Christian houses of worship are reportedly closing by the thousands yearly.
This article is based on corporate postings and accredited media reports. Linked information within this article is attributed to the following outlets: NPR.org, TheGuardian.com, and FiveThirtyEight.com.
A September 17th, 2022 article from NPR.org, “America's Christian Majority is on Track to End,” shares research from a then-recent Pew study on the matter.
As excerpted from the article: Christianity remains the majority religion in the United States, as it has been since the country's founding, but it's on the decline. A new study from the Pew Research Center shows that America's Christian majority has been shrinking for years, and if recent trends continue, Christians could make up less than half the U.S. population within a few decades.
The article goes on to mention the Pew study did not seek reasons for the continuing decline, but furthers that the ‘religiously unaffiliated’ may one day comprise the American majority.
NPR.org further states: The study found that Christians accounted for about 90% of the population 50 years ago, but as of 2020 that figure had slumped to about 64%. "If recent trends in switching [changing one's religious affiliation] hold, we projected that Christians could make up between 35% and 46% of the U.S. population in 2070," said Stephanie Kramer, the senior researcher who led the study.
Now a new study has attempted to explain the reasons why affiliates are leaving Christianity more than any other religion.
Let us explore further.
U.S. Churches, 2023
According to a January 22nd report from TheGuardian.com, entitled “Losing Their Religion: Why US Churches Are On the Decline,” those reasons may be both political and pandemic-related.
From the report: Churches are closing at rapid numbers in the US, researchers say, as congregations dwindle across the country and a younger generation of Americans abandon Christianity altogether – even as faith continues to dominate American politics. As the US adjusts to an increasingly non-religious population, thousands of churches are closing each year in the country – a figure that experts believe may have accelerated since the Covid-19 pandemic.
Some reasons as discussed or implied include a distaste for political polarization and subsequent issues arising from it such as judging one’s being or character.
The report quoted Scott McConnell, Executive Director at Lifeway Research, the entity responsible for the new study: Some of the reasons were “logistical”, McConnell said, as people moved away for college or started jobs which made it difficult to attend church. “But some of the other answers are not so much logistics. One of the top answers was church members seem to be judgmental or hypocritical. And so the younger generation just doesn’t feel like they’re being accepted in a church environment or some of their choices aren’t being accepted by those at church.”
It should also be noted, per the report, not all church closures are evenly spread. Texas, for example, presently has fewer closures today than in years past, while in liberal-majority states the closures are more prominent.
Older people, however, have also been leaving the church... as well as other houses of worship. Per a 2020 Gallup poll as shared by FiveThirtyEight.com, in its piece titled “It’s Not Just Young White Liberals Who Are Leaving Religion,” the numbers are dwindling across-the-board: Only 47 percent of American adults said they were members of a church, mosque or synagogue, according to recently released polling that was conducted by Gallup throughout last year. It marked the first time that a majority of Americans said they were not members of a church, mosque or synagogue since Gallup first started asking Americans about their religious membership in the 1930s.
The reasons as discussed above are largely identical.
This is an ongoing story. In the event of pertinent updates to these matters, I will share them here on NewsBreak.
Thank you for reading.
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