Great follow and questions here:

http://religionnews.com/2016/09/12/seven-follow-ups-on-ten-reasons-for-christian-decline/

Sent from my iPhone

> On Sep 7, 2016, at 12:52, BILROJ via Centroids: The Center of the Radical 
> Centrist Community <RadicalCentrism@googlegroups.com> wrote:
> 
>  
> Religion News Service
>  
> Why is Christianity declining?
> By David Gushee  | September 6, 2016
> 
>  
> The number of Christians and cultural strength of Christianity are both 
> declining in the United States. This decline is noticeable and is affecting 
> church life, culture, and politics. It is also deeply disturbing to most 
> Christians, including me.
> 
> These descriptive claims are found in my new book, A Letter to My Anxious 
> Christian Friends, just out with Westminster John Knox Press. I will be 
> reflecting on themes from that new book in my blog posts over the next few 
> weeks. This is the first, exploring Christian decline in the United States.
> 
> I could now spend several paragraphs inviting a debate over whether and in 
> what sense Christianity really can be said to be in decline in the U.S. But I 
> won’t. Suffice it to say that when one percent fewer Americans each year 
> claim a Christian affiliation, that marks decline. When most denominations 
> and congregations report declining membership and attendance, that marks 
> decline. When more and more congregations close their doors forever, that 
> marks decline. And when the youngest generation shows the greatest 
> disaffiliation trend, that marks a decline likely to have lasting impact.
> 
> No, the more interesting question at this point is why. Why this 
> disaffiliation trend? What are its causes?
> 
> An interesting problem in recent conversations about Christian decline is 
> that many who weigh in appear to be defending their side in internal 
> Christian conflicts and controversies. Undoubtedly there is some truth to 
> their respective claims, but their polemic purposes must be considered.
> 
> For example, many conservative evangelicals have for a long time pinned 
> Christian decline on the mainline liberals, stating that if they had held 
> firmly to a more robust and orthodox Christianity, they would have done 
> better.
> 
> On the other hand, many mainliners, not to mention disaffected evangelicals 
> and ex-evangelicals, have made quite the opposite claim. For them, Christian 
> decline is due to the excesses and rigidities of conservative religion.
> 
> Having experienced both kinds of churches, I have witnessed both kinds of 
> disaffiliation: ex-mainliners leaving because their churches were so insipid, 
> and ex-evangelicals leaving because they could not reconcile conservative 
> faith with science, critical thinking, or the contemporary world.
> 
> So let’s count both of those as reasons why some are disaffiliating. Here is 
> my very tentative proposal for eight other reasons:
> 
> –Prosperity and affluence distract people from regular church attendance and 
> reduce a strong sense of need to be in church, gradually eroding not just 
> church attendance but Christian identity.
> 
> –The pre-modern claims of traditional Christian faith appear increasingly 
> incredible to postmodern Americans. It has been a very long time since a 
> majority of cultural elites found Christianity’s supernatural claims, for 
> example, to be credible. These elites dominate our culture.
> 
> –Hypocrisies and conflicts in church, when they (inevitably) erupt, don’t 
> just drive people to other churches, as in the past, but sometimes take them 
> out of Christianity altogether.
> 
> –The fading of cultural Christianity means that fewer and fewer Americans 
> feel any cultural or familial expectation to be in church or practice 
> Christianity. “It was good enough for grandpa” just doesn’t cut it anymore.
> 
> –American Christianity is not producing many compelling leaders, and thus the 
> average church (as well as the Church writ large) is not especially inspiring 
> or visionary. Many ministers play it safe in order to keep their jobs, or are 
> simply not that talented.
> 
> –The collapse of any protection of Sunday from recreation and work, together 
> with the gig economy, means many people are working or otherwise engaged on 
> Sunday.
> 
> –It is harder for parents to pass the faith onto their children in a wired 
> world in which parental influence is in decline.
> 
> –Evangelism is dead. No one really knows how to “share the Christian faith” 
> any more in a way that connects with people, and many Christians have stopped 
> trying.
> 
> So that’s ten proposed reasons why Christianity is declining in the United 
> States. I invite you to add your own reasons for this significant trend. In a 
> later post I will reflect on what might be done to redress the problems the 
> churches now face.
> 
> -- 
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