Christianity Is Losing in America?

The above title is borrowed from an article I came across yesterday online at American Thinker, with the addition of the question mark. Depending on your definition of ‘Christianity you might agree or disagree with the assertion made in the article. There are some points made that I totally agree with and others I find questionable based on Jesus’ declaration “I will build my church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.”  (Matthew 16:18b)

I am not sharing my personal opinion for the moment but am interested in what you might think about the article. Here it is”":

Christianity Is Losing in America

By Craig Dunkley

Christianity is under attack in America, and it’s losing.  Meanwhile, the Church is, in general, sitting out the fight and hoping the problem goes away.

Hope is not a strategy.  It’s time to act.

Since its inception, the United States has been a predominantly Christian nation, though open-minded and founded on religious tolerance.  Our sense of personal freedom and tolerance, backed by a thoroughly Judeo-Christian worldview, has contributed mightily to this nation’s greatness.  That worldview, and the Christian faith behind it, is being whittled away by the media, our popular culture, and a newly emboldened “activist atheist” movement.  The pace of that whittling has accelerated over the last decade.

Atheism and “Nones” Rising

Data from the Pew Research Center shows that those who consider themselves atheist, agnostic, or unaffiliated with any religion have been rising as a percentage of the U.S. population.  In 2012, nearly 20% of the public fell into one of those categories, up nearly 5 percentage points over the preceding 5 years.  When focusing on adults under 30, about one third consider themselves atheist, agnostic, or unaffiliated.  Almost exclusively, the gains in these groups reflect losses for Christians, with Christians dropping from 78% to 73% of the population over the same period.  Doubtless, the trend has continued.

Lies and Misinformation

Christianity’s retreat is facilitated by a new breed of authors and “scholars” who have worked hard to undermine the most basic teachings of Christianity.  With the help of a sympathetic media, they’ve captured the public’s imagination.  Their impact has been significant.

For example, from the likes of the late Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Bart Ehrman, Sam Harris, Reza Aslan, Simcha Jacobovici, and others, we have “learned” that:

  • The New Testament is full of errors and alterations, and we can’t even figure out what the original texts said.
  • Neither Jesus nor his early followers considered him divine.  The whole idea that Jesus is the “Son of God” came about centuries after Jesus’s death.
  • Jesus was actually just a poor, illiterate bumpkin who preached about the end of the world.
  • The early church ruthlessly – and violently – silenced “heretics.” As a result, many valid writings were hidden from people because they were damaging to orthodox Christianity.
  • The whole Jesus story was just a rip-off of other “dying and rising” god myths, common in ancient times.
  • The traditionally accepted authors of the four canonical gospels could not have been the real authors.
  • Christianity has killed and persecuted millions over the centuries, including “pagans,” heretical Christians, and thousands of Muslims during those first acts of Christian imperialism, the Crusades.
  • Archeological discoveries have proven time and again that the Bible is untrustworthy as a work of history.
  • The Bible is riddled with inconsistencies that render it invalid.
  • Christianity encourages scientific illiteracy because it teaches that the Earth is the center of the universe and that it’s just 6,000 years old.
  • Many more “facts” that serve to undermine the faith.

There is one problem common to all of the “facts” mentioned above:  they’re demonstrably wrong, or else they take a tiny bit of truth and distort it beyond all recognition.  For example, the assertion that Jesus was not considered divine until a vote of church leaders at the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D., an oft-repeated myth, is absurd.   The Council did not debate whether Jesus was divine.  Rather, it debated the nature of his divinity: was he the created Son of God – sort of like an “über-Angel” – or was he a pre-existent being, co-equal with God?  The Council decided, based on scriptural interpretation, that Jesus was the latter.  His basic divinity was never doubted.

In another example, some authors are fond of pointing out uncanny similarities between the story of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection and the stories of a range of other “dying and rising” gods, such as Mithras, Attis, and Dionysus.  This is done in an effort to paint the Jesus story as just a rip-off of earlier myths.  A closer analysis, however, reveals that most of these alleged similarities were either fabricated or wildly misrepresented.  In a number of cases, such as that of Mithras, some similarities were genuine but were developed long after Jesus’s death by pagan cult members to boost their own movement’s credibility.  In other words, it was Jesus who got ripped off!

For each of the “facts” listed above, there are highly sound, historically accurate rebuttals.  Yet these myths  are repeated ad infinitum by some “scholars,” authors, bloggers, popular media outlets, and ill-informed atheist activists all over this nation.

Their incessant “cut and paste” mentality on the internet has established a strong base of content that is now in the process of fooling many Christians into abandoning their faith, while turning away many otherwise open-minded “seekers.”  A textbook example is the shamefully inaccurate cover story on Christianity, “The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin,” published on December 23, 2014 by Newsweek.

In addition, a confident-feeling activist atheist community is working to reinforce the notion that anyone who turns to religion (especially Christianity) is an intellectual weakling who believes in fairy tales.  Consider the latest ad campaign by American Atheists.  The net result of all this is a rising number of people who consider themselves atheist or agnostic.

Churches on the Sidelines

It’s important to note that churches do fantastic work.  Christian charities help people across the globe, Christian missionaries risk life and limb to spread the faith abroad, and churches provide comfort and support to millions.  But churches are not properly equipping their members to combat the lies being spread about their faith.

People raised in church are often taught what the Bible says, and many can recite key passages, chapter and verse.  However, they are not often taught about the specific anti-Christian myths that have been developed, nor are they taught the data-backed responses to them.

In short, churches are not teaching their members enough about Christian apologetics.  This leaves church members unable to respond effectively when their beliefs are challenged.  As a result, they often come to doubt what they’ve been taught, and they are certainly ill-equipped to help “win over” friends or acquaintances who may be seekers “on the fence.”

Younger Christians are the most vulnerable, particularly when heading off to college.  It’s in college that a young Christian is most likely to have his or her beliefs seriously challenged, be it by professors, atheist students, or both.  He must be prepared to deal with this challenge.  This reality was brought home to the author by an e-mail, sent by a friend.   In part, it read:

I know what you mean about faith being challenged.  I grew up in a Christian school where we learned Bible verses and attended chapel every Friday. We were taught ‘truths’ and were expected to absorb them at face value.  It was a good foundation of faith, but it was just faith, and not supported by true ‘knowledge,” if that makes sense…I was completely unprepared to defend my faith when Biblical inconsistencies were pointed out in college.  I signed up for a ‘Religion’ class thinking that I would pass with flying colors because of my years of education.  Surprise.  The first lecture and assignment in the class was about all the discrepancies within the Old Testament.  I had never been taught about the Bible from a historical or factual perspective…

The Need for Apologetics

It’s time for churches to join the fight.  It’s not acceptable to “duck and cover” and wait for this to pass.  It won’t.  Lies and misinformation must be countered with truth and logic in an open and loving way.  Churches must get serious about creating apologetics ministries to educate their members, prepare their youth groups, and spread the word.  Every Christian should understand the attacks that are being launched against the Christian faith, and be prepared to counter them.  Strong apologetics ministries will inoculate Christians against these attacks and equip them to win over those bystanders trying to find their own paths to faith.

These apologetics ministries should also be open and directed toward the general public, inviting open-minded seekers, as well as committed Christians to attend.  These ministries should make ample use of social media and other online resources to maximize their reach.

If Christians do not answer the call now, then even more people will turn away from Christianity because they think it’s not for them…when it might be exactly what they’re seeking in their lives.

Craig Dunkley is a marketing and public relations executive.  He is also founder and editor of Logic & Light, a website dedicated to Christian apologetics.

4 responses to “Christianity Is Losing in America?

  1. I agree completely with the title of the article and with the article itself. Christianity is losing in America. In every number that matters, Christianity is in decline. People are leaving our churches at record numbers. God’s church will never be decimated, but it can grow in one area and shrink in another.

    The question those of us who care should be asking is Why? Why is the church in decline?

    I spend most of my time at my blog writing about this topic. I have been in over 40 churches in the past 10 years. I have my strong opinions. The writer of the article does get one thing right when he says:

    “In short, churches are not teaching their members enough about Christian apologetics. This leaves church members unable to respond effectively when their beliefs are challenged. As a result, they often come to doubt what they’ve been taught, and they are certainly ill-equipped to help “win over” friends or acquaintances who may be seekers “on the fence.””

    I would say that their is a famine in the churches: God’s people are not being fed. It is much worse than not being taught apologetics. We are not being taught anything of substance. Instead, we have chosen to use our services to attract non-Christians. We water down our songs and our sermons, we shorten our services and we get rid of anything that might offend the non-Christians. Things like our crosses, communion, prayer, etc. Then we preach sermons that are empty and have very little nutritional value to believers.

    Is it any wonder the church is in decline? Believers are dying on the vine! It is admirable that we want to reach the lost and we should reach them! We just shouldn’t lose the crop of young believers we already have in the process.

    Barna came out with a report in 2010 that should truly scare everyone who cares about the church. I link to it here and blogged about it. It is eye opening:

    George Barna: The Seeker-Sensitive Church Model: Dumbing Down Disciples http://notforitchingears.com/2010/12/26/george-barna-the-seeker-sensitive-church-model-dumbing-down-disciples/

    Thanks for a great post!

    Like

    • I’ll have to check out the Barna article. I am in agreement with you, however I would probably differentiate between the apostate church (in decline) and Christ’s true church (still being built). While I think there is a serious lack of teaching on apologetics in most churches, I think there is such a lack of true gospel being preached that the gospel deficiency should be addressed before launching into teaching apologetics. What good is teaching apologetics if the gospel is upside down and inside out? 🙂

      Great comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It is hard to differentiate between the apostate and true church in all these studies! I will say that the “Seeker-Sensitive” churches are the most to blame in this regard. They have chosen to not teach the disciples “to obey everything Jesus commanded” and have chosen instead to try and get as many people in the building as possible.

    I once attended a church service of a “growing” and “successful” congregation. They sang 5 songs at the beginning of the service and not once did they ever even mention the name of Jesus. The songs didn’t even mention anything about the Cross. Mormons, JW and even Jews could have sang those “worship” songs without reservations.

    I wrote the pastor a very nice letter and asked him about it. He brushed it aside and defended it as if didn’t really matter.

    That is why the church is failing. It is because our leaders have sold out to a church model that is failing. IMHO of course!

    Like

    • I agree. The goal of SS churches seems to be to get ’em through the doors, but you can’t get people through the doors with an offensive message (Paul’s gospel), so you need to leave out all the stuff about ‘sin’ – unless God has pulled a ‘Lydia’ and opened a heart. I attended a local church to speak at a military veteran’s luncheon and the Pastor preached a sermon in which he pretty much said that you have to open your own heart, that God couldn’t.

      Like

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