Sunday Morning Blasphemy: ‘The Coming Evangelical Collapse’on August 26, 2012 at 9:16 am
So I found this interesting prediction from three years ago:
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.
Now, while I’m not adverse to this idea, I have to point out that it’s not that we’ll hate religion per se; We’ll just hate what has been done with it. It’s not the religion itself that we’ll have a problem with but the culture of hate that uses religion to justify itself. I find it unlikely that people will be unable to make the distinction between Catholics and Evangelical Christians. No one blames Evangelicals for the Church’s pedophilia problem and people do not equate the vile rhetoric of the Westboro Baptists with a church in Harlem.
The article goes on to say why this will happen:
1. Evangelicals have identified their movement with the culture war and with political conservatism. This will prove to be a very costly mistake. 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.
The evangelical investment in moral, social, and political issues has depleted our resources and exposed our weaknesses. Being against gay marriage and being rhetorically pro-life will not make up for the fact that massive majorities of Evangelicals can’t articulate the Gospel with any coherence. We fell for the trap ofbelieving in a cause more than a faith. Oh HELL yes that’s the problem! The religious right placed their politics above their beliefs and that forced them to contort those beliefs to fit their politics. If you can argue that Jesus wants you to reward the rich and punish the poor, it’s safe to say you’ve missed the point of the New testament.
2. We Evangelicals have failed to pass on to our young people an orthodox form of faith that can take root and survive the secular onslaught. Ironically, the billions of dollars we’ve spent on youth ministers, Christian music, publishing, and media has produced a culture of young Christians who know next to nothing about their own faith except how they feel about it. Our young people have deep beliefs about the culture war, but do not know why they should obey scripture, the essentials of theology, or the experience of spiritual discipline and community. Coming generations of Christians are going to be monumentally ignorant and unprepared for culture-wide pressures. Yup. I’m an atheist and on a good day I know more about Christianity than most American Christians. This is both profoundly disturbing and a source of great amusement to me.
Oh, if only it was true, not so much because I’m an atheist and I have a low opinion of religion but because without the Evangelical movement, conservative politics collapse like the house of cards it is. The corruption of religion by politics has held back 40 years of progress in this country and there’s no telling how much more damage it will do before it devours itself. Keep your fingers crossed it’s sooner than later.