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Religion selectors, pages, etc.
Churchgoing and belief in God stand at historic lows, despite a megachurch surge
By HatetheSwamp
December 21, 2022 10:22 am
Category: Religion

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Interestingly:

The lone, striking countertrend is a steep rise in nondenominational Protestants, who attend churches outside the “mainline” denominations — the once-ubiquitous Baptists, Methodists and Lutherans.

Nondenominational Protestants — “nons” — became a majority in 2021, signaling a new era of churches and clergies untethered from religious tradition.

The decline is largely driven by a surging population of “nones,” or Americans who claim no religion, at 21 percent, as of 2021, according to Gallup.

The rise in “nons,” “nones” and nonbelievers all come at the expense of a vanishing “moderate middle” of American faith, Campbell said.

Mainline Protestantism “is collapsing,” Burge wrote in a recent article tracking the decline of Christian denominations and the rise of nondenominational churches.

“If ‘nondenominational’ were a denomination, it would be the largest Protestant one, claiming more than 13 percent of churchgoers in America,” Daniel Silliman wrote in Christianity Today.

Nondenominational churches often start as, “literally, a guy in his basement,” Burge said.


Two comments.

1. Evie and I are big-time Jesus people but we eschew institutionalized Christianity. So, there's good news here from out point of view. We are one variant of the so-called "nones." In fact, we "identify" as nones. Bahahahahahahahahahaha!

2. Don't miss the reality that there's a type of Christianity that is, actually, growing...and rapidly. It's what the article calls nondenominational. A group that starts by a guy in his basement. As the article says, "Mainline Protestantism 'is collapsing.'” Mainline Protestantism, i.e., woke religiousity in on a death watch. Interestingly, this is the sort of religion the First Amendment intends to protect...It's working! Keeheeheeheeheeheeheehee.

Good news for pb-ism. Good, good news.


Cited and related links:

  1. thehill.com
  2. thehill.com

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Comments on "Churchgoing and belief in God stand at historic lows, despite a megachurch surge ":

  1. by Donna on December 21, 2022 10:35 am

    Non-deminational churches may be on the increase, but Christianity is on the decline and has been for many years. The Lutheran church my family was active in back in the day went belly-up over 10 years ago. So sad. I have nothing but fond memories of my churchgoing experience.

    Boomers popularized megachurches, but their kids and grandkids are rejecting not only megachurches, but organized religion. There's been the same trend in Judaism and Islam.


  2. by HatetheSwamp on December 21, 2022 11:29 am

    Donna,

    You're oozing joy over the demise of Christianity in America.

    But, I'm far from certain Christianity really is in decline. What's declining is mainline Christianity, most of that has always been shallow and lacking in any substantial commitment to the institution, much less to Jesus. The article alludes to the day when membership in one of those churches meant little more than one wasn't a Communist. That brand of Christianity is typical of Lutheranism. Truth is. Lutheran and United Church of Christ and United Methodist churches are dropping like flies. But, those "in some guy's basement" churches are a real movement.

    Dark side? For the woke? You lot see those churches as a hot bed breeding ground for Christian nationalism. I don't see that myself but I'm sure that there's some of that.

    Bottom line. I caution you not to celebrate too loudly. What's likely is that a generation from now, Christianity in the west will be vibrant but different from made you snooze as a young man.


  3. by Curt_Anderson on December 21, 2022 11:31 am
    Mega churches are analogous to big box mega stores.
    Church attendance = in-person shopping.
    Online shopping = being spiritual but rejecting organized religion.
    You make your own analogies and see the corresponding trends.


  4. by Donna on December 21, 2022 12:03 pm

    No, that isn't my attitude towards Christianity, Hate. If it were, I'd say so.

    You seem to need me to be this Christophobe you've conjured up in that wacky mind of yours, I suppose in order to give you a reason to attack me. Unlike you, I'm always honest.

    od does the same sort of thing. He seems to need be to be a Marxist, I suppose in order to justify attacking me.

    It's all so tiresome and childish. Unlike you guys, I'm always honest, except when I'm sparing someone's feelings.







  5. by HatetheSwamp on December 21, 2022 12:19 pm

    Donna,

    I know that we only have written words here and that limits us. But, I've noted that you're quick to point out the decline of the institutional Christian church in America and that, to me, you seem to be happy about it...if not gleeful. So, how does declining institutionalized Christian church attendance make you feel? Note: I won't believe you if you claim no feeling. You bring it up too regularly for you to be apathetic.


  6. by oldedude on December 21, 2022 12:19 pm
    Lead and Donna,
    I, too, maybe? see a drop in Church attendance. But I do agree with Lead. I see the people going to church are more serious believers than it was when I was growing up. I agree that in the '70's, it was perhaps more "casual" than it is now. Christians that I come in contact with a lot here, are more devout, much more knowledgeable about what they believe. When I grew up, there wasn't much talk about Revelations. Now, a main thrust of the small Christian churches is to teach from the Bible as FACT, not a "story." Much of what I've heard only deals with small portions of one book at a time. The only thing the Minister does is help you connect with the word. Most of this is connections with the people. "You'll remember that X was here and there in the book of this." Another main issue with the new sermons is that Revelations has it's foretelling in the Old Testament, and here are the signs presently.


  7. by Donna on December 21, 2022 12:37 pm

    YOU opened the subject, Hate. I responded with additional facts.

    God knows my heart. That's all that matters.


  8. by oldedude on December 21, 2022 12:46 pm
    "od does the same sort of thing. He seems to need be to be a Marxist, I suppose in order to justify attacking me."

    It's not an attack. I look at what you support and don't. What you push back on, and what you don't. You're a poster child for Alinsky. I know you don't want to hear it, and that's why I asked you to actually look at that post. If you don't like the name, I don't know what to tell you. Maybe quit subscribing to that theory? Maybe you don't know you support the theory, but that's why I put that out there.

    To be fair though, out of Curt, isle, and you, you're the furthest from the center. isle is just starting to understand this but is the useful idiot of the bunch. I would use curt to propagandize. Steadfast, calm, and dedicated. You aren't aware that you're a supporter.

    When I mention Alinskyist, and you don't think it applies, that's fine. I'm not pointing at you all the time. Sometimes I'm pointing at the millions of others who support the theory.


  9. by Donna on December 21, 2022 1:03 pm

    I've never studied Marx or Alisnsky, but if in your opinion I'm a Marxist or Alinskyist, so be it. I'm tired of of the subject.



  10. by oldedude on December 21, 2022 9:14 pm
    I'm asking me to prove me wrong. That's all.


  11. by Donna on December 21, 2022 10:47 pm

    I'm not interested in proving anything to you.



  12. by oldedude on December 21, 2022 10:54 pm
    Don't prove it to me, I'm the least of your worries. And since you gave me permission, I'll continue.


  13. by HatetheSwamp on December 22, 2022 3:49 am

    Donna,

    IMO, you're the most transparent poster here, by a long chalk. In this case, however, the way you post and what you say about yourself don't comport. Any normal person would have very complex thoughts and feelings about Christianity, the church, et.al., considering your life's journey. You were an effin, as po'd say, Navigator for cryin out loud! To journey from there to being the committed progressive you are today? C'mon, Donna. Gimme a break! You've lived a life that the HuffPo could do a feature on. There's no bein Mr. Spock on that highway. You may not be in touch with all that. But, you're human.


  14. by Donna on December 22, 2022 9:58 am

    I don't care what you believe about me. God knows my heart.


  15. by HatetheSwamp on December 22, 2022 10:11 am

    Clearly. God knows your heart. I've begun to suspect that YOU don't know your heart.


  16. by Donna on December 22, 2022 10:31 am

    Don't you have anything better to do than to attack me about things you couldn't possibly know?



  17. by Curt_Anderson on December 22, 2022 10:41 am
    Donna, if HtS isn’t allowed to attack, complain or discuss topics on which he knows nothing, what is left for him to talk about?


  18. by Donna on December 22, 2022 10:45 am

    LOL! Good point.


  19. by HatetheSwamp on December 22, 2022 10:49 am

    I ain't attacking. Read my posts.

    I said that the HuffPo could do a feature on you. Your journey from committed evangelical Navigator to secular progressive is remarkable, extraordinary and unusual. That think you can achieve so great a change and be emotionally blah about it is extremely unlikely and, for any other human, were that the case would suggest that something significant is going on emotionally.

    I don't know you beyond our years on SS. I only know what it is to be a functioning human.


  20. by Donna on December 22, 2022 10:57 am

    Your assumption that I was a committed evangelical Navigator is wrong. I was active in the group for one semester and increasingly had misgivings about their beliefs and methods. For example, they were into burning their rock and roll albums. The experience was an eye-opener for me, though, because I was a product the Maryland Synod Lutheran Church, which was about as far away from the evangelical born-again movement as you can get.



  21. by HatetheSwamp on December 22, 2022 11:15 am

    Fine, Donna. You have traveled a rather spectacular journey over your decades. I'm familiar with Missouri Synod Lutherans. In some ways, they're more traditional than many evangelicals. Even if you hadn't dabbled in Navigator-ism, the Missouri Synod journey to where you are now is remarkable. If you choose to deny that, there's nuthin anyone can do about that. But, your journey is extraordinary. My guess is that few of the kids you attended church with are where you are today, geographically, spiritually or politically. I'm certainly not condemning your journey, nor you. but I know what it means to be human. Why you'd want to ignore all this...or minimize...it I can't guess. But, I know what you post here...and what you've revealed about where you've been.


  22. by Donna on December 22, 2022 11:47 am

    "Even if you hadn't dabbled in Navigator-ism, the Missouri Synod journey to where you are now is remarkable. If you choose to deny that, there's nuthin anyone can do about that." - Hate

    I do choose to deny that because that isn't what I said. I said "I was a product the Maryland Synod Lutheran Church", not the Missouri Synod. In fact we used to derisively call the Missouri Synod the "Misery Synod".

    I think part of the problem we have communicating here is that you don't read carefully what others post. This comes up all the time with you.


  23. by Curt_Anderson on December 22, 2022 12:01 pm
    When I was a kid walking home from school in Wisconsin, I used to pass competing metal plaques nailed to telephone polls. Some said Wisconsin Lutheran Synod and others said Missouri Lutheran Synod. It seemed to me the two denominations were staking out their territory like rival gangs. Not being Lutheran I did not know then (nor now, btw) why some Wisconsinites were affiliated with a Missouri church.


  24. by Donna on December 22, 2022 12:17 pm

    I'm not well-versed in the histories of the Lutheran synods, but I do know that at least back in the day, the Maryland Synod was regarded as the most liberal Lutheran synod.


  25. by HatetheSwamp on December 22, 2022 12:30 pm

    You mean the most liberal Missouri Synod Lutheran Synod? That wouldn't surprise me. Still, the Missouri Synod is, by far, the most conservative Lutheran group in the US. Saying that the Maryland Synod was the most liberal Missouri Synod Synod is a tad like being the tallest midget in the room.


  26. by Donna on December 22, 2022 12:35 pm

    "You mean the most liberal Missouri Synod Lutheran Synod?" - Hate

    No.

    I don't care whether or not you take this personally, Hate, but I'm sick and tired of trying to have a rational conversation with you.



  27. by HatetheSwamp on December 23, 2022 4:36 am

    Donna,

    C'mon man. I was intimately involved in institutional Christianity for decades. This is something I know. When I was in school, I took an elective in which the prof took the class through a whole semester attempting to identify who evangelicals are and what evangelicalism is.

    I took that class 30 years ago. I still remember clearly the day in which the professor broke down American Lutherans. He noted that, of the major branches, all are obviously far too liberal and tradition bound to be considered evangelical EXCEPT the Missouri Synod. The Missouri Synod?, in his thinking bordered on being too conservative to be called evangelical.

    I'm frustrated, too, Donna, by our difficulty in having a rational conversation with you. But, in this case, you are the problem! Compared to the ELCA and the AALC, the Missouri Synod is waaaaaaaaaay conservative. That's just, as po'd say, the EFFIN truth. Live it!

    Period!


  28. by Ponderer on December 23, 2022 8:30 am

    Jesus Fukking God, Bill.

    Donna was NEVER talking about the "Missouri Synod". She was specifically talking about the MARYLAND Synod.

    She corrects you and you STILL can't admit that you made a mistake. You press on about Missouri like you meant to make a mistake all along and mistaking the synod that Donna was talking about wasn't a mistake. She knows what she was talking about and you blatantly didn't. Yet you keep acting like you still don't understand and bizarrely, that somehow makes you correct in your mistake.

    You made a mistake and you simply are incapable of admitting it. You are a pathetically idiotic debater. A hypocritical, bloviating idiot with an ego the size of Jupiter.

    And you refuse to ever address or deal with your reading comprehension disability. Missouri and Maryland are different states. They aren't the same state just because they start with the same language.


  29. by HatetheSwamp on December 23, 2022 9:44 am

    po. I'll walk you back to first grade. In the US, there are three major Lutheran denominations: the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, the American Association of Lutheran Churches and the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod.

    The Missouri Synod denomination is a huuuuuuuuuge denomination, covering much of the country. In fact, it's one of the largest denominations in America with nearly 2 million members. The regions of the Church are themselves called Synods. There is, then, a Maryland Synod of the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod.

    There are, still today Maryland Synod, Missouri Synod Lutheran churches even though the church Donna attended has bit the dust. I have no doubt that the Maryland Synod of the LC-Missouri Synod is the most liberal Synod but the Missouri Synod Lutheran denomination is, far and away, the most conservative Lutheran Church in America. So, to be the most liberal Missouri Synod Synod is like being the tallest midget in the room.

    All of this is objective truth. It's not debatable. I hope you can grasp it.


  30. by oldedude on December 23, 2022 9:09 pm
    "by Curt_Anderson on December 21, 2022 11:31 am
    Mega churches are analogous to big box mega stores.
    Church attendance = in-person shopping.
    Online shopping = being spiritual but rejecting organized religion.
    You make your own analogies and see the corresponding trends."


    Okay.... Curt. I have an issue of perspective (which means I'm not calling you wrong, Just different from my opinion) and a question.

    I Listen to Dr. (Rev) David Jeremiah (not to be confused with the occult member of Jeremiah Wright's church) to listen about how he sees the bible. What is great is that he explains the people, time, places, etc. I appreciate that. I also listen to another couple of churches because my wife does so I tune in to them because I like to hear their view. I am a Christian but rejects the idea that one church has the sole (soul) authority over the religion. I do believe "‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” So where do I fit in? It seems that I'm "making my own stuff up as I feel like it" in your view.


  31. by Ponderer on December 24, 2022 9:20 am

    I understand what all the confusion is about regarding the Maryland Synod Lutheran Church.

    Hts claims there's a "Maryland Synod of the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod". That could be - I don't know. Hts, can you cite a source for that? Anyhow, much has changed since I was active at Reformation Lutheran Church in Baltimore, which went belly-up in 2009.

    Reformation Lutheran Church of Baltimore, MD was part of the Maryland Synod which was in turn part of the "Lutheran Church in America" (LCA). In 1986, five years after I stopped attending church, the Lutheran Church in America (LCA), which my church was part of, along with the American Lutheran Church and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches merged and formed the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). This is not to be confused with "Evangelical Christians" as they're known today.

    If there was a Maryland Synod that became part of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod as Hts claims, I have no knowledge of that. All I know is that my church was part of the LCA which became part of the ELCA in 1986.

    From the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Wikipedia page:

    "In 2015, Pew Research estimated that 1.4 percent of the U.S. population self-identifies with the ELCA. It is the seventh-largest Christian denomination by reported membership, and the largest Lutheran denomination in the United States. The next two largest Lutheran denominations are the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) (with over 1.8 million baptized members[9]) and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) (with approximately 340,000 members).

    There are also many smaller Lutheran church bodies in the United States, some of which were formed by dissidents to the major 1988 merger. Lutheranism is associated with the theology of Martin Luther, with its official confessional writings found in the Book of Concord. The ELCA accepts the unaltered Augsburg Confession (not the variata) as a true witness to the Gospel. The ELCA is less conservative than the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) or the more conservative Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), the second and third largest Lutheran bodies in the United States, respectively. Most ELCA Lutherans are theologically moderate-to-liberal, although has a sizable conservative minority. Other Lutheran bodies in the U.S. tend to hold more strictly to Confessional Lutheranism."

    I did some additional reading and discovered that while the LCA has been ordaining women pastors since 1970, the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) still forbids women pastors. The LCA also has LGBTQ pastors while the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod does not.

    The fundamental difference between the Missouri Synod and the old Maryland Synod my church was a member of is that Missouri Synod Lutherans are fundamentalists (strict, literal interpretation of scripture) while the old Maryland Synod were not.

    en.wikipedia.org


  32. by Donna on December 24, 2022 9:22 am

    Oops - that was my post.


  33. by HatetheSwamp on December 24, 2022 9:36 am

    Just curious. How do you know that the Maryland Synod was the most liberal Synod?


  34. by Donna on December 24, 2022 9:40 am

    Did I say it was the "most" liberal synod? I don't know. Al I know is that it was more liberal than the Missouri synod.


  35. by Donna on December 24, 2022 9:45 am

    "I'm not well-versed in the histories of the Lutheran synods, but I do know that at least back in the day, the Maryland Synod was regarded as the most liberal Lutheran synod." - me

    As far as I know. If there was another Lutheran synod that was more liberal, I'm unaware of that.


  36. by oldedude on December 24, 2022 9:57 pm
    Donna and Lead,
    I'm not going to interrupt. I'm just trying to keep a grasp on this situation. I didn't know they existed until a few days ago, So I'm stuoopid about this. I do see some other things that may be of interest.


  37. by Donna on December 24, 2022 10:22 pm

    No problem od. The Lutheran church is as confusing as hell. Not worth spending any more time on it.


  38. by HatetheSwamp on December 25, 2022 4:03 am

    The Lutheran Church in the US is the child of the immigration of Europeans during mostly the 18th and 19th centuries. Lutheranism is the state Church in several European nations. In fact, Kierkegaard was a disaffected Danish Lutheran. The existence of the several Lutheran denominations is, primarily, due to the various waves of immigration and the national differences of people who settled in various parts of the US.

    Lutheran Churches are typical of the "mainstream" denominations which are in very serious decline in the US. Churches that were state churches do very little beyond harkening to early Christian creeds for their teachings...then reinforcing the cultural values of the time and place.

    My guess is that, with a little open mindedness, Donna could love her ELCA today. It's now, following the culture, almost entirely woke. Hence, the rapid decline. Most Lutheran churches today are attended by (mostly white haired, ancient) "cis" white women, about a dozen years or so older than Donna. Donna could be the Youth Group in many of them!

    As I noted, Kierkegaard effin HATED the Lutherans precisely because they fortified cultural values. There is nuthin prophetic in Lutheran DNA. Lutherans are a sponge for Conventional Wisdom. They absorb it blindly and thoughtlessly. Years ago, Donna would have hate it. Now, with the wokeness, it'd be right in her wheelhouse.


  39. by Donna on December 25, 2022 8:25 am

    Wow, you won't even let up on Christmas day.

    Nonetheless, I wish you and Evie a wonderful Christmas!




  40. by Donna on December 25, 2022 9:21 am

    "Donna could be in the Youth Group in many of them!"

    LOL! This is true.

    The rituals, the liturgy, the structure of worship wouldn't do it for me in any church setting. My religious experiences happen spontaneously and unexpectedly, like on Friday when a couple of times I was moved to tears as I listened to the Christmas music that was playing through the intercom at the grocery store I was working at. Several songs conjured up memories of my Dad who died a little over seven years ago. He made our Christmases so special back in the day and gifted me with a cornucopia of special memories that will remain with me as long as I live, and perhaps beyond.

    This is where I find God now - through a song, even a chord played just right; through the smile of a stranger as we exchange Christmas wishes; or even watching hummingbirds suck sugar water from the feeders on our porch, some of which Sheri crafted.


  41. by HatetheSwamp on December 25, 2022 10:18 am

    I'm with you on the liturgy. I grew up in what's now the United Church of Christ. I could recite the Apostles' Creed before I could read. I hated it.


  42. by Donna on December 25, 2022 5:40 pm

    I could probably remember all of the liturgy after I got rolling.


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