Why Christianity is Losing Members

(1) It’s has decided not to move it’s theology with the moral progression of the world – essentially being ‘left behind’ on moral grounds (which was it’s point of interest)

(2) Christianity is really hard to nail down. What are the beliefs exactly and what is essential to one’s faith in God? How is one’s faith supposed to look? With some 100+ denominations and varying beliefs between them as to importance of certain issues – it becomes confusing.

(3) It’s got quite the sordid past. For a religion centered around love it has a lot of skeletons in the closet that make one re-think this premise. Maybe the foundation is not love, but conformity and institutional adherence? It’s got a serious PR problem and makes no bones about its past.

(4) It’s in a Western society of individualization but demands a culture of confomity to their societial rules; many people cannot make a committment that relieves them of their own thinking.

(5) It’s definitions of certain areas is short-sighted. For example, worship comes to mean the service you attend and the musical aspect of that service (or praise). It’s fairly clear that worship is a much bigger idea but it is hard to determine if this is the case within some churches.

(6) Christianity does not speak for the current problems in society. It does not neccesarily address global warming, pollution, poverty, problems in capitalism, the food industry, etc. In this sense, it is deciding to stay neutral which is as good as being irrelevant.

(7) Christianity is thoroughly steeped in capitalism and politics and reduced itself to irrelevance in face of the new ‘religions’ and definers of daily ethics – business/work. With this faith being so steeped in the processes of capitalism, business, and gov’t – it does not realize the usurption happening.

There are probably more reasons – like dis-satisfaction – but usually we can find our faith being reduced by the religious restrictions we find in the institution. This in turn makes us ask the tougher questions like ‘how important is this place to my livelihood/living’? This is when we start to find out some stark realizations, ‘not very’.

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16 thoughts on “Why Christianity is Losing Members

  1. I could add a few but won’t. Will the churches learn and change? Not unless they are forced to. If enough people leave they may change, or you will see new churches spring up.

  2. Commenting on # 6, I remember seeing Brian Mclaren at a conference. He was telling the story of when he had asked his youth group what the biggest troubles facing the world were – they generated a list on a big chalkboard. Then he had them list the biggest problems facing the church…. another big list. Zero crossover.

  3. “Will the churches learn and change?” (Ken)

    They will, just need a new generation running them.

    “Zero crossover” (Andrew)

    That was something I also noticed in my time in church and within the last 10 years. It’s funny the church doesn’t realize this, they only want to focus on ‘spiritual’ matters. However, the physical aspect of our life is effected by pollution and a variety of other things happening in society…thus playing into the total human experience making these issues important to their congregants.

  4. I agree with these and would also add that the church is seen to be linked to a world view disproved by science – not just fundie creationists but all of us.

  5. is Christianity losing members? some reports say yeah, others say we’re in the midst of one of the biggest religious booms in history (some want to call it the 3rd great awakening, others the great emergence). something is going on.

    i agree with your assessments however but maybe not your premise. McLaren also wrote “Everything Must Change” which is where you’re “zero cross over” parable comes from. if you haven’t read the book, do so now! you’d love it.

  6. I’m not sure I’d agree with your #7. Certain regions, well, Christ yes! But there are places where things like liberation theology is gaining ground over capitalistic justifications. Vantage point and time can skew this image of Christianity.

    So is this list like a sign of a good things ahead then because the “faith” is shedding something? Or is this a “call to arms”? (helping, loving, hugging arms, not the bearing, stabbing, destroying arms…)

  7. “is Christianity losing members?” (Luke)

    If we include Catholicism, I would say yes.

    I will check into that McClaren book at some point – I am still yet to finish Generous Orthodoxy.

  8. “So is this list like a sign of a good things ahead then because the “faith” is shedding something? Or is this a “call to arms”?” (Andrew)

    Personally, I would say it’s a call to action and reflection. Things aren’t all bad but there is massive room for improvement.

    For example, I just watch 12th and Deleware last night (documentary) about an abortion clinic and an anti-abortion (Catholic) place across the street. The anti-abortion place was always picketing and trying to convince people ‘not to’ have an abortion (and I can understand some of that). However, what type of actual resources were there to help the mother that kept the baby? Was there a support system in place – a ministry designed just for the care of those that did decide to have another child? I don’t think there is or ever has been.

    It’s scenarios like that – that really show me the weakness in the Christian ministries. Sure were pro-life, but only to the point we can stop someone from having abortion…almost like ‘screw the mother’s life’. Resources for what the church actually does care about need to exist and be filled with people willing to help…and I bet if these ministries do exist they would flourish (since it is about caring and support – something we all like to do).

  9. if you include Catholicism, then the answer would be an astonishing NO. globally, Catholicism (Roman and Orthodoxy) are growing rapidly. even here in the states were 1 in 6 are baptists, this trend is picking up in a once WASPy nation which was fearful of Catholics of any sort.

  10. “if you include Catholicism, then the answer would be an astonishing NO” (Luke)

    I guess I didn’t have the statistics, but I guess that makes sense. Regardless, I still see the need for further change in the church for the church to be considered the church we see in the bible (if that’s what they are aiming for).

  11. we agree in the end result which is “The church must change.” we disagree as to statistics and maybe even method. i went into ministry as to enact change as it is my belief more change can be done from the inside than from outside.

    i also believe that everything is a cycle. so while we may see our ranks swelling in terms of church, the change to misinterpret grows with the more numbers we get… as does the pressure to bend to the will of “selling” religion vs. living out a faith.

  12. SocietyVS,

    This seems like a great site. Very inclusive and thought provoking.

    You said “Resources for what the church actually does care about need to exist and be filled with people willing to help…and I bet if these ministries do exist they would flourish (since it is about caring and support – something we all like to do).”

    They DO exist! Our church helps women all the time who are pregnant and don’t want an abortion. We give money, diapers, places to stay. Why would you assume that this doesn’t happen? The documentary you saw could be very bias and may not capture the whole story. You may only have heard one side of the arguement.

    Call any church and ask them how they can help if your girlfriend or wife is pregnant and is considering an abortion. Put them to the test. Call any of the Christian pro-life crisis pregnancy centers and ask.

    • All heads of religion lead a very cushy lifestyle.
      While the populace suffers under terrible conditions, these wicked magi go around breaking the law of the land – yet escape punishment.
      I say tear down these fancy, gold covered churches and do away with all their
      finery.
      Let these religious leaders go about in humility, selling their valuables in order to FEED and CLOTHE the people!
      I mean, isn’t that what their god instructed them to do?

  13. When people wake up to the fact that it’s all about control and sucking money out of the parishioners…they will leave.
    Religion is hocus pokus nonsense with a history of unimaginable bloodfilled cruelty.

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