Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Myth of the Christian Majority

Posted by Teresa at 11:04 AM
Oftentimes in debates between non-believers and Christians you will hear
this statement: The majority of Americans are Christian. Christians use
it to argue one shouldn't find a particular religious doctrine offensive when
a majority of people agree with their beliefs. Non-believers might use it to say
they are being silenced by a much louder majority and/or also for further
evidence that America is "too religious." I would like to the dispell the myth of
the "evangelical Christian majority."

It's true that about 80 percent of Americans classify themselves as Christians. But I
want to argue that traditional, evangelical (whatever you want to call it) Christianity
is by no way mainstream. A Barna study done a few years ago found that only
4 percent prescribe to a biblical worldview. There's a lack of biblical knowledge
even in our churches. Tons of media attention is given to the Creation vs. Evolution
debate. This poll shows only 38 percent favor replacing evolution with creationism.
Thirty-eight is not a majority! Another factor is church attendance. Only about 40
percent
of Americans tend a religious service weekly. Again, no majority there. The
Bible teaches to abstain from sex until marriage. Yet, 95 percent of adult Americans
engage in pre-marital sex. I'm by no means that saying that people who engage in
pre-marital sex and agree with evolution are not Christians. What I'm saying is when
one argues the majority of Americans are Christian they are neglecting to mention the
waning influence Christianity has in our lives and society.

This is why I believe so many Christians get involved in politics. Christians see a
declining role of religion in our lives but politics takes center stage in America,
especially in a era where everything is politicized. Therefore, many evangelical
Christians get involved in politics to make our voices and presence known. The
irony is this involvement in politics makes Christianity less appealing. Also, with the
statistics I gave earlier I think it's absurd when people argue that America is turning
to some sort of theocracy, we are far from it.

There's a reason why evangelical Christians have made our own sub-culture with our
own terminology (Christianese), music, etc. It's not because we want to isolate ourselves
from the rest of society. It's because we often feel ignored by the rest of society
that views our beliefs as archaic and often stereotyped as the "nutty Bible-thumpers."
So, that is why I believe the "evangelical Christian majority" is a myth. If anything,
I think I'm part of a religious minority.

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