Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Where Are the Young Christians?

Fortunately in places like Chattanooga, there are churches that don't preach intolerance, so young people can find a safe place to worship. But in other parts of the country, that is not the case. Combine that with the hateful message prominent (supposed) Christians like James Dobson project on a national level, and you've got a recipe that has kids turning away from the church entirely (more at Pam's House Blend).
Today, the most common perception is that present-day Christianity is "anti-homosexual." Overall, 91% of young non-Christians and 80% of young churchgoers say this phrase describes Christianity. As the research probed this perception, non-Christians and Christians explained that beyond their recognition that Christians oppose homosexuality, they believe that Christians show excessive contempt and unloving attitudes towards gays and lesbians. One of the most frequent criticisms of young Christians was that they believe the church has made homosexuality a "bigger sin" than anything else. Moreover, they claim that the church has not helped them apply the biblical teaching on homosexuality to their friendships with gays and lesbians.


When young people were asked to identify their impressions of Christianity, one of the common themes was "Christianity is changed from what it used to be" and "Christianity in today's society no longer looks like Jesus."

7 comments:

sravana said...

I wonder what happened to the 51-61y.o.s in that chart? Did they just.. disappear... OMG! It was the RAPTURE, and only those between 51 and 61 were taken!!!



OMG!!



lol.. ;) ;)



Seriously, this is an important development. HUGELY important. Either those young people will turn away from church, never to return, or they will re-form Xtianity, when they have enough clout.



(why am I reminded of PL -> CP?)



The chickens are coming home to ROOST.

alice said...

Yikes! I didn't notice that! An entire decade, disappeared!

John said...

Also note that 16-29 and 18-41 overlap. Perhaps the age cohorts were mislabeled?

alice said...

Well, clearly someone was drunk when putting together that illustration! ;)

Chris in Oxford said...

Good post, and very interesting. I'm not sure how to feel about it really. In a way, I think "the church" plays an important role in society. It's just a shame that since the 80's the intolerant nut jobs on the far right have taken things over. It's great that you've got some tolerant churches in Chatanooga, we've got some in the UK. I think its going to take a tolerant loving openminded church to bring the young folks back.

alice said...

You're right, smijer -- I just plucked that one as an example, but there's also the UU, New City and, I'm sure, a few others that haven't crossed my radar yet...

alice said...

Chris, from what I've seen, there are a lot more tolerant, loving, open-minded churches in Europe than there are in the States, even though churches in general are so numerous here (my grandmother, a minister's wife, used to joke that there are more churches in the South than there are people). I'm sure "the church" will survive, though -- it's just going to have to adapt, and of course, in institutions, that can happen at a glacial pace...