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Thursday, March 12, 2009

On the Demise of Religion

Michael Spencer writes about The coming evangelical collapse in The Christian Science Monitor.
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.

Millions of Evangelicals will quit. Thousands of ministries will end. Christian media will be reduced, if not eliminated. Many Christian schools will go into rapid decline. I'm convinced the grace and mission of God will reach to the ends of the earth. But the end of evangelicalism as we know it is close.
I agree with him but I think he's mistaken if he thinks that belief in God will survive the collapse of the evangelical right.

Evangelical Christianity is in trouble because its very core is being challenged, not because of its association with old-fashioned morality.

[Hat Tip:]


  1. Theism is being propped up by the Evangelical Right? That seems a sweeping statement to me.

    While there exists the general "New Atheist" challenge to theism, I think the proximate causes of evangelical decline are a backlash against its recent socio-political excesses, and (where it is an intellectual issue at all) to specific absurdities like creationism or salvationism. I don't see where this touches more moderate theisms, or the extremisms of non-Christian religions.

  2. I could accept the idea that the Religious Right will collapse (most likely in on itself, resulting in a black hole of stupid), but christianity? Nah. It's endured too long.

    I suppose, given a lot longer than 10 years, that Christianity might fade into a cultural thing, rather than a true religion that rules peoples' lives.

  3. There's also an 'evangelical left' and there are many less political religious alternatives. I agree with Eamon Knight that it's not a question of religion in general. The yen for spirituality is still up to date. Although there are always some waves in history, and the next cycle maybe will bring a decline of some radical forms of religions.