The New York Times has a breathless report on the decline of Christianity in America. Much of the lefty twitterverse is celebrating the decline.
The Christian share of adults in the United States has declined sharply since 2007, affecting nearly all major Christian traditions and denominations, and crossing age, race and region, according to an extensive survey by the Pew Research Center.
Seventy-one percent of American adults were Christian in 2014, the lowest estimate from any sizable survey to date, and a decline of 5 million adults and 8 percentage points since a similar Pew survey in 2007.
But that really does not paint an accurate picture.
“Christian” like “Catholic” and “Jew” have become expressions of ethnicity or culture in this country. Being an actual Christian, as opposed to calling yourself one because you were born into a supposedly Christian household, is a completely different thing.
In fact, actual practicing Christianity in America isn’t that bad off. Consider this from the same New York Times story:
Not all religions or even Christian traditions declined so markedly. The number of evangelical Protestants dipped only slightly as a share of the population, by 1 percentage point, and actually increased in raw numbers.
Yes, the Christian cultural traditions in the United States are in decline. But that corresponds to the number of denominations that have actually left the faith. Sure, they still go to church on Sunday as ceremony. But they’ve drifted from a Bible-centered, Christ as God centered faith, to a secularized, civil religion of ceremony and secularized liturgy. Emo, weepy Jesus who bakes cakes for gay weddings has replaced the actual Jesus who spent more time talking about hell than anyone else in the Bible and said he is the only and exclusive path to Heaven.
Christians who actually believe the Bible is inerrant and that one must surrender all to Christ are still there and “increas[ing] in raw numbers” “dipp[ing] only slightly as a share of population.”
It is too complex for your average reporter to understand, but cultural Christendom and actual Christendom are not the same. The former is dying off as its chief priests give way to the world. But the later remains strong, vibrant, and resurgent.
In the grand scheme of things, this is not necessarily a bad thing for the church itself, though looking to European church decline, it suggests a far less stable future for the nation.
Turns out guys like Francis Schaeffer and . . . wait for it . . . wait for it . . . Joseph Ratzinger, yeah that guy, were right. Serve up fluffy, worldly nonsense as Christianity and watch the flock sniff out the scam and go in search of real soul nourishment while the poseurs get consumed by the wolves.