Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Decline And Fall Of Christian America. Did Newsweek Get It Right?

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Yesterday I incorrectly said that the Day of Silence was scheduled for this Thursday. It is scheduled for this Friday. I have linked an article that shows the typical "hands off" posture many school boards and administrators are taking. This one is from Mount Si High School.

The Decline And Fall Of Christian America. Did Newsweek Get It Right?

You have likely seen or heard of the feature cover article Newsweek magazine published Easter week proclaiming, "The Decline and Fall of Christian America".

However, a survey taken the same week by Rasmussen suggests that Newsweek may not be correctly interpreting what they themselves refer to as "a small detail" in a 24-page report they are using as the basis for their Easter week story.

Belief in Jesus Christ, His ministry and His deity is actually on the increase.

Jon Meacham in his story for Newsweek has taken a "small detail, a point of comparison" from a 24-page summary of the 2009 American Religious Identification Survey and built a feature story that may reflect as much about the media as it does about "Christian America".

Meacham points to a comparison in the report that says, "The percentage of self-identified Christians has fallen 10 points since 1990," uses the concerns of several Christian leaders, points to the recent defeats in the culture battle and concludes that we have reached, "The end of Christian America" and are "Beyond a Christian nation, the Christian God is not dead in American life, but he is less of a force in our politics and culture than at any time in recent memory."

However, a Rasmussen Survey released last Saturday, found that:

79% of Americans believe Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

88% believe that the person known to history as Jesus Christ actually walked on the earth 2000 years ago---up five points from a year ago.

82% believe Jesus Christ was the Son of God who came to earth and died for our sins.

I can imagine a much greater feature story built around these findings than those chosen by Newsweek.

The media, Newsweek in this case, may be mis-reading some very important facts. While I'm not disputing their survey's finding, it seems odd to me that fewer people would identify themselves as "Christian" while declaring that they believe the very fundamental, core beliefs of Christianity. In fact we are taught biblically, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved." (Acts 16:31) And in this case "saved" means becoming a Christian or follower of Christ.

It seems the belief in Jesus Christ is strong and growing. Perhaps Meacham and others are failing to properly define Christianity in current terms.

There are certainly local churches and denominations that are not growing and a number of them are in decline because people are discovering new and vibrant churches and church groups that are better suited to meet their needs and those of their families, but we should not conclude that Christianity is in decline because of these changing dynamics.

Perhaps the most poignant thing I personally took from Newsweek's epic of Easter is their conclusions about the culture.

People of faith have indeed experienced some set backs in electing leadership who reflect biblical values. There has been a significant shift toward the secular left with the election of Obama and a number of lawmakers across the nation, however much of this is serving as a wake up call to people of faith.

There have been lapses of cultural involvement by Christians in the past, however history, I believe, shows that when there is a rush toward the left, there is a corresponding response from people of faith and conservatives.

I believe that may well be under way at this time. We should not forget that people of faith and the Republican Party are not synonymous. People of faith are primarily principle and values driven, not politically driven.

I am certain it is premature to declare the Decline and Fall of Christian America.

Gary Randall
Faith & Freedom

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  1. Some things in Gary's post need clarification:

    1. The American Religious Identification Survey is a rigorous, detailed scholarly work. While the latest poll from Rasmussen, a company with a well-known right-wing bias, may be more pleasing to Gary, to suggest that a "much greater" feature story could have been built around its meager and questionable findings is laughable.

    2. As for the fact that Rasmussen shows more people believe in the core beliefs of Christianity than identify themselves as Christians is the ARIS, I see at least two possible explanations: 1. One of the two findings are incorrect (either the one that several scholars spent a year working on, or the one done over the phone by a right-wing polling firm last weekend); 2. Many who believe in the core beliefs of Christianity are reluctant to identify themselves with the extremist anti-abortion and anti-gay activism that has come to be the public face of Christianity in this nation.

    Moreover, the Rasmussen poll clearly suffers from the natural bias of people to agree with the poller. Rassmussen asks leading questions "do you believe...." and gets the expected bump in positive responses. I bet if Rasmussen had phrased the questions differently the would have gotten very different answers (e.g. "Do you believe the person known to history as Jesus Christ never actually walked the earth?"). In contrast the ARIS asked an open ended non-leading question: "What is your religion, if any?"

  2. Let's hope and pray that more and
    more people come to Christ as we
    see the darkness of evil days approach.

    Some of the school children might
    have some of their peers suspect
    them of being homosexual, or in support of homosexual behavior being displayed in public, if they
    happen to not be so talkative during their 'day of silence'.

    It's really not about freedom of
    speech as much as it it about pressing the homosexual agenda on
    others whether they like it or not.

    If someone is 'talking it up' about how wonderful they think homosexuality is, one could simply
    walk away.

    What should we do when remaining silent is to show support of their
    agenda? It seems we should speak up.

    I think the best thing to do is to
    praise the Lord.

    May all this social pressure from
    the dark age, push us all into a
    greater age of reason and light through Jesus Christ.

  3. The only "agenda" behind the Day of Silence is that LGBT students should be able to attend schools free of harassment and discrimination. The fact that so many Christians feel that not only can they not support this "agenda", they feel the need to attack and oppose it is very telling, but not a very positive reflection of Christian compassion. Just look at the anonymous post @ 11:27, the biggest concern the writer has is that someone might not recognize just how anti-gay they are, how small and sad.

  4. Actually 1142 you prove the calculated agenda with your comments. Why should any Christian have to be concerned about stating he believes homosexual behavior is wrong , just as why should any one be concerned in a classroom saying Christianity should be kept out of the classroom because they see it as wrong .

    Both views should be neutral in the classroom . If you want to talk about respecting , non bullying fine , but your a terrible example of respect or bullying .

  5. How sad, how non-Christian, how bias, how non compassionate. Will your drivel never end. Oh yeah, open ended questions lead to bias answers. How stupid.

    It just ain't complicated. Guys don't go together with guys, and gals don't go together with gals. Real simple, any 8 year old could figure it out. Instead you want to indoctrinate the 8 year old.

    Just keep it simple folks. Love and let them be but don't loose your common sense. I've had wonderful employees and friends who are homosexual but I don't let them tell me the difference between right and wrong.

  6. 5:15 PM,

    Where did I say a Christian should be concerned about saying they think homosexuality is wrong? Christians shouldn't be allowed to curtail the free speech rights of gay and gay-friendly students. Seems to me if it's OK to say homosexuality is wrong, it must also be OK for others to say that such a belief is wrong.

    Of course, silencing anti-gay Christians isn't what the Day of Silence is about, it's about stopping the harassment and bullying of gay and gay-friendly students. The fact that you can't differentiate the two says more about you than it does about FFN. If you think my posts constitute bullying, you really need to look the word up.

  7. @6:29

    You really should acquire some reading comprehension skill before you go calling others stupid. What I said was that leading questions (like Rasmussen's) lead to polling bias.

    Ah yes some of your best friends are gay. How trite.

  8. Maybe those who are homosexual students should call upon the Christian students to plead their
    cause if they are ever harrassed,
    bullied, or treated unfairly in any way.

    Maybe they should ask, "Do you believe in Jesus? If so, will you
    plead my case if ever I am treated unfairly for being homosexual? Are not Christians supposed to know what is right?
    Are they not supposed to stand up
    and speak up against all unrighteous oppression?", and I think any Christian student could
    respond with "Why yes! I am willing to hear your case and if your cause is just, then I am willing to plead for mercy on your behalf to your oppressor. I would be willing to ask him if name calling is right, if indeed he called you some kind of derogatory term or name, for none
    of that is able to deliver one from sin and it's consequences.."etc.

  9. 515 your a crock . I know homosxual Christians . Are they included in your stereotypes. Is it very telling that you assume all Christians who blog here have to agree with Gary. But love Him and understand his concern. You appear to be out of line here . Your ability to understand the issues appear to be Narcistic . Are you not concerned about a 40 percent out of wedlock rate . Think about it . Try to express an opinion that reflects that instead of your political agenda and you may find an intelligent conversation . So far you have showed no compassion

    The fact that so many Christians feel that not only can they not support this "agenda", they feel the need to attack and oppose it is very telling, but not a very positive reflection of Christian compassion.

  10. "Maybe those who are homosexual students should call upon the Christian students to plead their
    cause if they are ever harrassed,
    bullied, or treated unfairly in any way."

    Actually my son did get in a fight when he was in public school defending a homosexual who was out of the closet. Two Native American kids had been picking on him for quite a while and he finally just heard enough and tried to fight back . If my son had not jumped in and helped the gay kid he would have been hurt from I understand of the confrontation . I don't support fighting , but I did not punish my son for fighting in this instance . I think he was right in how he handled it from what he told me .

    Interesting though from some of homosexual activists here if the situation was say my son was protecting another Christian per say you would hear about his hypocracy of not turning the other cheek . I always notice the biggest sypporters odf say anti bullying are those who bully the most . At least here. Not a very good example and it shows a lack of sincerity on their part .

    I think If christian kid was being picked on , it would be nice to see the homosexual also helping would it not . That I am sure happens you know .
    bBllying happens and it comes from those who share all of our political beliefs and cultural groups. I have never seen a homosexual taken on by another homosexual here for going over the line and promoting bigoted and insulting comments about others he has never met .

    With the exception of Oshtur .

  11. I'm sure Newsweek would like for their article to be true, however I can tell you my church was jam packed on Easter, and my friends tell me their churches also were overly crowded. I'm not sure where Newsweek gets their info, or from what samples, but I would hardly think Christianity is dead in America. Really good timing for that article, right before a high holy day.

  12. "Ah yes some of your best friends are gay. How trite."

    Compared to stating how extreme those are who value life and traditional beliefs . How typical.

  13. 8:39
    no, I would not stand up for you. I would suggest for you to seek help to get out of your lifestyle! Then you would not have problems from others. You would then be normal. Then no need for anyone to 'stick up for you' ! You would be away from the deviant lifestyle. This is my prayer for you!


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