Half of atheists’ children fall away into belief

Christians often worry about their children falling away from the church.  Atheists have the same problem.  According to the Pew research, half of the children raised by atheists end up as believers.

A column on this phenomenon, excerpted and linked after the jump, includes another interesting observation:  “It’s mostly interpersonal relationships that sway beliefs.” [Read more...]

How a contemporary sees contemporary worship

Robert Burns prayed for the power “To see ourselves as others see us!” (To a  Louse). So I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings here.  But it is surely helpful for a church trying to be contemporary to see how actual contemporaries are responding to their efforts.

Matt Walsh, a young guy of the sort that churches are trying to reach, speculates that the reason Christianity is allegedly in decline, according to that Pew study, is that it has become so boring.  But, in his telling, the boredom comes from the proliferation of contemporary worship, which, he says, in the course of making fun of it, drains Christianity of its transcendence, substance, and seriousness. [Read more...]

New study shows percentage of Christians declining

The Pew Research Center has released a new study of American religion.  In 2007, the date of its previous research, the percentage of Christians was 78%.  By 2014, the percentage dropped to 70%.   The percentage of those with no religious affiliation has shot up from 16% to 23%.  (Atheists have gone from 1.6% to 3.1%.)

Much of the decline in the number of Christians has come from dwindling mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics.  Evangelicals (and the study explicitly puts the LCMS in this category) are holding pretty steady.  Though declines are evident across regions, ages, and other demographics, the study says much of it can be accounted for by the Millennial Generation.  A link to the study, which has lots more fascinating details, after the jump. [Read more...]

Converting from secularism to ISIS

Europeans and Americans are pouring into Syria, Iraq, and other countries to join ISIS, where they are becoming some of the bloodiest and most fanatical fighters.  A big percentage of these volunteers are converts to Islam, including Elton Simpson who was killed in the attack in Garland, Texas.

After the jump, an excerpt and link to an article about why Western young people are converting to Islam and joining ISIS.  Common threads:  a non-religious upbringing, divorced parents, and a chaotic moral life.

Could it be that children raised without a belief in God and in a climate of lawlessness have a special attraction to the other extreme?  To a religion of the harshest law, as opposed to the Christian religion of grace?  What other factors do you think are at work? [Read more...]

Being Christian without believing in God

In Judaism, it’s fairly common to hear, “I’m an atheist, but I’m culturally Jewish.”  So why can’t a person be an atheist but culturally Christian?

It turns out that some people like going to church–singing hymns, performing rituals, being part of a community, getting morally inspired–but they have trouble with the God part.  An op-ed by Alana Massey calls for churches to make a space for unbelievers who nevertheless want to be “cultural Christians.” [Read more...]

Environmentalism as a fundamentalist religion

We have blogged about the National Association of Scholars’ study Sustaintability: Higher Education’s New Fundamentalism.  In a review of that document, George Will explains the sense in which this particular kind of environmentalism is, in fact, a fundamentalism. [Read more...]


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