Last week the Pew Research Center released a survey stating that the number of adults who consider themselves Christian has sharply declined. This includes all ages, races and regions across the United States. The study which polled 35,000 people states that 71% of American adults called themselves Christian, a decline of 8 percent since a similar study was done in 2007. Millennials make up the largest unaffiliated group in the country.
The report does not offer an explanation for the decline of the Christian population, but the low levels of Christian affiliation among the young, well educated and affluent are consistent with prevailing theories for the rise of the unaffiliated, like the politicization of religion by American conservatives, a broader disengagement from all traditional institutions and labels, the combination of delayed and interreligious marriage, and economic development. Over all, the religiously unaffiliated number 56 million and represent 23 percent of adults, up from 36 million and 16 percent in 2007, Pew estimates. Nearly half of the growth was from atheists and agnostics, whose tallies nearly doubled to 7 percent of adults. The remainder of the unaffiliated, those who describe themselves as having “no particular religion,” were less likely to say that religion was an important part of their lives than eight years ago.
Well it looks like these declining numbers are causing an alarmist reaction amongst conservatives. Bill O’Reilly blames hip hop music for the decline in Christianity among millennials. According to O’Reilly:
“There is no question that people of faith are being marginalized by a secular media and pernicious entertainment,” O’Reilly said. “The rap industry, for example, often glorifies depraved behavior, and that sinks into the minds of some young people — the group that is most likely to reject religion. Also, many movies and TV shows promote non-traditional values. If you are a person of faith, then the media generally thinks you are a loon.”
Former Christians “have left their churches because of social issues and the evolution of their churches to social areas they didn’t want to go and don’t feel comfortable being in,” he said, adding that “less than one million gay activists” have been able to “steamroll an entire country.”
Rick Santorum blames the decline on the lack of anti-abortion zealots like himself who aren’t running for president.
Likely Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said this week that other GOP candidates were not fanatical enough about opposing abortion, and that’s why Christianity was on the decline in the United States.
Okay. My head is spinning after reading the reasons coming from these right wing zealots. Did it ever occur to the O’Reillys, Limbaughs and Santorums of the world that the hate they spew and controlling attitudes they exhibit could be what’s turning off millennials and older adults who use to consider themselves Christian? They need to take a good look in the mirror at themselves instead of blaming others. As this article states:
As the Christian polling group Barna recently noted, the public increasingly associates Christianity with “preventing gay marriage and a woman’s freedom to control her body” and “mixing religious beliefs with political policy and action.” And no wonder Americans draw that conclusion, given that we’re subjected daily to a barrage of Christian right pundits and politicians spouting off about gay people, women and their “slut pills” and “legitimate rape.” If Americans conflate religion with hate, the Christian right only has themselves to blame.
Thank you. I’m not a millennial but I stopped going to church during the mid 1990’s. As a black women I know blacks who are regular churchgoers. I also know black folks, male and female, who don’t go to church. Many cited different reasons including the hypocrisy and judgmental attitudes of some church going folks, the constant begging for money, the behavior of some well known televangelists and some feel they can spend their Sundays doing other things besides spending all day in church.
To read more about the Pew Research Center study check it out here.