Christian Influence Waning? Election numbers say Yes.

The influence of Christianity in America is waning. There was a time, let’s say in the fifties, that America was just like the movie Pleasantville. We remember people being honest, devout, loyal to their church, job, and even brand names! Then the tumultuous 60’s arrived and no one was happy, but the church seemed to be an oasis of stability and comfort. The 70’s floated through with America sick of Viet Nam, rising gas prices, but with a host of baby-boomers in their teens looking for colleges, jobs, and even-yes-even churches.

Then the numbers began to slack off. I remember hearing that the post-boomer generation was looking for something different–more substance maybe-in everything they experienced. Brand name loyalty, employer loyalty, and even church denomination loyalty was becoming a thing of the past. By the time this generation was sending their own children off to college Americans had regrouped around causes other than brand loyalty.

Issues like healthcare, immigration, climate, and the economy separate Americans like they never have before. Whether a person is a Christian or not, church-going or not, or pretty much anything defined as old-school theist or not, has little influence. Oh you’ll hear some Christian objection to a candidate over the abortion issue, but that same Christian will say that they would vote for a conservative candidate even if they are a Mormon, or Atheist, or …(fill in the blank.) The late 20th Century brand of Christian influence may have seen its day.

Jonathan Merritt, writing for The Atlantic, quotes Albert Mohler of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary as calling the election an “Evangelical Disaster.” He’s right. American Christians have slowed or maybe even reversed their move toward a hard-line-right-winged conservatism over the past few years. As a result, even though 79% of white evangelicals voted for Romney, it was not enough.

Merritt says there are several reasons, but here are the most interesting to me: 1) White middle class American Christians are now a minority. 2) Christian influence on America has weakened. 3) There are no “old-days” figureheads like Graham, Falwell, and Kennedy around anymore.

This one quote from Merritt should be a wake-up call for us:

Conservative Christian ideas are failing to shape the broader culture. More than 3,500 churches close their doors every year, and while Americans are still overwhelmingly spiritual, the institutional church no longer holds the sway over their lives it once did. The sweeping impact of globalization and the digital age has marginalized the church and its leaders.

If Christianity is going to have any influence on the America of the future, we are going to have to start with each of us as Christian Individuals. We have no influence because we have no power. We have no power because we have so little faith. We have so little faith because we have so little contact with our source.

Is Christian Influence waning in America? If so, it’s our own fault.

Pray.

For a great little e-book on the Lord’s Prayer, go see: www.therealprayer.org

 

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Published in: on November 15, 2012 at 8:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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