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The American exodus

October 17, 2016

A new PRRI report documents the continued rise of the non-religious in the US. It claims that is now 25% of American adults, and 40% of those 18 to 29. The report documents that most come from religious childhood homes, which in any case is a straightforward implication of the rapid rise from such small fractions in decades past. The major cause people cite for leaving their religion is not some personal conflict, but simply that they “stopped believing in the religion’s teachings.”

The New York Times has an article on how conservative evangelicals are taking the seeming late phase of the culture wars. It is bound to generate mixed feelings for anyone who knows or is related to conservative evangelicals. Will that trend cause them to withdraw further from the larger culture, taking some path like the Benedictine option that Rod Dreher suggests? Will they become less conservative in their faith, finding ways to better mesh it with a culture where it is not dominant? How do those faith paths affect their daily lives and personal relationships? While I cheer that this source of authoritarian politics continues to crumble, that crumbling is seen quite differently by those who view a culture dominated by their religion as the only normal form of society.

Data from 538 makes pretty clear how religion influences voting among whites.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Laura permalink
    October 17, 2016 1:48 pm

    I have relatives who are in this camp. What I which I could say is:
    1) not all Christians, sincere Christians, agree with them. I have many Christian friends who belong to Churches that take a different approach and try to do what Jesus would do: embrace those who are marginalized and rejected, regardless of whether they are LGBTQ, refugees, the poor, etc.
    2) the beauty of the US is in the diversity of religions and non-religions that can thrive in peace. This country is not about the domination of one religion over another. They should embrace this concept and enjoy their freedom of worshiping as they wish, while defending the right of others to worship as they wish.
    3) but also understand that every religion and non-religion must obey the same laws of the land including against discrimination and against favoring a religion over another. It was after all with pivotal work by religious groups that we have evolved our laws to be more inclusive of all Americans, not less. This trend will only continue to expand, as the message “love thy neighbor” continues to spread.
    4) lastly, “love the sinner but not the sin” does not mean that you love all your gay friends and deny them their happiness. That means you don’t really love them.
    5) I do not enjoy their self-imposed suffering

    I know these words would fall on deaf ears. I think these Christians on one hand very fretful and afraid of the future, and on the other truly enjoy political power. This has made them vulnerable to the likes of the GOP who have been duping them for decades claiming they would turn the nation more Christian. The evidence (though evidence is not what these folks value) does not support their claims.

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