Pew Report: Religion Plummeted During Obama Era

Pew Report: Religion Plummeted During Obama Era

(Link): Pew Report: Religion Plummeted During Obama Era by T D Williams

Excerpts

January 2017

In a new study of President Obama’s legacy, the Pew Research Center found that religious affiliation and practice dropped off dramatically during his two terms in the White House.

“When it comes to the nation’s religious identity, the biggest trend during Obama’s presidency is the rise of those who claim no religion at all,” Pew notes in a report released this week titled “How America Changed During Barack Obama’s Presidency.”

When Barack Obama took office, those who identified as atheists or agnostics along with those who said their religion was “nothing in particular” totaled only 16 percent of the U.S. adult population. On leaving office 8 years later, the non-religious in America now make up nearly a quarter of the population.

On the contrary, the percentage of Americans who say they believe in God, consider religion to be very important in their lives, pray daily and attend religious services at least monthly have all dropped during the Obama years, Pew found.

Continue reading “Pew Report: Religion Plummeted During Obama Era”

Evangelism Using Death, Heaven, Hell Talk Don’t Work on ‘Unchurched’ Americans, Survey Finds

Evangelism Using Death, Heaven, Hell Talk Don’t Work on ‘Unchurched’ Americans, Survey Finds

(Link): Evangelism Using Death, Heaven, Hell Talk Don’t Work on ‘Unchurched’ Americans, Survey Finds by  B. Showalter

Excerpts:

July 2016

Non-church-attending Americans are generally open to talking about faith but few wonder about life after death – which is the tactic many Christians are taught to begin conversations, a new LifeWay Research study commissioned by the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton College finds.

Nashville-based LifeWay Research published a (Link): study Thursday that examines the types of church activities that “unchurched” Americans are interested in as well as how open they are to talking about faith.

By “unchurched” the researchers mean “those who have not attended a worship service in the last six months, outside of a holiday or special occasion like a wedding.” Surprisingly, the survey found that more than half of Americans who don’t go to church self-identify as Christians.

Continue reading “Evangelism Using Death, Heaven, Hell Talk Don’t Work on ‘Unchurched’ Americans, Survey Finds”

The Eclipse of White Christian America

The Eclipse of White Christian America

(Link): The Eclipse of White Christian America

Excerpts:

  • A once powerful demographic group is losing ground in American politics.
  • For most of the country’s history, white Christian America—the cultural and political edifice built primarily by white Protestant Christians—set the tone for our national conversations and shaped American ideals. But today, many white Christian Americans feel profoundly anxious as their numbers and influence are waning.
  • ..The key question is not why one white Protestant subgroup is faring worse than another, but why white Protestantism as a whole—arguably the most powerful cultural force in the history of the United States—has faded. The answer is, in part, a matter of powerful demographic changes.

Continue reading “The Eclipse of White Christian America”

Conservative Christians Anxious Over Declining Clout (news article)

Conservative Christians Anxious Over Declining Clout

I first saw this article Tweeted out by Janet Mefferd, who happens to be a conservative Christian. I happen to like her and respect her, although I don’t always see eye to eye with her on every single topic.

She Tweeted a link to this article (hosted on a Fox news site) and didn’t care for it, because she feels that the author is trying to make conservative Christians look like nuts, loons, or alarmists.

I differ with her a little bit here. I think the main point of the article is right on the money.

I was a conservative Christian since youth, I’m in my 40s now. I’m only very barely holding on to the Christian faith anymore (I am strongly questioning it lately), and I am now more moderate than a hard-right winger as I used to be (not that I was ever a total wing nut, though).

Anyway, my point is, I grew up in this culture.

And yes, conservative Christians do in fact become scared, unsettled, or angry when they see culture shifting away from Judeo-Christian values and beliefs to a more secular stance. The article is quite correct in that.

I have seen conservative Christians on various news shows, Christian shows, and social media screaming, worrying, complaining, or crying about how the nation is going after Christians now, how they are upset that the nation is turning its back on God, how church membership is declining, yada yada yada.

Continue reading “Conservative Christians Anxious Over Declining Clout (news article)”

Leaving Christianity gave me the fairy-tale ending I always wanted / Divorce and pre-marital sex destroyed my relationship with Christianity by T. Sheehan

Leaving Christianity gave me the fairy-tale ending I always wanted / Divorce and pre-marital sex destroyed my relationship with Christianity by T. Sheehan

Even though the details of my life and situation are different, I sure did relate to this lady’s story.

My eye brow did raise at one or two points of this essay, such as her claim that people at her church encouraged her to get an abortion when she became pregnant out of wedlock, and from the way she discusses her church, they sound pretty conservative and legalistic.

Perhaps she is telling the truth and that really did happen, it’s just that most conservative Christians are pro-life, not pro-choice, so I am having a hard time picturing any of them advising a pregnant woman to get an abortion.

With possibly a few wacko Protestant church exceptions, (Link): like this one, where the church’s preacher allegedly encouraged the women members to get abortions. But then, of course, there is information such as this: (Link): 2015 Poll: 70% of American Women Who Have Abortions Identify As Christian

By and large, though, most churches are pro-life, not pro-choice.

At one point in this essay, Sheehan says that although she and her male friend were not having sex, that due to being constantly suspected and accused of having sex by Christians at her church, is actually what in large measure drove her and her boyfriend to become sexually active with one another.

Major irony there. Or maybe not…

As I have said time and again at my blog, most Christians, just like secular culture, just blindly assumes that celibacy is impossible for anyone over the age of 25 or so, and that it is impossible for men and women to be platonic friends.

It is entirely possible for men and women to remain friends, and it is entirely possible for an adult to stay celibate for months or years at a time.

I have also explained before, in previous posts, that one reason there is so much fornication among Christian singles is precisely because most Christians have such low expectations: they expect that single adults will, or have, had sex outside of marriage. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy quite often.

The couple discussed in this post were expected, assumed to be, and suspected by their fellow congregants of sleeping together; this couple got tired of being falsely accused, so they figured, well, we might as well have sex, since everyone is already assuming we are and harassing us over it.

I also notice that one reason this woman’s husband, who was a Christian at one time, but is now an atheist or agnostic, began losing his faith over how miserably his grief (over the death of his father) was mishandled by Christians.

Oh yes, I relate: after my family member’s passing a few years ago, rather than receiving love, empathy, and encouragement from Christians in my family or churches I went to, I instead received judgment, criticism, platitudes, or indifference. This in turn is one of several things that caused me to partially leave the Christian faith.

One of a few things that caused Sheehan to leave the faith is over how one church she attended mishandled her abusive marriage – her priest told her to stay with the abusive husband.

This advice is also usually given in Baptist or Protestant situations. Christians often put keeping an (abusive) marriage before the welfare of the two persons who comprise the marriage.

Abused wives are usually instructed to stay with the abusive spouse and submit to the abuser more, or just pray about things. None of this resolves the situation but actually prolongs it.

I am not surprised in light of all the insensitive treatment that she and her husband endured at the hands of other believers, that they both developed major doubts about Christianity and walked away from it.

There were a few supportive comments to the woman who wrote this, in the comments area under the essay, but there were also a lot of hateful, judgmental, or naive posts left to her by Christians.

There were also a few annoying posts by atheists who were just there to say “all religion is idiotic, there is no God” to any of the well-meaning, yet naive Christians who were telling her to hold on to the faith, in spite of the Christians who had been mean to her at her prior churches.

Honestly, I wish those types of atheists would refrain from posting under articles like this one by Sheehan. I find their opportunistic, anti-theism drivel and rants to be about as bad as the nasty posts by the Christians who scolded Sheehan for leaving Christianity.

(Link): Leaving Christianity gave me the fairy-tale ending I always wanted 

  • Divorce and pre-marital sex destroyed my relationship with Christianity by T. Sheehan
  • My family has always been part of the Catholic Church, including being actively involved in fighting for those beliefs in Ireland and France through the centuries. It is all I knew and I never imagined a life without it. Even in today’s permissive society, divorce is still a huge don’t in the Catholic Church.

    When my priest advised me to stay in an abusive marriage rather than lose access to the Catholic religion, I stayed — until my husband left me for one of the many women he had been seeing.

    I went back to my priest for help but instead found myself without a church.

    Confused and directionless, I ended up seeking help at a Word of Faith Christian Church in Texas.

    Although the church and I both believed in Jesus, the similarities ended there. Everything was so different from what I had grown up with, it made the transition very difficult.

    They kept trying to break down my identity by using scripture to suggest that everything about me, from Catholicism to my Irish culture, was evil and against God. It was like going through spiritual boot camp as they attempted to rebuild me into a person that could gain access to heaven.

    During my time there, I met my current husband. He was also having a tough time as his father had died suddenly the year before, causing him to question the church he had been raised in and even the existence of God due to how they handled his grief.

    We became really good friends who spent hours talking as we each struggled with our sheltered worlds collapsing around us, no matter how hard we tried to fight to keep the walls intact.

    The damage in our lives, caused by blind devotion to a religion, forced us to question all the truths we had been raised to believe.

    Continue reading “Leaving Christianity gave me the fairy-tale ending I always wanted / Divorce and pre-marital sex destroyed my relationship with Christianity by T. Sheehan”

One Woman’s Experience With ‘Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome’

One Woman’s Experience With ‘Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome’

I regularly blog about topics pertaining to singleness, dating, and marriage and so on, but – as someone who has been undergoing a faith crisis the last few years, I am also interested in topics like this one:

(Link): One Woman’s Experience With ‘Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome’ by Carol Kuruvilla

Excerpts:

  • What do you do when the faith you grew up in just doesn’t make sense anymore?
  • This is the dilemma Reba Riley, a 33-year-old from Cincinnati, faced in her late 20s. She was brought up in an evangelical Christian household, but soon realized that the questions she had about her faith weren’t being answered by the theology preached by her family’s church.
  • The spiritual crisis prompted her to embark on a wild journey through 30 different religious traditions in just one year. Half of these were various strands of Christianity — from Mormonism to the practices of the Amish — and the other half included Hinduism, Paganism and others.
  • The purpose of the quest wasn’t necessarily to find a new faith, but to combat the bitterness that had grown in her heart when she thought about God.
  • Three years after her experiment concluded, Riley told The Huffington Post she now calls herself a Christian, but with many, many qualifiers. Her faith is now about practicing love and finding God in unexpected places.

Continue reading “One Woman’s Experience With ‘Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome’”

Why more young women than ever before are skipping church (article from Wash Post)

Why more young women than ever before are skipping church (article from Wash Post)

I wish articles would stop focusing on “young” women. Women over the age of 30, 40, 50 and older are also dropping out of church in droves, and one reason among many are the restrictive gender roles a lot of conservative churches continue to uphold as being “God’s design” or as being “biblical” (but which are not biblical).

Here are excerpts:

(Link):  Why more young women than ever before are skipping church

  • b May 27 at 10:2
  • Growing up in southeastern Indiana, Hannah Hunt questioned religion: Why did church lessons contradict what she learned in public school?
  • She attended services once each Wednesday and twice each Sunday. She saw no female leaders in the nondenominational Church of Christ, the centerpiece of her upbringing. The Bible, she said, called for her to be submissive to men.

  • Her textbooks introduced her to Gloria Steinem.

  • “At church, the woman would be the person in the background,” said Hunt, 24. “As long as I can remember, I would think: This is ridiculous. I’m not that person.”
  • Of course, many young women still embrace religion. But Hunt is far from a generational anomaly.

  • … Teenage girls appear to be disproportionately driving the attitude shift.
  • …Today’s young adults, they found, aren’t as pious as their generational precursors. They’re less likely, on average, to pray or attend religious services. They’re more likely to value individualism and ditch societal expectations.
  • Twice as many high school seniors in 2010, for example, reported “never” attending religious services than those in 1976 — 21 percent, up from about 10 percent…
  • A recent Pew survey found that millennials, born between roughly 1980 and 1996, are more likely than any previous generation to say they’re unaffiliated with religion:…
  • …The majority, however, still practice some form of religion. They’re just “significantly less religiously oriented” than their parents and grandparents, the study said.

    The trend is especially pronounced among girls and young women. They are still more likely to say they go to church or pray than boys and young men. But the gender gap in religious participation has in recent years significantly shrunk.

  • …“Given shifts away from traditional female roles, females may have been affected more than males,” the study team wrote.
  • …“Many religions have a very patriarchal tradition,” Twenge said. “Even for those with female clergy it’s often a recent development. That’s still very much in the minority.”

    Beyond anecdotal evidence, it’s tough to explain the trends. Religion can provide social support and a sense of community. Followers may find purpose and peace in the world’s exalted texts. However, the authors theorize, “if religion is perceived as a dominating force that restricts freedom and enforces social rules, this will be linked with a decline in religious involvement.”

  • Before she could articulate why, Hunt sensed she did not fit into the gender roles prescribed by her religion. She thought women should be able to use birth control without judgment. She wasn’t in any rush to get married. She wanted to decide the terms of her life.

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Related Posts:

(Link):  Southern Baptist’s New Sexist “Biblical Woman” Site – Attitudes in Total Face Palm of a Site One Reason Among Many This Unmarried and Childless Woman Is Saying Toodle-Oo to Christianity

(Link):  Why are Working Women Starting to Unplug from Their Churches? by Sandra Crawford Williamson (Also discusses never married adult women)

(Link):  Are Marriage and Family A Woman’s Highest Calling? by Marcia Wolf – and other links that address the Christian fallacy that a woman’s most godly or only proper role is as wife and mother

(Link): The Irrelevancy To Single or Childless or Childfree Christian Women of Biblical Gender Complementarian Roles / Biblical Womanhood Teachings

(Link): If the Family Is Central, Christ Isn’t

(Link):  The Rise of the Lone She-Wolf by Charlotte Alter

(Link): Is The Church Failing Childless Women? by Diane Paddison

(Link): Lies The Church Tells Single Women (by Sue Bohlin)