Maybe if we keep giving politicians reason to pay attention to those of us without religion, some of them (hi, Bernie Sanders!) will take the hint.
Using the Pew Research Center’s 2007 Religious Landscape survey and their own 2014 American Values Atlas, the Public Religion Research Institute took a look at the religious demographic changes in the political swing states.
They found that, down the line, every state is losing Christians and gaining people without religion.
Adam Ford, a Christian cartoonist, made this comic that I’ve seen several people sharing online:
The full strip is here and you should read the whole thing to understand his perspective.
In short, it acknowledges what the studies have been showing: Christianity is losing people while the “Nones” are growing. But Ford suggests that the shift has everything to do with people who never really cared about religion one way or another — the “cultural” Christians — and simply use whatever label is most convenient at the time.
There’s probably some truth to that. But I think Ford dismisses a very real concern that Christians ought to have: Not everybody leaving the faith is simply apathetic about faith.
Over the past week, we’ve seen a lot of Christian leaders try to spin the Pew Research Center’s Religious Landscape numbers into something positive… which I’ve said is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
The study showed that the percent of Americans who are “unaffiliated” with any religion has jumped from 16.1% in 2007 to 22.8% today. Meanwhile, every major Christian tradition is losing some ground.
In one example, Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, claims this is a good thing because Christianity isn’t losing the die-hards… they’re losing the wishy-washy: