Tuesday, May 12, 2015


I copy this from the Deacon's Bench with its links. Liberal Protestantism is dying and has been dying as soon as they became liberal. Liberal Catholicism is dying too but giving a bad name to all of Catholicism in the process. Only conservative, orthodox Catholicism will grow. Conservative Protestant evangelicals continue to grow.  Liberalism has led to the nones. Why in the world would a liberal want to be religious? Godless secularism or secularism with your own made-up god is most appealing to liberals pure and simple. I'd become a none too if I were liberal unless remaining a liberal in the Church I could influence more orthodox Catholics to abandon the Faith by becoming liberal which leads to become nones.

Study: Christian population declining in U.S.; “unaffiliated” now outnumber Catholics

From The Wall Street Journal: 
Amy Boyle grew up in the Roman Catholic Church, singing in choir and serving as an altar girl.
But Ms. Boyle, now a 35-year-old L.A. resident and mother of twin baby boys, left the faith as a young adult—joining the ranks of Americans who don’t identify with any religion, many of them former Christians. The group is growing so rapidly, it now makes up a greater share of the U.S. population than Catholics or mainline Protestants, according to a survey to be released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center on changes in religious affiliation between 2007 and 2014.
The U.S. is expected to remain majority-Christian for decades. But surveys have noted a decline in the share of Americans practicing Christianity for years, especially among Protestant faiths. Meanwhile, the number of Americans who claim no religious affiliation, known as “nones,” has climbed.
The trends “have been under way for some time,” said Greg Smith, the Pew study’s lead researcher. “But I am struck by the pace at which that group [the religiously unaffiliated] continues to grow.”
The share of Americans who say they are unaffiliated with any religion rose to 22.8% last year from 16.1% in 2007, according to the study. Over that time, mainline Protestants—including large denominations of Methodists, Presbyterians and Lutherans—dropped to 14.7% of the population from 18.1%. The share of Catholics fell to 20.8% from 23.9%.
Only evangelical Protestants—which include the Southern Baptist Convention—account for a greater share of the population than the unaffiliated, with 25.4%. The Pew study is based on interviews with more than 35,000 Americans in 2014, in all 50 states plus Washington, D.C.
The survey underscores the nation’s role in a global shift in the numbers of Christians, Muslims and those unaffiliated with any religion. That dynamic is expected to produce an equal number of Christians and Muslims in the world by 2050, according to an earlier Pew study.
From Pew: 
The drop in the Christian share of the population has been driven mainly by declines among mainline Protestants and Catholics. Each of those large religious traditions has shrunk by approximately three percentage points since 2007. The evangelical Protestant share of the U.S. population also has dipped, but at a slower rate, falling by about one percentage point since 2007.2
Even as their numbers decline, American Christians – like the U.S. population as a whole – are becoming more racially and ethnically diverse. Non-Hispanic whites now account for smaller shares of evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants and Catholics than they did seven years earlier, while Hispanics have grown as a share of all three religious groups. Racial and ethnic minorities now make up 41% of Catholics (up from 35% in 2007), 24% of evangelical Protestants (up from 19%) and 14% of mainline Protestants (up from 9%).


Anonymous said...

I love how news outlets are always reporting these polls about everything religious and political and use it to change the culture.
In my estimation, here's how it works. They take a poll to see where people stand on something, usually a social or cultural belief they (liberals) would like to change. Religious belief for example. In the initial poll, say they find out 80 percent believe in God. They then use the media and schools and T.V. and so on to attack religion, and after a while (a year?) they take another poll and see, yes, the belief in God has fallen to 75%. So they do some more propaganda, and check the results with a poll, and so on, until, voila, in ten years they can see the percentage of "nones" is growing. And they report it as if it is straight news, as if it is happening by itself, as if there isn't a program in place to bring this about.
This process is very evident when you consider the forced pressure to accept of homosexuality as normal, and now the forced homosexual "marriage" issue. Also note they're starting the push to normalize transsexuality. (Bruce Jenner anyone?) I think this is also what is going on with some of the racial issues that we hear about every day.
Social scientists know most people want to belong. If a person believes something that is in stark conflict with their peers, their strong desire to belong will get them to change their belief, to conform to the group. So the liberals use the news and schools to suggest, for instance, intelligent people don't believe in God. They attack belief in God in subtle ways. Younger adults would find it hard in a social situation to be in conflict with those around them if they choose to live according to the 10 Commandments. Hence the young woman in the article, fine with religion as a girl, has left the Church. I'm sure, if she had found a Catholic culture around her, she'd be conforming to that.
That raises the question: how many people in Church are simply cultural Christians and not true believers? If you will give up your faith so easily to social pressure, then maybe you're like the seed that falls on rocky ground.
I don't know, but I think better homilies about sin and about how the world pressures us to give up our faith would help make people understand this and be ready for the challenge before they lose whatever faith they have.

Anonymous said...

Bee, you can question polling all you want, but it doesn't take a poll to confirm that, unfortunately, we are becoming a more secular society. How else do you explain presidential voting trends? Like the traditionally Catholic Northeast (Maryland to Maine), now almost unanimously Democratic in presidential elections. Some of Obama's highest percentages in 2008 and 2012 were in heavily Catholic states (like Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island), Look at all the church closings up there...increasingly, how people vote is determined not by economics but by church attendance---Democrats win the secular vote and Republicans win the frequent churchgoer vote.

How else do you explain Teddy Kennedy representing Massachusetts in the Senate for 47 years, most of that as staunch promoter of abortion? Or Joe Biden, elected for years to the Senate from Delaware?

Furthermore, the big cultural divide in America is the big metro areas versus other areas---here in metro Atlanta for instance, home to over half the state's population, views overall are pretty liberal compared to say Macon or Augusta. For instance, Sunday alcohol sales easily passed up here in 2012, in both Republican and Democratic areas. A recent poll by Georgia State University shows metro Atlanta in favor of same-sex marriage and the rest of the state opposed, which parallels our 2012 presidential race---Obama narrowly carried metro Atlanta but Romney won easily in the rest of Georgia. Just the way it is---large urban areas are inherently more liberal than rural/small town and city America.

Anonymous 2 said...

It seems time to recycle the following thesis made in several previous posts and here slightly expanded:

I am sure there are many factors behind the decline, including the hyper individualism and other factors noted frequently by Father Kavanaugh and the pressure of surrounding culture noted by Bee. However, I still maintain that our fundamental problem in the West is metaphysical -- some would say theological but I think the problem is more basic. Modern science and technology and all the material blessings they bring with them, combined with the illusion of potentially complete human power over nature, are enormously distracting. Among my friends back in England who are non-believers (and there are many non-believers in Britain and the rest of Europe as we all know), it is science and the supposed incompatibility between faith and reason/science that more than anything have disillusioned them and relegated religion to the realm of illusion and ignorant superstition in their minds. Never mind that for the believer faith and reason/science are in fact compatible, despite the apparent conflict that certain religious believers fuel through their denials of scientific findings (a trap that Augustine warned us against). What we are witnessing, then, is a battle between two claimed realities that deny two asserted opposite illusions.

From the perspective of faith, with all the material wonders produced by modern technology and the erection of great cathedrals to Mammon, we are back in the Cave. Or perhaps more precisely, given that we spend so much of our lives in front of screens, we are in a Cave within a Cave, an Illusion within an Illusion (although sometimes the screens can, admittedly, stimulate the imagination and broaden perspectives). Plato would have understood the problem, as he too had to confront his society's relativism, skepticism, and the lure of worldly success.

This is not an indictment of technology or material progress (one does not have to throw out the baby with the bathwater after all), but I suspect things will not change much until either (a) we all face a terrible disaster, or (b) most people’s sense of everyday reality is seriously disrupted and destabilized. I am not opposed to liturgical reforms that promote greater reverence at Mass but I also suspect that until we address the metaphysical problem successfully no directed outward changes in the liturgy of the Mass will be sufficient, and that once we do so, such changes will prove to be unnecessary.

Anonymous 2 said...

Despite what some may think, I tend to be an equal opportunity political critic.

Don’t the five pillars of the liberal faith at the beginning of the post also undergird what passes for the conservative faith nowadays?

Anonymous 2 said...

The following article featuring our own (that is Mercer’s) David Gushee suggests to me that the sheer nastiness of political rhetoric and the way in which certain religious denominations have allowed themselves to become associated with this rhetoric is also a major acute factor in addition to what I believe is the more fundamental chronic factor as discussed in my previous post. Thankfully, Pope Francis is astute enough to distance the Catholic Church from such rhetoric (and not a moment too soon):


Paul said...

Christ's Church will be here if they decide to come back. The road will be hard and bumpy. Some may not make it back.

While there is life there is hope and mercy.

People are losing hope. Is it so surprising there is a corresponding lack of mercy?

George said...

It does not surprise me that many young people today are of a liberal persuasion. Was that not true forty years ago? Somewhere down in the article it had Michael Hout of New York University opinionating about how religion was no longer the "mover" and "politics the consequence." He sees those that have left evangelical denominations and the Catholic faith as their leaving being due to the alignment of those Christian groups with a" conservative political agenda."
Hmm...such as being against abortion, same-sex marriage, easy divorce, recreational drug use an artificial contraception? I can accept that we need to find a different way to persuade people who don't have a problem with and even embrace these sins that these are serious offenses against God but my view is that the problem goes beyond just rhetoric and it at least in part is metaphysical. He goes on to write that Evangelical support for same-sex marriage went from 14 percent in 2007 to 21 percent in 2014, "fueled by the younger generation". So what? This does not surprise me in the least. Homosexuals comprise just 2 to 3% of the general population but comprise a far greater percent of those employed in primetime media, the advertising industry, and Hollywood. That is the primary "scripture" many of our young people have been exposed to.
As far as Prof Gushee (of Mercer) offering "a defense of same-sex marriage from a evangelical perspective" in his book "Changing our Mind" - I could care less, because I know (from a Catholic perspective) that it cannot be defended.
I concur with what Bee says.

Anonymous 2 said...


I agree with you about the problem going beyond rhetoric and about the sources of secular scripture. I am glad that you recognize we need to find a different way to persuade people. But isn’t that the point? We certainly cannot persuade unless we go to where people are. I think Pope Francis understands this very well, as of course did Jesus. So many young people, liberal or otherwise, have gay and lesbian friends and family members who put a real human face on an abstract category and who doubtless share their dreams, hopes, sufferings, and fears with their heterosexual friends and family. Moreover, it behooves the Church (and that includes laypeople who are inclined to do so) to engage with the best arguments put forward in a civilized manner, especially those advanced by someone as well-respected and learned as David Gushee who has had the courage to change his mind publicly and risk ire and rejection from his denomination:


What the Church should not do, in my view, is allow itself to (continue to) be associated (including by media misrepresentation) with strident, alienating political rhetoric spewed by those who are more concerned with winning elections than anything else and indeed whose sincerity one may even legitimately doubt in many cases.

I have not yet read David’s book “Changing Our Mind: A Call from America’s Leading Evangelical Ethics Scholar for Full Acceptance of LGBT Christians in the Church” or the one he has published in 2013 on “The Sacredness of Human Life; Why An Ancient Biblical Vision Is Key to the World’s Future” due to the press of other work but plan to read both over the summer. His is a voice well worth listening to and engaging with.

Paul said...

Truth is the only persuasion that matters. It may be heavy-handed to drop the entire Truth on someone at once but don't "lighten" it up with Lies.

Anonymous 2 said...


Did Jesus Christ go to where people were? Did he “lighten up” the Truth with Lies? Was He so afraid that He stayed away from sinners or those who thought differently? Don’t these questions answer themselves?