The Rise of the Nones and the Collapse of the Middle

Published at BreakPoint this week, The Rise of the Nones and the Collapse of the Middle, including,

On first glance it might appear that Christianity is in decline. The truth is rather more complex–in some ways encouraging and in other ways ominous, for what the numbers signify is a widening polarization of American society due to the collapse of the middle.

Comments 5
  1. d

    One possibility that is more optimistic for you guys, is that maybe the casual Christians are a source of *some* of the perception in some, that so many Christians are so unlike Christ or are hypocritical.

    Maybe it could be a good thing (for you) that the slough is cut away there, though I’m sure its preferable for you guys if they moved the other direction…

    I don’t know if thats true or not, or even if it was, if it would do anything to change that perception for those that hold it – but its a thought.

  2. BillT

    This whole thing has been obvious for quite a while now. “Quite a while” being like 100 years or so. The mainstream Protestant denominations gave up the “good fight” probably in the late 19th century. The first important schism came in the early 1920’s with the defection of J. Gesham Machen and the believing wing of Princeton Theological to Westminster Theological. The mainstream Protestant churches have been vying for social club status ever since. “d’s” idea that “it could be a good thing” couldn’t be more on target. The recent accelerated charge to the liberal left over SSM has finally woken up the somnolent masses and brought about some soul searching that was desperately needed by “The Church” in general and by many individuals in specific. It couldn’t have come soon enough.

  3. Debilis

    I’ve had a similar suspicion myself.

    Personally, I suspect that the “rise of the nones” will be mostly a good thing for Christianity in Western culture.

    First, Christians will be forced to understand and articulate our beliefs, rather than relying on the (generally false) assumption that others already know the contents of Christianity. The renewal of apologetics has been a fairly direct result—and has deepened the faith of many.

    And, second, this false sense of security about capturing culture has been destroyed. Having sober judgment is always a good thing.

    Personally, I suspect that their quick media success has disadvantaged the New Atheists in some key ways. It has forced Christians to learn how to defend their beliefs in a way that has not required them to defend their materialism. Though some individuals are formidable, I doubt the New Atheists as a group will be up to the challenge once people begin asking them to do so.

  4. John D

    Tom
    You’ve written a very good little piece on this topic and thank you for bringing it to my attention . After my country Ireland just voted in same sex marriage we have been busy assessing the damage to the country . The Mothers and Fathers Matter group ammassed a roughy 750,000 NO votes last Saturday . We were defeated but it did show who and what exactly a conservative minority looks like . No one doubts the decline of the Catholic Church here but what is certain is that even in defeat to the 1.2 million majority the NO side asserted itself like never before . The NO side is definitely a side of tolerance but unswerving support for principle . You don’t come out these days and vote against gay marriage without having some brave sense of conviction . It took guts. We are going to build on this tiny minority and we may well see a political party emerging who knows .
    My ultimate point is that in these times of persecution of Christiians and bias against Christianity we still have a voice . A muted one but a strong one nevertheless . Twitter , Facebook ,Google, and multiple media atheist bias has meant a galvanising of our position . My personal view is that we win the argument but lost the vote to an ignorant secularism which sloganised ” equality for all ” and reacted against the so called church .
    We must go an the attack . We must defeat the illogical position of atheism by either evidence or presuppositional logic- bringing down strongholds . We must defeat the evil at every turn . I’m not waiting for them to come to me. I tweet , I Facebook , I you tube when I can , I blog , when God allows me . Let us not waver . Christ sits on the throne . We know the ultimate ending and we win ! Never forget that . However in the meantime we do the fathers will in the glory of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit .
    Amen

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