Mike Curtiss (20
"The Decline Of
Christianity In America Will Radically Affect The Future
Of This Nation"
The Decline Of Christianity In America Will
Radically Affect The Future Of This Nation
in decline in America? When you examine the cold, hard numbers
it is simply not possible to come to any other conclusion. Over
the past few decades, the percentage of Christians in America
has been steadily declining. This has especially been true among
young people. As you will see later in this article, there has
been a mass exodus of teens and young adults out of U.S.
churches. In addition, what "Christianity" means to
today is often far different from what "Christianity" meant to
their parents and their grandparents.
Millions upon millions of Christians in the United States simply
do not believe many of the fundamental principles of the
Christian faith any longer. Without a doubt, America is becoming
a less "Christian" nation. This has staggering implications for
the future of this country. The United States was founded
primarily by Christians that were seeking to escape religious
persecution. For those early settlers, the Christian faith was
the very center of their lives, and it deeply affected the laws
that they made and the governmental structures that they
established. So what is the future of America going to look like
if we totally reject the principles that this nation was founded
Christianity is still the largest religion in the world by far.
According to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, there
are currently 2.2 billion Christians in the world. So
Christianity is not in danger of disappearing any time soon. In
fact, in some areas of the globe it is experiencing absolutely
explosive growth. But in the United States, things are
different. Churches are shrinking, skepticism is growing and
apathy about spiritual matters seems to be at an all-time high.
examine the data, let me disclose that I am a Christian. I am
not bashing Christians or the Christian faith at all in this
article. In fact, I consider the decline of Christianity in
America to be a very bad thing. Not everyone is going to agree
with me on that, but hopefully this article will help spark a
debate on the role of religion in America that everyone can
learn something from.
Unfortunately, the reality is that most Americans spend very
little time thinking about religion or spiritual matters these
Just consider the following quote from a recent USA Today
"The real dirty
little secret of religiosity in America is that there are so
many people for whom spiritual interest, thinking about ultimate
questions, is minimal," says Mark Silk, professor of religion
and public life at Trinity College" This is backed up by the
numbers. For example, a survey taken last year by LifeWay
Research found that 46 percent of all Americans never think
about whether they will go to heaven or not.
To most Americans, faith is simply not a big deal. This is
particularly true of our young people. Those under the age of 30
are leaving U.S. churches in droves. The following comes from a
recent CNN article....
David Kinnaman, the 38-year-old president of the Barna Group, an
evangelical research firm, is the latest to sound the alarm. In
his new book, "You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving
Church and Rethinking Faith," he says that 18- to 29-year-olds
have fallen down a "black hole" of church attendance. There is a
43% drop in Christian church attendance between the teen and
early adult years, he says. But it isn't just young people that
are leaving American churches. The proportion of Americans that
consider themselves to be Christians has been steadily declining
for many years. Back in 1990, 86 percent of all Americans
considered themselves to be Christian. By 2008, that number had
dropped to 76 percent.
Meanwhile, the number of Americans that reject religion entirely
has absolutely soared. According to data from the U.S. Census
Bureau, the number of Americans with "no religion" more than
doubled between 1990 and 2008.
is going to happen if these trends continue?
Dave Olson, the director of church planting for the Evangelical
Covenant Church, has made some really interesting projections
regarding what is going to happen to church attendance in
America if current trends continue.
According to Olson, only 18.7 percent of all Americans regularly
attend church right now. If this number continues to decline at
the current pace, Olson says that the percentage of Americans
attending church in 2050 will be about half of what it is today.
Other research has produced similar results.
According to a study done by LifeWay Research, membership in
Southern Baptist churches will fall nearly 50 percent by the
year 2050 if current trends persist.
If you are a Christian, you should be quite alarmed by these
numbers. But what is happening to the faith of our young people
should be even more alarming for Christians. The American
Religious Identification Survey by the Institute for the Study
of Secularism in Society & Culture at Trinity College is one
of the most comprehensive studies on religion in America that
has ever been done. According to that study, 15 percent of all
Americans say that they have "no religion". That is up from 8
percent in 1990. That is quite a change. But the move away from
religion is particularly pronounced among our young people.
recent survey found that 25 percent of all Americans between the
ages of 18 and 29 say that they have no religion.
Obviously the Christian faith is not winning the battle for the
hearts and the minds of our young people. The cold, hard truth
is that in America today, the younger you are, the less likely
you are to consider yourself to be a Christian.
Large numbers of young Americans that went to church while they
were growing up are now leaving U.S. churches entirely. A recent
study by the Barna Group discovered that nearly 60 percent of
all Christians between the ages of 15 and 29 are no long
actively involved in any church.
But not only have they left the church, our young people have
also abandoned just about all forms of Christian spirituality.
Just check out the results of one survey of young adults that
was conducted by LifeWay Christian Resources....
•65% rarely or never pray with others, and 38% almost never pray
by themselves either.
•65% rarely or never attend worship services of any kind.
•67% don't read the Bible or any other religious texts on a
If this does not get turned around, churches all over America
will be closing their doors. When the survey above first came
out, the president of LifeWay Christian Resources stated that
"the Millennial generation will see churches closing as quickly
as GM dealerships."
But it is not just church that our young people are rejecting.
The reality is that they are also rejecting the fundamental
principles of the Christian faith.
One survey conducted by the Barna Group found that less than 1
percent of all Americans between the ages of 18 and 23 hold a
The Barna Group asked participants in the survey if they agreed
with the following six statements....
1) Believing that absolute moral truth exists.
2) Believing that the Bible is completely accurate in all of the
principles it teaches.
3) Believing that Satan is considered to be a real being or
force, not merely symbolic.
4) Believing that a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by
trying to be good or by doing good works.
5) Believing that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth.
6) Believing that God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator
of the world who still rules the universe today.
Less than 1 percent of the participants agreed with all of those
That is staggering.
But it is not just young adults that are rejecting the
fundamentals of the Christian faith.
Even large numbers of "evangelical Christians" are rejecting the
fundamental principles of the Christian faith.
For example, one survey found that 52 percent of all Americans
Christians believe that "at least some non-Christian faiths can
lead to eternal life".
Another survey found that 29 percent of all American Christians
claim to have been in contact with the dead, 23 percent believe
in astrology and 22 percent believe in reincarnation.
Without a doubt, the religious landscape of America is changing.
Over the past several decades, church attendance has been
steadily declining, the percentage of Americans that consider
themselves to be Christians has been going down, and the number
of people that hold traditional Christian beliefs has been
dropping like a rock.
So what does all of this mean for the future of America?