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The US conversion to post-Christian is increasing

The US conversion to post-Christian is increasing

The influence of Christianity on the US is waning. The number of folks who qualify as post-Christian according to the metrics used by the Barna Group has gone up 7% in just the last two years. The Group tracks 15 faith-related metrics to chart the rise in irreligious attitudes in the population. To qualify as post-Christian a person has to reach 60% of the metrics. At 80% they qualify as highly post-Christian. Some cities in the US are becoming post-Christian more quickly than others. These are the metrics;

  1. Do not believe in God
  2. Identify as atheist or agnostic
  3. Disagree that faith is important in their lives
  4. Have not prayed to God (in the last year)
  5. Have never made a commitment to Jesus
  6. Disagree the Bible is accurate
  7. Have not donated money to a church (in the last year)
  8. Have not attended a Christian church (in the last year)
  9. Agree that Jesus committed sins
  10. Do not feel a responsibility to “share their faith”
  11. Have not read the Bible (in the last week)
  12. Have not volunteered at church (in the last week)
  13. Have not attended Sunday school (in the last week)
  14. Have not attended religious small group (in the last week)
  15. Do not participate in a house church (in the last year)

The graph is from the Barna Group website;
Read more about the research at the Barna Group.


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Leslie Marshall

Believers and non-believers will be judged by God on the Day of the Lord. I wonder what the post-Christians will say to Jesus when he is about to judge them ….’I didn’t like your book!’, ‘You’re not God!’, ‘I have nothing to say to you!’….’You’re a liar!’ I pray that post-Christians have a change of heart, and return to the Good Shepherd.

Carolyn Peet

Amen, Leslie. Along with crying “but I thought you wuved everybody no matter what they did, so I could do whatever I wanted!”
Not sure how in the world your comment should drive people AWAY from the Good Shepherd!

Cynthia Katsarelis

When Jesus said “I am the Way,” I’m pretty sure he was talking about loving our neighbors and feeding the hungry and whatnot. He wasn’t a narcissist and somehow I don’t think Jesus is about ticking off boxes for personal piety – Not gay – check! His concern seemed to be compassion, justice, healing. He’ll ask us if we supported a Living Wage, as suggested in the story about the laborers getting paid the same. If we fed the hungry, clothed the naked, healed the sick, etc.

JC Fisher

Your certitude won’t save you . . . but if you’re trying to drive people AWAY from Jesus Christ, the Gospel, and the Church, Leslie, then please continue!

Cynthia Katsarelis

That’s a really good set of questions, Chris [re: works vs. other aspects of following Christ].

About encouraging people to come to church when they can do good works elsewhere: One thing that puts people off is Christian communities that don’t seem to walking the talk, and that generally means works.

There was a study that said that we’re hard wired to seek God. So becoming part of the Body of Christ with fellow travelers is one of the paths. These days, people are not going to stand for misogyny, homophobia, or any harshly judgmental environment.

Oddly enough, I am Anglo-Catholic and believe in most of the miracles. But I’m really clear that God is bigger than anything we can even imagine. I can’t believe that my way is the only way. And I don’t have the heart to impose my way on others. I only have the heart to invite people into the Great Mystery as we practice it at my parish and our larger church.

Does that make me wishy washy? Someone who has ticked the wrong boxes? Maybe. But it seems more loving and kind, and I prefer it to one-size-fits-all theology, and we’ve got all the answers for you… Here’s your score sheet…

I’m glad that we have a broad range of belief and practice in our church.

Chris Harwood

Bishop Spong was the speaker at the 2013 Good Friday service at St. Paul’s Richmond. There used to be a recording online, but as time goes by they delete old sermons and their list only goes back to December 2013 now. A parishioner at my church mentioned part of it was on his website, but you have to pay to read it, so I can’t tell you if it’s still there.
Cynthia, Christ didn’t only talk about good works. He talked about prayer,faith, obedience, being perfect, cutting your hand off if it made you sin,etc.There’s also his story of the judgment–people coming and listing all their good works and Him saying “Leave, I never knew you.” Doesn’t sound like good works is enough. If enough people in the church say, “It doesn’t matter what you believe, just work towards a living wage and LGBT justice and BLM, etc.”, the people outside the church are going to say, “Great, I can do those and be an atheist AND sleep in on Sunday.” That’s actually what most of my non-Christian co-workers say, so how does that encourage people to become Christians?

Chris Harwood

There also comes a point when the church is so wishy-washy about what it actually believes that people say, “Why bother with a fairy tale?” Do you really think a Bishop saying, “The characters of the New Testament….are as real as Harry Potter” during a Good Friday sermon is helping bring people to church?

Robert Recio

Agree the Bible is accurate? Factual inerrancy has NEVER been a required factor for one to regard the Bible as holy or inspired.

However, that’s quibbling. We have to recognize as Christians (and Episcopalians) that we have a horrible public image because of the denigration of both women and gays in the past. Actually, if you visit certain dioceses in this country, you’d still find homophobia rampant. In the long run, they’re degrading the church because you cannot claim to be the body of Christ while endorsing a right to discriminate and exercise bigotry.

Anne Bay

I could see a difference in people’s attitude toward anything “religious” during the Bush Jr.’s administration. The Evangelical groups got stronger and more self-righteous. I am around many young people as well as older and I have seen a growing replacement for church attendance with the idea of spirituality of different kinds and different levels. Buddhism seems on the rise also. It seems that we are moving away from the kind of church life I was brought up in. Most young people I have met are not homophobic and with the exception of the Episcopal Church, most organized religion is moving slowly or not at all to include the LGBT community in their church’s life and as a result, their numbers are going to drop. It’s also due to the decision of many that it’s more important to be spiritual rather than obey a list of catechism or church teachings. As a lifelong Episcopalian I have seen a lot of changes in the Episcopal church and other churches and the general population with regards to spiritual and/or religious paths. A re-definition of what “Christian” is will be a big issue in the Evangelical churches in the here and now as well as in the future. I am fortunate in many ways to have been brought up in the Episcopal Church, but also my parents, who gave me the ok to question, seek, be open to new ideas and findings, and open to change. My parents were firm believers that change is necessary to practice one’s faith. Things change. Science brings new discoveries. Life is one change after another. With the appearance of the Pope it is clear to see that the Roman Catholic Church,like many others, are solidly stuck in dogmatic quagmire and there is no openness to new ideas and no change possible. A sad commentary on Christian growth, or any religious growth, or spiritual growth for that matter. So, it’s no wonder Christian influence in the U.S. wanes,and probably will continue to do so.


Hmm, I would say that several organized religions in the US are a lot further along than the Episcopal Church. Start with the Quakers affiliated with the Friends General Conference (or the Pacific Yearly Meeting and a couple of other independent yearly meetings), then the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ. The ELCA is probably as diverse as the TEC on the issue.

BTW according to the recent Pew study, the largest religious group in my area (San Francisco Bay area) after Christian (and unaffiliated) is Hinduism (at 5%). Mainline Protestant is 6%. All Christians still make up 48% of the population.

JC Fisher

Thanks, homophobia!

Michael Russell

11-15 may prove that they are post evangelical, but hardly post Christian. 6 is a illy too, lots of Christians believe the Bible is not literally true or factual.

Sorry George.

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