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Post-Christianity: America at the Crossroads
by Sim Lee
7/03/2019 / Christian Living
"..broad is the road that leads to destruction.." Matthew 7:13 NIV
As a commonly shared belief that used to be as straight as a Roman road, today's Christianity in America is more of a corduroy road with its many political correctness curves and corners , no longer looking like its former self.
Changes that did not just happen on their own, and the Christians of America who fostered those changes, along with others, are a totally changed people as well, compared to those of fifty-years ago. And so it is with time and a people of tolerance.
Almost every decade now requires a re-definition of what it means to be a "practicing Christian" in America for the purpose of studies, with every generation displaying far less commitment to Christian worship than did the generation that preceded it.
Things have relaxed quite a bit, as have the metrics to measure a "practicing Christian", such as (1) do they attend church at least once a month, or (2) do they still self-identifying with charitable acts. Such metrics works for a while, until they have to be relaxed again with the diminished faith of the next generation.
Through immigration and multi-religion beliefs (mixture) there has come a point where now an entire national majority no longer self-identifies with Christianity, requiring the metrics to become more geographical related:
The rise of post-modernism now has most America now identifying our nation as being a "Post-Christian nation" a they are identifying as being either Non-Christian or Post-Christian, and another set of redefinition is in order for the purpose of accurately tracking religious data and trend analysis.
The Barna group has came up with a set of 16 metrics by which to measure or separate post-Christian influence, numbers or even identify cities that are dominated by Post-Christian populations.
Here are those 16 criteria:*
1. Do not believe in God
2. Identify as atheist or agnostic
3. Disagree that faith is important in their lives
4. Have not prayed to God (in the last week)
5. Have never made a commitment to Jesus
6. Disagree the Bible is accurate
7. Have not donated money to a church (in the last year)
8. Have not attended a Christian church (in the last 6 months)
9. Agree that Jesus committed sins
10. Do not feel a responsibility to "share their faith"
11. Have not read the Bible (in the last week)
12. Have not volunteered at church (in the last week)
13. Have not attended Sunday school (in the last week)
14. Have not attended religious small group (in the last week)
15. Bible engagement scale: low (have not read the Bible in the past week and disagree strongly or somewhat that the Bible is accurate)
16. Not Born Again
To score 9 of 16 indicates a "Post-Christian" individual and a score of 13 or more identifies a "Highly Post-Christian" individual.
To qualify as "post-Christian," individuals had to meet nine or more of the following factors . "Highly post-Christian" individuals meet 13 or more of the factors (out of these 16 criteria).
Looking across America, Cities in the Northeast scored the highest for Post-Christian populations:
Portland, ME (57%)
Boston, MA (56%)
Albany, NY (54%)
Providence, RI (53%)
Burlington, VT (53%)
Harford, CT (52%)
New York, NY (51%)
Buffalo, NY (50%)
Such statistics imply that America is at a crossroads. Here is the choice of routes being taken:
(1) Looking down one road we are becoming a diminishing number of Christians who are seeing more changing of the times than any U.S. era/generation before us. Ours is the narrow road.
(2) And looking down the other road, we have an increasing number of Non-Christians and former Christians who are seeing more freedom from religion than any other U.S. era/generation before them. Theirs is the broad road.
We all know where those roads will lead.
* Barna.com "The Most Post-Christian Cities in America: 2017" - 6/11/2017 - David Kinnaman & Roxy Leestone - Barna Group
Sim Lee is a retired NE Iowan who loves all of God's creatures.
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