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...]

A masculinity crisis from porn & gaming

A leading psychologist is saying that pornography and video games are crippling young men in their ability to have relate to women and to the real world outside themselves.  Philip Zombardo goes so far as to say that excessive use of porn and gaming is actually rewiring the male brain, as these new means of hyper-stimulation alter the normal pleasure centers, throwing off young men’s social development.  From the Amazon blurb on his book Man (Dis) Connected:

Zimbardo argues that readily available hardcore pornography and exciting gaming realities provide digital alternatives that are less demanding and far more appealing for many than sex, sports and social interaction in the real world. Immersion in these alternative realms is playing havoc with these boys’ cognitive development, their ability to concentrate and their social development, allowing girls to excel in the real world where social skills are a source of success.

More on his findings after the jump. [Read more...]

“The sacraments are what make the church relevant”

Yesterday we blogged about Rachel Held Evan’s contention that church growth techniques designed to reach Millennials–contemporary worship, attempts to make church relevant, efforts to make Christianity seem cool–do not, in fact, work.  Her suggestion instead:   “Keep worship weird.”  That is, recover the sacraments.  “The sacraments,” she says, “are what make the church relevant.” [Read more...]

Church growth tactics don’t work with Millennials

Rachel Held Evans was something of an evangelical renegade who left the church for awhile, only to come back recently as an Episcopalian.  In an op-ed piece, she explains that the church growth tactics that churches try to use to reach her Millennial generation just don’t work.  “Young people don’t simply want a better show,” she says.  “And trying to be cool might be making things worse.”

After the jump, a link and an excerpt to her piece, giving data to back up her claim.  But tomorrow we’ll post about what she says WILL make Christianity relevant to her generation. [Read more...]

Support for gun rights grows

Reversing the trends of the last few decades, a majority of Americans (52%) now say that protecting the right to own a firearm is more important than controlling gun ownership.  The question now is why that is. [Read more...]

Today is the safest time to be a kid?

We’ve blogged about the Maryland parents who have been charged with child neglect for letting their children walk home by themselves.  There are similar  cases in Texas, Florida, and South Carolina.

The government is cracking down on “free range parents” in order to protect children from crime and other hazards.  And yet, according to the data, crimes against children are lower than they have ever been.  Other dangers–abductions, traffic accidents, children going missing, and other parental nightmares–are also lower than ever, including in those more carefree days of yesteryear when children were allowed to roam at will.

[Read more...]