Finally, the experts have weighed in on the collapse of religion.
The Guardian reports:
Fewer than half of Americans belong to a house of worship, a new study shows, but religion – and Christianity in particular – continues to have an outsize influence in US politics, especially because it is declining faster among Democrats than Republicans.
Just 47% of the US population are members of a church, mosque or synagogue, according to a survey by Gallup, down from 70% two decades ago – in part a result of millennials turning away from religion but also, experts say, a reaction to the swirling mix of rightwing politics and Christianity pursued by the Republican party.
The evidence comes as Republicans in some states have pursued extreme “Christian nationalist” policies, attempting to force their version of Christianity on an increasingly uninterested public.
This week the governor of Arkansas signed a law allowing doctors to refuse to treat LGBTQ people on religious grounds, and other states are exploring similar legislation.
Gallup began asking Americans about their church membership in 1937 – and for decades the number was always above 70%. That began to change in 2000, and the number has steadily dropped ever since.
Some of the decline is attributable to changing generations, with about 66% of people born before 1946 are still members of a church, compared to just 36% of millennials.
Among other groups Gallup reported, the decline in church membership stands out among self-identified Democrats and independents. The number of Democratic church members dropped by 25% over the 20 year period, with independents decreasing by 18%. Republican church members declined too, but only by 12%.
David Campbell, professor and chair of the University of Notre Dame’s political science department and co-author of American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us, said a reason for the decline among those groups is political – an “allergic reaction to the religious right”.
“Many Americans – especially young people – see religion as bound up with political conservatism, and the Republican party specifically,” Campbell said.
“Since that is not their party, or their politics, they do not want to identify as being religious. Young people are especially allergic to the perception that many – but by no means all – American religions are hostile to LGBTQ rights.”
Modern “Christians” read this stuff and think “well, I guess we need more anal flags at the church.”
Research by Campbell shows that a growing number of Americans have turned away from religion as politicians – particularly Republicans – have mixed religion with their politics. Campbell says there has always been an ebb and flow in American adherence to religion, but he thinks the current decline is likely to continue.
“I see no sign that the religious right, and Christian nationalism, is fading. Which in turn suggests that the allergic reaction will continue to be seen – and thus more and more Americans will turn away from religion,” he said.
The number of people who identify as non-religious has grown steadily in recent decades, according to Michele Margolis, associate professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania and author of From Politics to the Pews. More than 20% of all Americans are classed as “nones”, Margolis said, and more than a third of Americans under 30.
“That means non-identification is going to continue becoming a larger share of population over time as cohort replacement continues to occur,” Margolis said. But she agreed another factor is the rightwing’s infusion of politics with theism.
“As religion has been closed linked with conservative politics, we’ve had Democrats opting out of organized religion, or being less involved, and Republicans opting in,” she said.
Christian nationalists – who believe America was established as, and should remain, a Christian country – have pushed a range of measures to thrust their version of religion into American life.
The article goes on with this theme – American values disconnected from traditional American religious values.
This is the total opposite of the way things should be viewed.
The church exists for the specific and arguably sole purpose of instilling values in the people. If the church fails to instill values, then it is the church that has failed – not the people.
And be ye clear on this matter: it is the church that has failed society. Society didn’t fail the church – that concept doesn’t make any sense. It is like a parent claiming that their toddler lives in the woods alone because their toddler developed other interests.
In the Bible, Jesus describes the body of the church as “sheep,” and the leader as a shepherd. As you age, and you learn things, you become more and more understanding of the fact that most people are in fact sheep-like in nature. A shepherd has both authority and responsibility. The shepherd doesn’t let the sheep wander all over the place and then say “oh well – those sheep have different values, I guess.”
The failure of the church in the 20th century is quite frankly the worst disaster in all of human history, and everything that you see is a result of that failure.
It all began with the acceptance of feminism. If the church would have held strong, they could have weathered all of this. Instead, they cracked on feminism, then they just kept cracking.
Even right now, you could go out and teach hardcore Christian values, and gain a huge following. You could do it rapidly. The only fear is that you would at this point be arrested, assassinated, did up on fake sex charges, or whatever, because the dereliction of duty by the church has led to a society where a real church would be considered villainous.
The Bible is very clear on the woman issue. Women are to submit.
Everything that the church did after allowing women to run wild is invalid. These are actions taken while under the influence of feminine thinking.
But the church even went so far as to allow divorce – even whilst the Bible says even if a Christian woman is married to a non-Christian, she cannot divorce him and should instead try to influence him with her good behavior to become a Christian.
The original sin of the Western church is the original sin of Adam – giving decision-making power to women.
You would have to go back to the beginning of the problem to fix the problem.
Then, you’d have to from there address the Jewish issue, and all of the issues that have sprung forth from that issue.
A true Christian church would immediately be classified as a “right-wing extreme” organization.
There is nothing at all appealing about the modern church, as it attempts to gain favor with the world, instead of pushing back against it.