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Thread: Blaming Religious Right for Christian Decline

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    Blaming Religious Right for Christian Decline

    Look at this as a response to some in Survey: Christianity declining rapidly in US who are Blaming Religious Right for Christian Decline:

    New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff has written the umpteenth claim that declining churches and Christian influence in America owe to conservative “religious blowhards” who “have entangled faith with bigotry, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia.” And “for some young people, Christianity is associated less with love than with hate.”

    Every branch of Christianity, and every religion, has its share of blowhards and hypocrites. Conservative Christian blowhards get more attention because they have political influence and peeve liberal cultural elites. But do they deserve exclusive credit for overall Christian decline?

    Religious Right fixtures get the spotlight because of their politics, but there’s little evidence that churches grow or decline based on political stances or national media attention that’s negative or positive....

    Today white evangelicalism is in slow decline while non-white evangelicalism is growing. Liberal churches, which are nearly all white, are shrinking much faster and have been shrinking continuously for 55 years. They have not, from the view of columnist Kristoff, “entangled faith with bigotry, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia.” They are firmly in political and cultural sync with secular culture. So why aren’t they growing?

    Liberal churches and liberal Christian political activists barely register in national media or conversation....

    The early 1980s media exposés of Mainline Protestant support for Marxist causes marked the beginning of the end for their public influence. It was obvious that far left church prelates didn’t politically represent average Mainline church goers who were and remain politically right of center.

    And yet it’s wrong to think that far-left political stances by Mainline prelates caused liberal church decline, which began years before these church agencies politically radicalized. No doubt some church goers quit their denominations in protest or disgust over national church public positions. But I think few did for that reason. They mostly quit from indifference and apathy in reaction to vapid theology.

    Churches are primarily relational and personal. Congregations grow or decline based on their theological agenda, spirit, outreach and people skills. National denominational policies or national political impressions conveyed through media do not typically play major roles in the fate of local churches. The scandal or politics or favorable publicity of a national religious figure is unlikely to affect local congregations....
    Edmund Burke: "In vain you tell me that Artificial Government is good, but that I fall out only with the Abuse. The Thing! the Thing itself is the Abuse!"

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    Christian decline is found in churches / denominations that liberalized in the hopes of being accepted by modern whim.
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    The religious right in America is far more vocal and involved politically than other Christian sects.

    They are much more vocally opposed to issues than other groups and they are staunchly conservative. That may have an effect on some people's view of Christianity in general.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Common Sense View Post
    The religious right in America is far more vocal and involved politically than other Christian sects.

    They are much more vocally opposed to issues than other groups and they are staunchly conservative. That may have an effect on some people's view of Christianity in general.
    I was speaking about the dying of the various churches in America that adopted liberal ideology.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Common Sense View Post
    The religious right in America is far more vocal and involved politically than other Christian sects.

    They are much more vocally opposed to issues than other groups and they are staunchly conservative. That may have an effect on some people's view of Christianity in general.

    The article says that's not the case:

    Religious Right fixtures get the spotlight because of their politics, but there’s little evidence that churches grow or decline based on political stances or national media attention that’s negative or positive. Evangelicalism, especially Pentecostalism, should have declined after the widely broadcast televangelist scandals of the late 1980s. Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker (both of whom remain on television today, though with much diminished influence) suffered interlocking sexual and financial imbroglios, but the Pentecostal denominations to which they belonged remained fast growing. Evangelicalism also continued its growth, as did Evangelical political influence.
    Nor did that affect liberal churches:

    And yet it’s wrong to think that far-left political stances by Mainline prelates caused liberal church decline, which began years before these church agencies politically radicalized. No doubt some church goers quit their denominations in protest or disgust over national church public positions. But I think few did for that reason. They mostly quit from indifference and apathy in reaction to vapid theology.

    So did you have some evidence to the contrary?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter1469 View Post
    I was speaking about the dying of the various churches in America that adopted liberal ideology.
    I think there's certainly an interesting argument to be made that the liberalization of Christian institutions has led to declining congregations, but I don't think it is a primary cause. I think it's an attempt to make Christianity more appealing to a broader audience. It's more of a reaction to declining congregations rather than a cause.

    I think the decline has been caused by a variety of factors. There's a correlation between higher education and a lack of formal religion. The answers science provides has also rendered some religious beliefs innacurate. Cultural dynamics have changed and churches being the centre of community has virtually disappeared in many areas.

    Then there is also the perceived moral bankruptcy of many outspoken religious leaders. Jerry Falwell, Jim Baker, Jimmy Swaggart and the dozens of other Christian leaders scandals have been a black eye on the Religious right. Turning a blind eye to Trumps indiscretions doesn't help either.

    Again, add to that the outspoken nature of Christian Right leaders and their opposition to cultural changes, Catholic sex scandals and you see a growing negative view of Christianity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    The article says that's not the case:



    Nor did that affect liberal churches:




    So did you have some evidence to the contrary?
    Keep in mind the article is from a Conservative Christian evangelical source.

    It's not surprising that they would argue that evangelical Christianity has nothing to do it's the decline.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Common Sense View Post
    Keep in mind the article is from a Conservative Christian evangelical source.

    It's not surprising that they would argue that evangelical Christianity has nothing to do it's the decline.
    Ah, you've got nothing to add so you reach for ad hom. Silly of me to expect more.
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    There are thousands of groups and individuals with no formal religious affiliation doing what has traditionally been referred to as "God's work" throughout the world, who see no urgent need to bow to supernatural beliefs and man-made doctrines masquerading as the will of some divine being. Humanitarianism grows and flourishes within the human spirit in response to education and societal evolution; the trappings, ceremonies and often silly demands of organized religion, while a useful crutch and impetus for some, are largely a dead end.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Standing Wolf View Post
    There are thousands of groups and individuals with no formal religious affiliation doing what has traditionally been referred to as "God's work" throughout the world, who see no urgent need to bow to supernatural beliefs and man-made doctrines masquerading as the will of some divine being. Humanitarianism grows and flourishes within the human spirit in response to education and societal evolution; the trappings, ceremonies and often silly demands of organized religion, while a useful crutch and impetus for some, are largely a dead end.

    Not the topic, Wolf, you're still stating your personal disbeliefs and incredulity about the previous topic. This topic is about where the decline exists. It seems factually that the decline is in liberal Christianity and not others. Your personal disbeliefs and incredulity might well account for the decline of liberal Christians--and we might add white liberal Christians--but cannot address the rise in other churches.
    Last edited by Chris; 11-09-2019 at 04:36 PM.
    Edmund Burke: "In vain you tell me that Artificial Government is good, but that I fall out only with the Abuse. The Thing! the Thing itself is the Abuse!"

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