Wednesday, April 08, 2009

"The End of Christian America" by Newsweek

This week Newsweek came out with a front page article entitled "The End of Christian America."This article was prompted by the recent religious survey of Americans that we recently reported on. This survey showed that the percentage of Americans that identified themselves as having no religion has doubled in the last decade to 15% of the US population. This is but one of many signs pointing to the crumbling of Christendom in the US.

Here is an excerpt of the Newseek story:


In Texas, authorities have decided to side with science, not theology, in a dispute over the teaching of evolution. The terrible economic times have not led to an increase in church attendance. In Iowa last Friday, the state Supreme Court ruled against a ban on same-sex marriage, a defeat for religious conservatives. Such evidence is what has believers fretting about the possibility of an age dominated by a newly muscular secularism."The moral teachings of Christianity have exerted an incalculable influence on Western civilization," Mohler says. "As those moral teachings fade into cultural memory, a secularized morality takes their place. Once Christianity is abandoned by a significant portion of the population, the moral landscape necessarily changes. For the better part of the 20th century, the nations of Western Europe led the way in the abandonment of Christian commitments. Christian moral reflexes and moral principles gave way to the loosening grip of a Christian memory. Now even that Christian memory is absent from the lives of millions."


In the past, economic declines have led to people coming back to churches. This has not happened this time, the article points out--yet another sign of the religious decline in America. People are still "spiritual," but more and more they look to places other than churches to find God and self-actualization.This means that churches can no longer adopt a mere "build it and they will come attitude."

Today, I went on an exploration of the North Dallas area with a couple of our elders and two members of Mission Alive. One church in the Prosper area has devoted $20 million dollars to a new facility. With the decline in religion happening so rapidly, one cannot help wonder if these types of buildings--including our own--will be largely empty in 20-30 years.Churches must learn to recapture our mission and share Christ with a world that increasingly does not him and is rejecting what it perceives--rightly or wrongly--as institutional Christianity. Church growth theory is dead and dying. Gathering up Christians from struggling churches will no longer be sufficient to replenish the pews. We must recapture mission as the heart of the church's purpose.
For my part, I would not say that I am eager to face this future, but I am ready. In truth, nominal Christianity, both in our fellowship and in the larger Christian world, is doing little for either God or believers. When laws start to go against us (as they already are) and our political leaders no longer support our causes, this may cause us to wake up and take our faith seriously. The line between believers and non-believers will sharpen. And this may be a good thing, making us realize that we must share Christ with those around us.

What do you think of the religious decline in America? Are you scared, stoice, indifferent, or excited, about the future?


Corey said...

I hope that Christianity continues to decline! at least the christianity of modern america(callous, unloving, politicized, unaccepting of dissenting viewpoints, and at times hateful)

the Christianity of 'love your neighbor as yourself' that accepts homosexuals, and loves them, would be nice.