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FriJun26

Religion waxes and wanes in a culture and throughout history.  It can fade away, but it can also suddenly come back again.

The American Enterprise Institute has released an important study of American religion entitled Promise and peril: The history of American religiosity and its recent decline.

 


It is a meta-analysis--that is, a study of studies–bringing together a wide range of disparate research and analyzing the data in terms of each other to arrive at more rigorous conclusions.

You may have noticed, for example, that there have been many studies of American religion and its possible decline that come up with different statistics.  The problem is that different researchers study different aspects of the question.  You can focus on how many Americans claim to have a religious affiliation.  Or you can focus on how many Americans actually go to church.  Or you can focus on what Americans say that they believe.

Those are three completely different questions.  Many members of a church don’t attend much, or don’t believe what their church teaches.  Many Americans profess Christian beliefs but don’t belong to a church.  Furthermore, each of those questions rely on what individuals tell survey takers.  Another line of research is digging out objective data about American religion, such as church records and evidence of cultural markers, such as “religious” baby names.  Then again, church records are not always accurate and some congregations don’t even have memberships.  So the whole questions of “how religious are Americans?” and “is Christianity declining in the United States?” are more complicated to answer than it might appear.

Read more from Dr. Veith here.

Be Informed

Life begins at conception. Click here to see a timeline of fetal development . . . and to learn how a child’s heart starts beating at only 21 days old!

Be Equipped

“Many people are looking to a higher power for comfort these days. In March, the number of Google searches for prayer skyrocketed, according to a not-yet-published analysis of search results for 95 countries by an economist at the University of Copenhagen.” Learn more from the Wall Street Journal.

Be Encouraged

Dear Father, you sent your Son, who left His powerful position in heaven to be born in a lowly stable, to live life in our place, to die a death that is the recompense for this world’s sin, and to give us eternal life as a gift now and forever. May that motivate our prayers and our service to our friends and our enemies, to our brothers and sisters in the faith and our neighbors in the community, and all who are in authority to lead and to serve. Give us strength to be a people constantly in prayer, available for service, and bold in our witness of the God who is at work in the world to save. In the Name of Jesus, we pray. Amen!

FriJun19

Religion waxes and wanes in a culture and throughout history.  It can fade away, but it can also suddenly come back again.

That is one of  the takeaways from the American Enterprise study by Lyman Stone that we’ve been discussing this week:  Promise and peril: The history of American religiosity and its recent decline.

 


In addition to giving us something of a three-dimensional profile of the extent of religion in the United States and Western Europe, the study gives data about why religions decline but also what brings religions back.

As we reported from that study, the lowest level of church membership and church attendance in the history of the United States was in the 1780s, when only a third of Americans belonged to any church body and only a fifth of the population was in church on any given Sunday.  That’s far worse than today’s supposedly “declining” numbers, of 62% membership and 35% attending.

But after that religious low point at the very outset of our nation came the Second Great Awakening, which began in the 1790s and soon made our forebears the strong Christians we have always assumed them to be.

What changed?  Researchers have cited sociological factors.  For example, as we blogged about, the American Enterprise study says that the heavy-handed, politically powerful colonial churches created a backlash against faith, whereas their disestablishment and America’s new religious liberties created a climate for faith to flourish again.

Click here to read more from Dr. Gene Edward Veith.

Be Informed

Hosted by LCMS Urban & Inner-City Mission, the Rev. Dr. Greg Seltz, executive director of the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty, will presents a free webinar on “Religious Freedom in our PC Culture” from 1:00-2:00 p.m. Central time Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. Seltz will provide insights and strategies to winsomely witness to our world as the Christian faith becomes less “PC.” Learn more here!

Be Equipped

Rev. Christopher Thomas discusses when Christians must disobey government’s restrictions on gathering in a recent Issues, Etc. interview.

Be Encouraged

Dear Father, you sent your Son, who left His powerful position in heaven to be born in a lowly stable, to live life in our place, to die a death that is the recompense for this world’s sin, and to give us eternal life as a gift now and forever. May that motivate our prayers and our service to our friends and our enemies, to our brothers and sisters in the faith and our neighbors in the community, and all who are in authority to lead and to serve. Give us strength to be a people constantly in prayer, available for service, and bold in our witness of the God who is at work in the world to save. In the Name of Jesus, we pray. Amen!