Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Death March of Evangelical Christianity

I was directed this evening to a opinion piece published in the Christian Science Monitor written by Michael Spencer (an evangelical). The following quote sums up the article nicely.
We are on the verge – within 10 years – of a major collapse of evangelical Christianity. This breakdown will follow the deterioration of the mainline Protestant world and it will fundamentally alter the religious and cultural environment in the West.

Within two generations, evangelicalism will be a house deserted of half its occupants. (Between 25 and 35 percent of Americans today are Evangelicals.) In the "Protestant" 20th century, Evangelicals flourished. But they will soon be living in a very secular and religiously antagonistic 21st century.

This collapse will herald the arrival of an anti-Christian chapter of the post-Christian West. Intolerance of Christianity will rise to levels many of us have not believed possible in our lifetimes, and public policy will become hostile toward evangelical Christianity, seeing it as the opponent of the common good.

These few sentences give me hope that this group will lose their strangle hold over the American democratic system. Throughout most of my life, Evangelicals and other Christians have attempted to impose their beliefs on everyone else through legislation and judicial challenges. Hopeful this is the first whispers of an impending lose of power.

Spencer describes the reasons he thinks the dissolution will occur and many are the precise things that I had previously recognized.
Evangelicals will increasingly be seen as a threat to cultural progress. Public leaders will consider us bad for America, bad for education, bad for children, and bad for society...massive majorities of Evangelicals can't articulate the Gospel with any coherence.

I am glad that others are or soon will be catching up.

The author describes that he thinks currently religious people will take one of two paths. They will either leave religion behind or shift into the more orthodox and dogmatic forms like Catholicism. This will widen the gap between the religious and the non-religious by removing much of what is considered 'mainline' Christianity. This stark contrast will result in many moderates choosing a more secular path rather than the more fundamentalist ideologies.

I see this as a precursor to the death of Christianity as a whole as it will inevitably continue to follow the same path that past religions have. Initially, the religion is concentrated with its single set of dogma and orthodoxy. As time progresses the religion becomes fractured, as happened when the Protestants split from the Catholic Church, the Church of England split from the Roman Catholic Church, when the Protestant church fractured into it many denominations and most recently with the advent of the emerging church and mega churches. As the divisions occur the message becomes watered down and loses its power. As this occurs, the stories of God and Jesus will turn into myths and hold the same power as stories of Zeus and Thor.

Spencer, M. (2009, March 10). Title:The coming evangelical collapse [Editorial].
The Christian Science Monitor, 9. Retrieved March 10, 2009, from

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