Presentation on theme: "Statistics Americans with no religious affiliation (“sbnr”), 8- 16% since 1990 (2009 American Religious Identification Survey, Pew Forum Poll) Americans."— Presentation transcript:
Statistics Americans with no religious affiliation (“sbnr”), 8- 16% since 1990 (2009 American Religious Identification Survey, Pew Forum Poll) Americans as atheists or agnostic, 1-3.6 million from 1990. The rise of “new atheists” and amoral “libertarians,” who are more vocal and militant now. 2/3 of the public (68%) say that religion is “losing influence in American society.” 1/2 of the public (48%) say that religion cannot solve today’s problems ( Newsweek ). During the 90s this remained at about 60%.
20 th Century “losses” Prohibition Public prayer (ca. 1962) “In God We Trust” controversy Right of choice (ca. 1973) Divorce (about 50% from the 70s) Harold Bloom’s American Religion: The Emergence of the Post-Christian Nation (1992) Al Mohler, “A remarkable culture-shift has taken place around us. The most basic contours of American culture have been radically altered. The so-called Judao-Christian consensus of the last millennium has given way to a post-modern, post- Christian, post-Western cultural crisis which threatens the very heart of our culture.” (2013)
Jon Meacham, “End of Christian America,” Newsweek (4/3/09): “The present, in this [contemporary tolerance] sense is less about the death of God and more about the birth of many gods. The rising numbers of religiously unaffiliated Americans are people more apt to call themselves ‘spiritual’ rather than religious (up 24% in 2005).... America, then, is not a post- religious society – and cannot be as long as there are people in it, for faith is an intrinsic human impulse.... American public life is neither wholly secular nor wholly religious but an ever- fluid mix of the two.”
1. What is a “Christian nation”? member of political process? aliens? member of an ecclesial tradition? church attendance (statistics)? follower of Christ? 2. What is a “post-Christian nation”? individual defections? institutional and regional policies! (universities, law/government, sciences, NW and NE) 3. Europe (state church) vs. USA (state—church)
Definition “A society or culture where Christianity no longer is a meaningful part of civil (public policy) discourse. Over time, diverse values, religious and secular, marginalize distinctively Christian beliefs, symbols, rituals, etc.” Overlaps but is not the same as “post- modernism” = reaction in the Humanities to modern certainty and objectivity by empha- sizing the subjectivity of interpretation with relativistic and pluralistic conclusions.
1. Is the USA “post-Christian” in part or in whole? Elsewhere? 2. Does “post-Christianity” make a difference in how we minister in Dallas? In New York? In Europe? In the Middle East? In Asia? In Africa? 3. What does “post-Christianity” mean in a globalized world? 4. How should we plan, if “post-Christian” points to hostility toward the gospel?
Bauman, Michael, and David Hall, eds. God and Caesar: Essays from ETS, 1993, Washington, DC (Camp Hill: Christian Publications, 1994). Various essays, historical and contemporary, dealing generally with the “Christian (evangelical) right.” Noll, Mark, Nathan Hatch, and George Marsden, The Search for Christian America (Westchester, IL: Crossway, 1983). “Christian nation” is ambiguous, and America has never been distinctively Christian. Chap. 6 and the “Appendix” are helpful. Jenkins, Philip. God’s Continent:... Europe’s Religious Crisis (Oxford: Oxford Univ., 2005). Europe is “post-Christian” and has been for over a 100 years.
Taylor, Charles. A Secular Age (Harvard: Belknap, 2007). Loss of faith reflects simplistic notions of secularization, namely “subtraction,” thus “post-Christian” is a product of Christians’ perceptions (as opposed to culture). Webber, Robert. The Church in the World. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986). Chaps. 12-17 are pertinent as background for our topic. Wuthnow, Robert. The Restructuring of American Religion: Society and Faith since WW II (Princeton: Princeton Univ., 1988). Chapters 8- 12 are important for an understanding of 20 th - century developments.