31% of Americans Experience Loneliness Daily; 1 in 5 Practicing Christians Say the Same: Study – article by Leonardo Blair
The church should act as friends and family to all – but do most churches do this? No.
Most Christians expect that you run out, marry, create your own nuclear family and get most to all companionship via that marriage/family.
Those Christians and the rest then sit around on social media, podcasts, and blogs complaining and shaming anyone who doesn’t marry or have children.
They choose to complain about an issue rather than look for or implement solutions, or minister to people who cannot, or do not, ever marry, have children of their own, or have a nuclear family.
I have more commentary below this excerpt:
by Leonardo Blair
Loneliness is being experienced by 31% of U.S. adults daily and Christians aren’t doing much better, new research from the Barna Group suggests.
Data for the research done in partnership with behavioral scientist Susan Mettes and the evangelical polling firm Barna was collected through online surveys from 1,003 U.S. adults from Feb. 18 to March 2, 2020, and 1,000 U.S. adults from April 28 to May 5, 2020.
The data is highlighted in Mettes’ new book, The Loneliness Epidemic, and examines rates of loneliness, both across the nation and within the Church. Described by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as “the feeling of being alone, regardless of the amount of social contact,” loneliness is linked to poorer health outcomes.
“In [this] academic research, loneliness is the distress someone feels when their social connections don’t meet their need for emotional intimacy,” Mettes explains.
“It’s lack, it’s disappointment, it’s something we are conscious of, even when we don’t call it loneliness. Loneliness is a thirst that drives us to seek companionship — or, perhaps better, fellowship. Without fellowship, we go on needing others and seeking relief for that need.”
The study found that three in 10 U.S. adults experience loneliness at least once daily, and such a feeling usually comes with pain.
For U.S. adults who experienced loneliness at least once within the past week, more than 40% of that group said the feelings of loneliness ranged from intense to unbearable.
…“Loneliness and social isolation aren’t just social issues — they can also affect a person’s physical and mental health, and the fabric of communities,” Dan Blazer, a professor of community and family medicine at Duke University who chaired the commission that published the report, said in a statement.
….Barna compared the rate of loneliness in the Church with the rate of loneliness in the general population and found little difference.
U.S. churchgoers reported similar levels of loneliness as their non-churchgoing peers, with both groups closely aligned with the average Barna found.
“Looking at committed faith practice, practicing Christians — those who identify as Christian, agree strongly that faith is very important in their lives and have attended church within the past month — do show a slight decrease in how often they feel lonely, when compared to churched adults and the general population,” Barna noted. “However, a notable one in five (20%) still feels lonely at least once each day, with 10 percent being lonely all the time.”
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I’m not sure I agree with this portion of the article – too many Christians get preoccupied and hung up on what they think is the “church’s only (or main) purpose” and they usually feel fine omitting situations or things that they already have that others are going without:
“There is a real danger of letting positive psychology hijack the Church’s real purpose,” Mettes said. “It is because of what the Christian faith teaches that Christians do so many things that are good for loneliness (i.e. group singing, community service, meeting in person). But confronting loneliness isn’t an ultimate goal. In the taxonomy of church priorities, it is a subcategory of loving your neighbor.”
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I would guess that Mettes is probably happily married and/or has plenty of close friends or family members he (or she?) can phone up at any time if he needs help or an ear to listen and care. Not everyone has that.
I don’t know about you, but during all the years I was a devout Christian, theology, the Gospel, the Bible, or Jesus never met all my needs all the time; these Christians who keep spouting off about worshipping Jesus or sharing the Gospel being the one and only purpose of the church are deluding themselves and must be living pretty privileged lives.
At any rate, I didn’t realize that there is an issue with loneliness among Christians.
(Link): Why Lonely People Stay Lonely