitive beliefs.  I realize that is just a generalization but i think their is some merit in the reasoning.

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They do say we are in the information age and I think the access that people have today to biblical scholarship is unprecedented, so I think that probably has a lot to do with changing beliefs.  Not that everyone follows the scholarship, but there are enough Facebook pages, Instagram feeds and Pinterest pages to share information that 'debunks' many traditional Christian claims, so I'd be pretty confident technology is widely responsible.

I also think the science of evolution is finally widely accepted by the vast majority now, which of course blows out the whole 'original sin' concept that Christianity has thrived on for so long, so I expect that has taken its toll also. 

I do see Christianity transforming away from 'traditions' of sin and guilt and moving toward a new version where being human is better accepted and Christianity seen as a 'way' to leading a fulfilling life, but not the 'only' way.  Enter PC I guess which may in fact be holding up those 'Christian' stats just a little bit more than if only traditional choices of Christianity were available.

I've read that sub-Saharan Africa will be 40% christian in the next 20-30 years and obviously there is an increase in Asia also.  It will be an interesting change of world affairs as Christianity in the US continues to decline but other nations continue to grow.  I also read mixed reports that Islam will be the most populous religion within 10-20 years, so it'll be interesting to see how that changes world demographics too.

 

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11 hours ago, PaulS said:

They do say we are in the information age and I think the access that people have today to biblical scholarship is unprecedented, so I think that probably has a lot to do with changing beliefs.  Not that everyone follows the scholarship, but there are enough Facebook pages, Instagram feeds and Pinterest pages to share information that 'debunks' many traditional Christian claims, so I'd be pretty confident technology is widely responsible.

I also think the science of evolution is finally widely accepted by the vast majority now, which of course blows out the whole 'original sin' concept that Christianity has thrived on for so long, so I expect that has taken its toll also. 

I do see Christianity transforming away from 'traditions' of sin and guilt and moving toward a new version where being human is better accepted and Christianity seen as a 'way' to leading a fulfilling life, but not the 'only' way.  Enter PC I guess which may in fact be holding up those 'Christian' stats just a little bit more than if only traditional choices of Christianity were available.

I've read that sub-Saharan Africa will be 40% christian in the next 20-30 years and obviously there is an increase in Asia also.  It will be an interesting change of world affairs as Christianity in the US continues to decline but other nations continue to grow.  I also read mixed reports that Islam will be the most populous religion within 10-20 years, so it'll be interesting to see how that changes world demographics too.

 

Wishful, inverted thinking.  The decline in Christian church attendance numbers follows Western churches adopting progressive theologies.  The mainline churches have all adopted progressive theologies and the are the ones measured by Pew and dropping in membership.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_population_growth  shows the growth is in third world countries where Pentacostal/charismatic churches are flourishing.

If Jesus is divine one needs to be a Christian.  If one does not think so, they get eventually drop their faith and focus on involvement in a charity, politics or just stay home and wallow in their imagination.

 

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Burl,

I don't think i can agree with that. (The decline in Christian church attendance numbers follows Western churches adopting progressive theologies)  In the US Southern Baptists are down to the lowest in 30 years and they are not in my view progressive in the least. Catholics in the US are also on the decline..

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2019/may/southern-baptists-acp-membership-baptism-decline-2018.html

However i do agree that especially Pentacostal/charismatic churches in predominately undeveloped countries is on the rise. Sometimes education gets in the way of people's belief in the gifts of the spirit and miracles. Hence more of it is seen in those undeveloped nations. I personally believe in both the gifts of the spirit and miracles. In my view, sometimes reason and faith are at odds with each other.

 

 

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3 hours ago, JosephM said:

Burl,

I don't think i can agree with that. (The decline in Christian church attendance numbers follows Western churches adopting progressive theologies)  In the US Southern Baptists are down to the lowest in 30 years and they are not in my view progressive in the least. Catholics in the US are also on the decline..

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2019/may/southern-baptists-acp-membership-baptism-decline-2018.html

However i do agree that especially Pentacostal/charismatic churches in predominately undeveloped countries is on the rise. Sometimes education gets in the way of people's belief in the gifts of the spirit and miracles. Hence more of it is seen in those undeveloped nations. I personally believe in both the gifts of the spirit and miracles. In my view, sometimes reason and faith are at odds with each other.

 

 

We are just guessing, Paul.  Very few Christians care much about theology.  
 

Look at how few people read these days.  General cultural trends are probably more of an influence than anything else

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7 hours ago, Burl said:

Wishful, inverted thinking.  The decline in Christian church attendance numbers follows Western churches adopting progressive theologies.  The mainline churches have all adopted progressive theologies and the are the ones measured by Pew and dropping in membership.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_population_growth  shows the growth is in third world countries where Pentacostal/charismatic churches are flourishing.

If Jesus is divine one needs to be a Christian.  If one does not think so, they get eventually drop their faith and focus on involvement in a charity, politics or just stay home and wallow in their imagination.

 

Nothing wishful about it, just observations.  As the reference I provided demonstrates, Christianity is in decline across the spectrum - mainline, evangelical, fundamental, etc.  I think you are giving Progressive Christianity much more credit than it deserves, and totally overlooking the statistics in the Pew research, if you think that it is responsible for this wholesale decline of Christianity.

But I agree with you that few Christians care much about theology these days - I think that is largely because theology is built on a house of cards and with the science and biblical scholarship available these days, fresh minds are reconsidering the previous cultural acceptance of theology that has simply seen its day.  Astonishingly, as the Pew Reserach outlines, whereas more than eight-in-ten members of the Silent Generation (those born between 1928 and 1945) describe themselves as Christians (84%), as do three-quarters of Baby Boomers (76%), in stark contrast only half of Millennials (49%) describe themselves as Christians; four-in-ten are religious “nones,” and one-in-ten Millennials identify with non-Christian faiths.

Just as cultural influence saw Christianity grow, similarly cultural influence of a new age is seeing it wane.

It seems you also are subject to change - you now are quoting Wikipedia yourself when a year ago you were instructing others to give it up! :)  Last February Burl said: "And for goodness sake give up on Wikipedia.". :)

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Wikipedia is useful for thumbnail overviews and for the references.

I’m always open to change, especially new ways to lead people to center their lives around Jesus Christ.  That’s why I like progressivechristianity.org

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1 hour ago, Burl said:

Wikipedia is useful for thumbnail overviews and for the references.

I’m always open to change, especially new ways to lead people to center their lives around Jesus Christ.  That’s why I like progressivechristianity.org

I think most of us who reference Wikipedia already understood that.  Glad it has caught on.

And I agree, a life centred in something affirming and supportive, whether it be Jesus or another way, is why I too like progressivechristianity.org

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