America Becoming Less Christian

America is becoming less “Christian” according to the American Religious Identification Survey from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.

Really? I would have never guessed. (sarcasm implied)

75% of Americans call themselves Christian, according to the survey, where in 1990, the figure was 86%. (CNN, March 3, 2009)

I’ve been looking at these stats for years, and they always seemed to land around 80%. Newsweek did a survey a few years ago and 81% of believers called themselves Christian. About 5 years ago I posted an article on our website about reaching out to the “unchurched” and quoted a stat from 1999 when 82% said they were Christian. But as I stated in that article, many of these proclaimed Christians have no idea what this word means. It seems to mean a lot more about the religion that was handed down to them, rather than being a follower of Christ and his beliefs.

I found it fascinating that the CNN article sited a difference between “evangelicals” and others:

The survey also found that “born-again” or “evangelical” Christianity is on the rise, while the percentage who belong to “mainline” congregations such as the Episcopal or Lutheran churches has fallen.

One in three Americans consider themselves evangelical, and the number of people associated with mega-churches has skyrocketed from less than 200,000 in 1990 to more than 8 million in the latest survey.

The article goes on to note an increasing divide between evangelicals and those turning away from “religion” as a whole. fascinating stuff. I encourage you to read it.

It’s interesting to watch religious (and anti-religious) trends. Last year I blogged about Americans treating religion like a salad bar where they take what they want, and leave what doesn’t match their lifestyle.

This is the time of “what’s in it for me?” This mindset creates a huge divide between true followers of Christ and the rest of the world. Christ’s actual followers believe in love, harmony and self sacrifice, where the world believes in lust, “my rights,” and self preservation.

This divide is not a rebellious divide where Christians make a bunch of noise. It’s a divide where people will see hope in the lives of Christ’s followers and notice something different. These Christians will be ready to answer when people ask about the hope that they have (I Peter 3:15-18)

If the people of Christ continue to grow, then the divide will only become larger.

Hmmmmm.

(ht to KJ)

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; Sex Matters; The Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket; and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers; Connect; and the 10-Minute Talks series. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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One Response to America Becoming Less Christian

  1. chris hall says:

    ultimately this comes down to discipleship. too often, we’re guilty of merely passing off our own faith to our students w/o actually making them disciples. they feed off of the faith of the adults in thier lives, but when it’s just them on thier own, they fail b/c they haven’t been discipled.

    The church is declining because we haven’t discipled our students or our men.