Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Is Christianity Dying?

It's all over the news. The Pew Research Center's newest report has dropped, and the headlines are blaring.

"Christians drop, 'nones' soar in new religion portrait," USA Today proclaimed.
News Max declares, "Christianity Declines Sharply in US, Agnostics Growing."
The Los Angeles Times is a little more subtle: "U.S. has become notably less Christian."

The headlines are technically true. But are they accurate?

See, a lot of times with data, the "true truth" is lingering just beneath the surface. Are there fewer people who self-identify as Christian in America than there were a few years ago? Undeniably. But is the change because there are fewer people who are authentically following Jesus, or because the people who used to check "Christian" by default, are just more accurately reporting their true beliefs?

The data supports the second idea. As Russell Moore puts it, "We don't have more atheists in America. We have more honest atheists in America."

Or, as Ed Stetzer puts it, the nominals are becoming nones.

Here's an article that gives a solid perspective on the data from Mr. Stetzer. And here's one from Russell Moore that expands on Stetzer's concept that this Pew report is actually good news for the church.

I agree with Mr. Moore. We need fewer people who call themselves Christians, and more people who truly try to live like Jesus.

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