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Old 10-09-2009, 11:15 AM
 
Location: Utah
2,331 posts, read 2,953,391 times
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Where have all the Christians gone?

A recent article on FoxNews.com revealed the following:


1. The number of Christians has declined 12% since 1990, and is now 76%, the lowest percentage in American history.

2. Non-Christians are not particularly atheist. That number hasnít budged and stands at less than 1 percent. (Agnostics are similarly less than 1 percent.) Instead, these individuals have a belief in God but no interest in organized religion, or they believe in a personal God but not in a formal faith tradition.

3. Americans are interested in God, but they donít think existing institutions are helping them draw closer to God.


The writer of that article concludes:

"Today, the rise of disaffection is so powerful that different denominations need to band together to find a shared language of God that can move beyond the fading divisions of the past and begin moving toward a partnership of different-but-equal traditions.

Or risk becoming Europe, where religion is fast becoming an afterthought."

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2009/09/25/bruce-feiler-christians-americans-gone/



It is my personal opinion, from having participated on many discussion boards, that one of the major reasons so many Christians are becoming disenchanted with organized religion is because many ministers of religion, instead of teaching the beautiful uplifting things that come from living the Gospel of Jesus Christ as taught in their particular denomination, are teaching about 'evils' that are to be found in the beliefs and religious practices of other religious denominations. And in that manner paid professional pastors and priests are creating much of the sometimes vicious rivalry among otherwise sincere good-living followers of Jesus Christ who love and trust their Savior but have been taught to believe that only their own particular package of biblical interpretions and understandings will get you to heaven.



1. Do you think it likely that a significant number of people are leaving organized Christian denominations because their pastors and leaders are not helping them move towards a satisfying personal relationship with God?


2. Do you think it likely that a significant number of people are leaving organized Christian denominations because of bickering about biblical interpretions and understandings?


3. What can be done to lessen the interdenominational bickering and bigotry that is so commonly expressed on religion discussion boards?


4. What can clergy of all denominations do to help members of their flock draw closer to God?
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Old 10-09-2009, 11:25 AM
 
8,989 posts, read 12,451,056 times
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Ahhhh...yes the dreaded word,"compromise" which then leads to pragmatism. The exact same reason churches died in Europe. They reasoned churches right out of Europe just like Adam and Eve reasoned themselves right out of the garden, as the devil asked, "Did God really say?" Are you sure that is what He said? Are you positive? Can you really know the truth? Is there truth? "You know you should love and not be exclusive? Are you sure it is not self righteous arrogance? Can't we find a compromise by not being dogmatic and sitting at this table and tell you why we think we are right, but were not being dogmatic

They might as well be atheist, Jesus said, there is no fence, you are either His child or a child of the devil.
The sad part over the years in churches is that Christians have not been more serious in teaching the distinction between sheep and goats, anyone can be a member in church and anyone can live a lifestyle of sin and go to church resulting in God's name and the gospel to be blasphemed by hypocrites living an ungodly lifestyle but professing to be godly.

I love China! China is where the true church is. China has more Christians than the United States and I can say with certainty that over 90% of Chinese that profess to be Christian are true Christians because they have gone through the purification process called "persecution" Pretenders and hypocrites would never stick around long enough to be persecuted. The United States is yet to go through such a purification so we are stuck with the wheat and the tears among each other that Jesus warned us about.

Last edited by Fundamentalist; 10-09-2009 at 12:35 PM..
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Old 10-09-2009, 12:02 PM
 
7,788 posts, read 10,447,904 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justamere10 View Post

3. What can be done to lessen the interdenominational bickering and bigotry that is so commonly expressed on religion discussion boards?

Ah ha!

Now you're talkin'!!!

A question after June's own heart!
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Old 10-09-2009, 12:59 PM
 
Location: New Jersey
4,085 posts, read 7,449,901 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justamere10 View Post
Where have all the Christians gone?

A recent article on FoxNews.com revealed the following:


1. The number of Christians has declined 12% since 1990, and is now 76%, the lowest percentage in American history.

2. Non-Christians are not particularly atheist. That number hasn’t budged and stands at less than 1 percent. (Agnostics are similarly less than 1 percent.) Instead, these individuals have a belief in God but no interest in organized religion, or they believe in a personal God but not in a formal faith tradition.

3. Americans are interested in God, but they don’t think existing institutions are helping them draw closer to God.


The writer of that article concludes:

"Today, the rise of disaffection is so powerful that different denominations need to band together to find a shared language of God that can move beyond the fading divisions of the past and begin moving toward a partnership of different-but-equal traditions.

Or risk becoming Europe, where religion is fast becoming an afterthought."

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2009/09/25/bruce-feiler-christians-americans-gone/
While there may be a bit of truth to the writer's conclusion, the fact remains that he makes presumptions. Nowhere does he account for the increased diversity of the population. In recent decades we have seen the largest influx of non-Christian immigrants who follow a different religion, such as Buddhism, Hinduism, or Islam.

The data provided is insufficient. It provides no information regarding the increase in other religions, such as the aforementioned ones, which would correlate to higher numbers of East Asians, East Indians, various Middle Eastern and Europeans who are traditionally culturally Muslim (e.g. turks, albanians, etc.). This is not to mention other non-Christian cultures that may have increased.

So, if:
- the percentage of Christians has decreased
- the percentage of atheists and agnostics has "not budged" and remains the same

...then the US is not going the way of Europe as suggested by the writer, as Europe is experiencing numbers of people leaving Christianity in favor of atheism or agnostism.

Therefore, if the percentage of Christians has declined and not gone to other religions or to atheism or agnostism, it would make sense that the proportion (i.e. percentage) of Christians has decreased due to an inversely proportionate rise in the percentage of members of other religions. And those religions, for all we know (as the study revealed nothing about it) can be anything from new age religions to pagan religions to other major world religions like Buddhism or Hinduism or Islam.

I know that in my state I have seen a huge increase in ethnic groups like Indians and various asian ethnicities, as well as muslims. As a child I never saw much more than Christian Churches and Jewish Temples/Synagogues, yet now I see newer Jainist/Hindu/Sikh temples, Buddhist Temples, Islamic mosques, etc. It would make sense to me that the increase in cultural diversity in this nation has brought with it an increase in religious diversity as well, and it would only make sense that the percentage of Christians would decrease.

It's a typical Fox News alarmist article - they want to suggest that Christianity is waning in order to rile up ultra-religious (not ultra-Christian, but ultra-religious) conservatives into a frenzy so they can enhance their viewership. Very much like the "war on Christmas" non-story they came up with in the last couple years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by justamere10 View Post
It is my personal opinion, from having participated on many discussion boards, that one of the major reasons so many Christians are becoming disenchanted with organized religion is because many ministers of religion, instead of teaching the beautiful uplifting things that come from living the Gospel of Jesus Christ as taught in their particular denomination, are teaching about 'evils' that are to be found in the beliefs and religious practices of other religious denominations. And in that manner paid professional pastors and priests are creating much of the sometimes vicious rivalry among otherwise sincere good-living followers of Jesus Christ who love and trust their Savior but have been taught to believe that only their own particular package of biblical interpretions and understandings will get you to heaven.
I disagree. First of all, you're going on the incorrect assumption you've made, based on the fox news article, that people are fleeing Christianity in droves. That is not a valid assumption because a lower percentage can be attributed to increased religious diversity, as I explained above. I don't believe people are fleeing Christianity at any significantely greater rate than they have in the past.

Also, I think that while there are indeed scammers and liars amongst the vast, diverse group that can be called Christian "clergy", they account for less of the "defection" of those who call themselves Christians than those who leave because they never actually believed. In other words, many call themselves "Christians" because they are raised as "Christians" culturally and religiously but without an actual faith behind it.

I base that opinion on what I see and hear from others as well as from what I've experienced myself. Many who "leave Christianity" will absolutely pin it on some sinister, evil, hypocritical preacher or priest or denomination, etc. However, there are many, like me, who remain Christians despite the fact that we know there are some evil "Christian leaders" (who are phonies and hypocrites) out there. It's easy for people to find a scapegoat to justify their choice to reject Christ and "leave Christianity". But the fact is that they have made that exact choice.

As for your assertion that there is deep denominational division, I can say that my experience is that the division is nowhere as deep as you imply it is. The fact is that all orthodox, traditional Christian denominations, from Baptist to Catholic to Presbyterian to Greek Orthodox to Lutheran, acknowledge each other as brethren in Christ, as fellow Christians, and all agree on key essentials. The rivalry amongst them can be intense at times, but anyone who knows what a sibling rivalry is like would understand that the love underneath it all is strong and binding. I have not heard many who left Christianity and blamed it on the fact that there are so many denominations they don't know which one is "right"; and if someone made such a claim, it would be in pure ignorance, because anybody who understands Christiianity on the most basic level would understand that they are all "right" in the essentials and key doctrines, and they differ on the non-essentials, such as rituals, worship styles, missions and ministry methods, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by justamere10 View Post
1. Do you think it likely that a significant number of people are leaving organized Christian denominations because their pastors and leaders are not helping them move towards a satisfying personal relationship with God?
Perhaps. But that just exposes the ignorance and lack of understanding of such a person, if he or she is indeed relying on the pastor or priest to somehow manipulate him or her into "a satisfying personal relationship with God". It's like blaming your marriage counselor for the breakup of your marriage; while the counselor may have been inept, the fact remains that your marriage was doomed because of your own, personal lack of relationship with the other person. A counselor can help people in a marriage to make the decision individually to change and fix the marriage, but really a counselor can't ruin what's already ruined.

Quote:
Originally Posted by justamere10 View Post
2. Do you think it likely that a significant number of people are leaving organized Christian denominations because of bickering about biblical interpretions and understandings?
No. I think people who leave usually end up joining other denominations if they disagree with the one they're in, and I even know of people who will leave a church that has division and contention but only to go to another church of the same denomination. I think most rational people understand that churches are made up of imperfect human beings, and when those people behave inappropriately it's no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater, so they may leave that church but they will find a different one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by justamere10 View Post
3. What can be done to lessen the interdenominational bickering and bigotry that is so commonly expressed on religion discussion boards?
I'm not sure that there's a whole lot of inter-denominational bickering and bigotry; most of the bickering and bigotry is inter-religious. I think having a Christianity forum is very helpful as it gives Christians a place to talk without instigation from anti-Christians. I see a lot of good-natured discussion and argument in the Christianity forum. There's bound to be some bickering but I don't think it's nearly as bad as you imply; there's far more bickering amongst people of different religions (or non-religions, i.e. atheism/agnostism). Having an atheist forum helps, also. The only other thing that would help would be to add more forums for other religions, but most of them seem to generate little talk from people, anyway. But it would be good to have separate forums for Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Mormonism, Paganism, Satanism, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by justamere10 View Post
4. What can clergy of all denominations do to help members of their flock draw closer to God?
Obey God and preach His Word and His Gospel, which will involve preaching about sin and punishment as well as holiness, forgiveness, and salvation.

So where have the Christians gone? Nowhere, really.
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Old 10-09-2009, 01:02 PM
 
Location: arizona ... most of the time
11,822 posts, read 9,813,518 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justamere10 View Post
1. Do you think it likely that a significant number of people are leaving organized Christian denominations because their pastors and leaders are not helping them move towards a satisfying personal relationship with God?
No. They are leaving because of their itching ears.

The second problem is that that many people make religion based on feelings, rather than basing it on what God revealed that all was what needed for salvation...God's word as revealed in the Bible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by justamere10 View Post
2. Do you think it likely that a significant number of people are leaving organized Christian denominations because of bickering about biblical interpretions and understandings?
No. That is an excuse. It's solely because people don't remain in Jesus.
B. It's not a "significant number"
Quote:
Originally Posted by justamere10 View Post
3. What can be done to lessen the interdenominational bickering and bigotry that is so commonly expressed on religion discussion boards?
Nothing can be done humanly speaking. When was there a time that the 12 Apostles not bickered while Jesus walked the earth?


Quote:
Originally Posted by justamere10 View Post
4. What can clergy of all denominations do to help members of their flock draw closer to God?
1. To teach\stay in the truth, so as to be enable the flock to identify and not listen to the false teachers, those who pose as a Christian church when not (wolf in sheep's clothing).
2. Pray for the flock, and warn about trying to accommodate false teaching.
3. Instruct the flock in the basics of Christianity.
4. Understand that the predators of Christianity are described as a wolf for a reason.
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Old 10-09-2009, 01:22 PM
 
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Retaining ancient primitive concepts of God for over 2000+ years has stretched the belief capacity of increasingly educated and knowledgeable individuals. The predictable (but counterproductive) response by those wedded to the primitive beliefs has been to increase their efforts. The increased exposure to such intellectually unsupportable beliefs has publicly crystallized the absurdity of them in light of modern knowledge. This has polarized and tainted ALL versions of Christianity and produced increased departures from the religious institutions.
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Old 10-09-2009, 01:39 PM
Status: "Build the damn wall!" (set 8 days ago)
 
Location: The Haunted Mansion
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Too many churches have watered down the Gospel in an attempt to be "user-friendly". A watered-down Gospel is not worth having!
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Old 10-09-2009, 02:44 PM
 
Location: East Coast
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Here The "Out of Church" Christians - BOOK by Andrew Strom.
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Old 10-10-2009, 06:30 AM
juj
 
Location: Too far from MSG
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Have all people come together as one and come home to the Catholic Church and remove all the confusion from the face of the earth. Unity is the key as it is in any movement.
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Old 10-10-2009, 07:58 AM
 
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I think there is a clear connection between the rise of Liberalism in the church leadership and the fall of church membership.

Look at what has happened to the Episcopalians and the Lutherans in just the last generation as Liberalism took over....their memberships slide.

Has any denomination that has opened the door to the Gays being in church leadership had the church membership grow as a result?

Notice also, the denominations that allow for an easy divorce, tend to also see their numbers slide.
and...
Churches that do not take a strong stand against ABORTION, tend to close their Sunday school classrooms due to a lack of kids....yet never make the connection.
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