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1 dragonath  Tue, Oct 9, 2012 10:20:34pm

I know from experience that the youth groups in my former church were being co-opted by radical theology, much of it against the actual beliefs of the church.

Not everybody was an asshole, but the rot was setting in.

2 freetoken  Wed, Oct 10, 2012 12:31:02am

Note that Pew's "other" category is growing as well as the bin for atheists and other non-believers.

If one looks at a bit more detail:
Image: nones-exec-6.png
One can see specifically the drop in "Protestant" has come from the two subgroups labeled as "White", while the "Black" and other "Minority" subgroups of "Protestant" have remained steady over the years.

Now, it's a bit of a forced type of categorization for Pew to do polling like this, but it does show that the general shift in demographics in the US shows up in religious self-identification.

3 The Left  Wed, Oct 10, 2012 7:12:13am

I think it might be something else, namely the change in the culture in the last twenty years. 20 years ago it was STILL ok to hate or fear gay people-- but now, we know them as friends, relatives, coworkers, stars of TV shows.

Similarly, there's been a change in how evangelical christians view the environment-- younger evangelicals, studies have shown, think of the environment as something God wants them to take care of.

I liked your essay and agree with it, especially the Reagan-axis of fundamental and evangelical christians and the right, -- but I think there''s been a broader sea change in the culture that you didn't touch on.

4 Destro  Wed, Oct 10, 2012 7:36:56am

re: #3 The Left

Something is going on. I read several articles about how the GOP is freaked that their party, which is a demographic party (even though it claims it is an ideological party) is shrinking which is why the voter restrictions that had been done.

I am assuming the GOP does internal polling and knows what is happening to their future better than we do.

5 dragonath  Wed, Oct 10, 2012 8:04:47am

Destro, if you want to read about something that ill bug your eyes out, look up the Creation Festival. It's advertised as a more or less middle of the road thing but it attracts some of the most insane people in the movement.

But yeah, thing are changing, for the better and for the worse. People are less strident than their parents, but are less educated.

6 Destro  Wed, Oct 10, 2012 8:09:05am

re: #5 dragonath

What's funny about creationism is that it is a Protestant American thing. Catholics, Jews and Orthodox Christians kind of work around evolution and work it into their doctrines somehow, while of course all claim that God created everything. Protestants in Europe are not like Protestants in the USA on creationism either.

7 The Left  Wed, Oct 10, 2012 9:12:01am


8 Skip Intro  Wed, Oct 10, 2012 9:12:50am
A new study released on Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that it was not just liberal mainline Protestants, like Methodists or Episcopalians, who abandoned their faith, but also more conservative evangelical and ‘born again’ Protestants.

This is excellent news, because this is the group that believes all of it's members are "saved" while everyone else is going straight to hell, the bible is literally true, down to the last period, and have long debates among themselves about what stage of the end times Great Tribulation we're now in (pre, mid, or post).

Loons all, and the core of the GOP.

9 The Left  Wed, Oct 10, 2012 9:13:00am

weird-- I can see that there are comments here but I can't read any of them. They're not coming up. :(

10 Mostly sane, most of the time.  Wed, Oct 10, 2012 10:41:28am

You need to understand the difference between the mainstream Protestant faiths and the evangelicals. My grandmother was a mainstream Presbyterian for something like 60 years. She was a PBS liberal and a social worker.

None of her children attend the Presbyterian church. Two attend no church, one is a Mormon, and one is an Evangelical.

Churches need to give people a reason to get their butt out of bed on Sunday morning, to contribute to the rummage sale, to come to the spaghetti feed, to teach that Sunday School class. If your church has stopped explaining why they are necessary, they're going to lose people.

Grandma attended because her friends were there, but she definitely saw church attendance as optional. My aunt (the last one that would self-identify as Presbyterian) sees it as being so optional she doesn't need to do it at all.

If you classify all Protestants as "fundamentalists" you are failing to understand American religion on a very basic scale.

11 Destro  Wed, Oct 10, 2012 11:39:02am

re: #10 Mostly sane, most of the time.

I myself do not classify all Protestants as "fundamentalists" but the Republican party is a party deeply associated with Protestants and the rightward shift the GOP heralded did affect the non Evangelical Protestants. I feel the centrist, modernists and moderate Protestants were hurt by the GOP's relationship with religion in that if t he GOP's policies don't work what else about their faith is correct, etc. But instead of exploring other religious associations these white Protestants seem to 'drop out' of their faith.

There is no way I can prove this of course. It is just speculation on my experience within the GOP party and their religious nature and how it made me feel when I saw their ideology fail in front of my eyes.

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