Christian Nation?

Monday, April 06, 2009 Posted by Shattered Paradigm

The new American Religious Identification Survey shows that most religions in the United States are losing members rapidly. According to the survey, the percentage of self-identified Christians in the U.S. has fallen 10 percentage points since 1990, from 86 percent of the population to 76 percent.

The survey also reports that Catholics, Baptists and other mainline Protestant denominations have seen large drops in numbers since 1990.

The number of Americans who claim no religion at all has reached 15%, which is up from 8% in 1990. Islam, Wicca and eastern religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism also show large gains in the survey.

Acknowledging this same trend, Newsweek recently ran a major article entitled: The End Of Christian America. Newsweek ran their own poll about religion and it turned up some stunning findings:

*Fewer people now think of the United States as a "Christian nation" than when George W. Bush was president (62 percent in 2009 versus 69 percent in 2008).
*About two thirds of the public (68 percent) now say religion is "losing influence" in American society.
*The percentage of Americans who think religion "can answer all or most of today's problems" is now at a historic low of 48 percent.

This trend of Americans moving away from Christianity is showing up even more prominently among young adults. A shocking new survey by the Barna group reveals that less than 1 percent of all Americans between the ages of 18 and 23 have a Biblical worldview. This new data clearly shows that the youngest adults in America have clearly rejected traditional Christianity.

Barna's survey defined having a Biblical worldview as holding the following beliefs:

*Believing that absolute moral truth exists
*Believing that the Bible is completely accurate in all of the principles it teaches
*Believing that Satan is considered to be a real being or force, not merely symbolic
*Believing that a person cannot earn their way into heaven by trying to be good or by doing good works
*Believing that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth
*Believing that God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today.

But even those who still call themselves Christians do not necessarily hold to traditional Christian beliefs any longer. Two other recent surveys show that the majority of American Christians believe that accepting Jesus Christ as savior is NOT the only way to eternal life.

USAToday recently reported on an almost unbelievable new survey that has found that 52 percent of American Christians believe that eternal life is not exclusively for those who accept Jesus Christ as their savior.

A different survey that was taken last year by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life found that 57 percent of evangelical Christians in America believe that "many religions can lead to eternal life".

That shocking study revealed what many Christians have known for quite some time - apostasy among "evangelical Christians" is spreading, and it is spreading rapidly.

Evangelical Christians are supposedly those who follow the teachings of the Bible the closest. But this survey shows that even a majority of them do not even believe in the most fundamental precepts of the Christians faith.

For example, John 14:6 says the following:

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

If there was another way for our sins to be forgiven, then why did Jesus need to die on the cross? If there were other ways to salvation, then Jesus could have come down to earth, pointed out a bunch of other ways to get to heaven, and then could have gone back up to heaven without having to deal with the cross.

But the reality is that there was no other way for our sins to be paid for.

And yet these new surveys reveal that a majority of American Christians now believe that there are other ways to heaven.

The Pew survey also revealed that 45% of Americans as a whole say they seldom or never read their religion's holy books.

Perhaps if more Americans were reading the Bible then they would know what is truth and what is error. Instead, Americans have surrounded themselves with preachers and self-help coaches and ministers who tell them what they want to hear, who always make them feel comfortable and who never tell them about sin, holiness or the judgment of God.

The current situation in America reminds us of 2 Timothy 4:3.....

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

The sad reality is that the trends all show that church attendance in America is in decline.

Dave Olson, the director of church planting for the Evangelical Covenant Church, has done some really interesting research into the church attendance patterns of Americans.

Olson's findings contain a ton of bad news. For starters, his research found that the percentage of Americans regularly attending church is only 18.7%.

Olson has put his findings into an eye opening slideshow entitled "Twelve Surprising Facts about the US Church".

Here are some of the things that he found:

The percentage of people who actually physically attend a Christian church each week is quite a bit below what pollsters report.

The percentage of people who attended a Christian church each week decreased significantly between 1990 and 2000.

Only one state, Hawaii, actually saw an increase in the percentage of the population attending church between 1990 and 2000. Every other state in the entire nation saw a decrease in church attendance.

Evangelicals, mainline Protestants, and Catholics are each strong in very different regions of the nation.

The church planting rate has been declining steadily throughout the history of the United States.

If these current trends continue, the percentage of the U.S. population that attends church each week in 2050 will be about half of what it is today.

So what does all of this mean?

It means that America is not a Christian nation any longer.

The percentage of Christians in America is rapidly declining, while other religions are gaining members rapidly. Even many of those who still call themselves "Christians" have rejected the fundamental principles of traditional Christianity.

However, sometimes when things seem the darkest is just when God brings new light on to the scene. As old institutions die out, perhaps God will bring something to pass which will be even greater than anything America has ever seen before.

3 comments:

  1. mike said...

    does it matter what symbol we use? they all appear to have the same dynamics of good and evil, a blueprint (albeit archaic) for living in the world with others......it is far more important to recognize the existence of one's self in relation to the world...not some monolithic set of rigid idols.

  2. mike said...

    religion has been usurped by intelligence....there is still a valid functional form for living...albeit archaic..but the monolithic dogma that encompasses the three major religions is finally being shown for the tired failed set of rules that no longer apply to the world as a whole being.

  3. S2G said...

    I believe that Christianity has suffered in the U.S. because of several factors. Firstly, the Catholic church has had an almost ongoing issue with the sexual conduct of its priests, with a lot of negative implications. Secondly, the Evangelicals and focused too much on religion for profit and gain - building distastefully big "temples" and the like and making millionaires out of their preachers. Finally, the Bush administration's involvement in funding religious initiatives broke America's idea of a clear separation of church and state - damaging religion's credibility and using it as a government tool.

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