No Longer a Christian Nation

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Increasingly, America is rejecting its rich Christian heritage, its governing principles rooted in the Bible, and its Judeo-Christian belief in absolute truth and morality. Surveys indicate that only 6% of American adults possess a basic Christian worldview about things like God’s attributes, the accuracy of the Bible, and salvation.[1][2] Worse yet, the trend line is quickly declining:

  • Americans over 50 (9%)
  • Americans in their 30s and 40s (5%)
  • Americans 18–29 (2%)[3]

Even among professing Christians, a basic biblical worldview is becoming increasingly rare:

  • Evangelicals (21%)
  • Pentecostals (16%)
  • Mainline Protestants (8%)
  • Catholics (1%)[4]

Given these figures, perhaps it is not surprising to discover that most professing Christians no longer adhere to the teachings of Jesus:

  • Half of all professing Christians believe casual sex is okay: Catholic (62%), mainline protestants (54%), evangelicals (36%).[5][6]
  • 73% of pastors believe adultery shouldn’t disqualify clergy from ministry.[7][8]
  • The majority of professing Christians believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases: Black Protestants (64%), white Protestants (63%), Catholics (55%), Evangelicals (21%).[9]
  • 54% of Evangelicals believe religious belief is a matter of personal opinion, not objective truth.[10]
  • 60% of professing born again Christians believe Muhammad, Buddha, and Jesus all taught valid paths to God.[11]

Only a small fraction of the 70% of Americans who identify as Christian are faithful followers of Jesus.[11] It appears then-senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama was correct when he announced in 2006, “Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation—at least, not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.”[12][13] This sentiment has been echoed by Christian leaders[14] and repeatedly championed in our national media with such headlines as:

  • “The End of Christian America”[15] (Newsweek)
  • “A Nation of Christians Is Not a Christian Nation”[16] (New York Times)
  • “Why We Can Now Declare the End of ‘Christian America’”[17] (Washington Post)
  • “White Christian America Ended in the 2010s”[18] (NBC News)

Throughout America, the God of the Bible has been systematically removed from our government, our education system, our public arenas, our entertainment, and now from our worldview. Those vestiges of deity which remain in our culture have been largely reimagined to comport with otherwise conflicting worldviews. In practice, we have reimagined God to be one who submits to our American culture and lifestyle, not the other way around.

Although painful for many in the church to accept, the data reveals that America remains religious but is no longer predominantly Christian. Most Americans remain happy to believe in God, but we are not willing to submit to Him because we have discovered a more attractive alternative—one that offers all the same spiritual benefits without the responsibility, effort, or accountability. As such, America has become a post-Christian society.

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Timothy Zebell

As a former missionary to Asia for twelve years and the author of several books, Timothy is passionate about helping people understand the relevancy of God's Word in today's world. His goals are to help Christians discern truth from error, empower Christians to speak into cultural matters with relevancy, and to help Christians capitalize on the opportunities that these matters provide for sharing the truth about God and His gospel message.
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1. “American Worldview Inventory 2020 – At a Glance,” 1. Arizona Christian University: Cultural Research Center, March 24, 2020. https://www.arizonachristian.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/CRC_AWVI2020_Report.pdf.

2. “Probe’s Religious Views and Practices 2020: Do Christians Believe in Christ as the Only Savior of the World?” n.d. Accessed January 5, 2022. https://files.constantcontact.com/dbebe121701/f4881dec-45ca-4cdb-a997-5b3709f9ed02.pdf.

3. “American Worldview Inventory 2020 – At a Glance,” 3.

4. “American Worldview Inventory 2020 – At a Glance,” 2.

5. Diamant, Jeff. “Half of U.S. Christians Say Casual Sex between Consenting Adults Is Sometimes or Always Acceptable.” Pew Research Center, August 31, 2020. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/08/31/half-of-u-s-christians-say-casual-sex-between-consenting-adults-is-sometimes-or-always-acceptable/.

6. Clark, Heather. “Survey Finds Half of Professing Christians Think Sex outside of Marriage Is Sometimes or Always Okay.” Christian News, September 5, 2020. https://christiannews.net/2020/09/05/survey-finds-half-of-professing-christians-think-sex-outside-of-marriage-is-sometimes-or-always-okay/.

7. “Pastors’ Views on Moral Failure: Survey of American Protestant Pastors.” Lifeway Research, 2019. http://lifewayresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Pastors-Moral-Failure.pdf.

8. Klett, Leah MarieAnn. “Most Pastors Say Adultery Shouldn’t Permanently Disqualify Clergy from Ministry: Survey.” Christian Post, August 12, 2020. https://www.christianpost.com/news/most-pastors-say-committing-adultery-shouldnt-permanently-disqualify-clergy-from-ministry-survey.html.

9. “Public Opinion on Abortion.” Pew Research Center, May 6, 2021. https://www.pewforum.org/fact-sheet/public-opinion-on-abortion/.

10. “State of Theology.” Ligonier Ministries, 2020. https://thestateoftheology.com.

11. “Probe’s Religious Views and Practices 2020: Do Christians Believe in Christ as the Only Savior of the World?” n.d. Accessed January 5, 2022. https://files.constantcontact.com/dbebe121701/f4881dec-45ca-4cdb-a997-5b3709f9ed02.pdf.

12. Obama, Barack. “‘Call to Renewal’ Keynote Address.” Obama Speeches, June 28, 2006. http://www.obamaspeeches.com/081-Call-to-Renewal-Keynote-Address-Obama-Speech.htm.

13. Robxz. “Obama: We Are No Longer a Christian Nation.” YouTube video, 0:17. March 9, 2008. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmC3IevZiik.

14. Landsberg, Mitchell. “Evangelical Leaders Echo Obama, Say U.S. Not a Christian Nation.” Politics. Los Angeles Times, July 31, 2012, 12:00 a.m., PT. https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-xpm-2012-jul-31-la-pn-evangelical-leaders-echo-obama-say-us-not-a-christian-nation-20120731-story.html.

15. Meacham, Jon. “Meacham: The End of Christian America.” Culture. Newsweek, February 2, 2022. https://www.newsweek.com/meacham-end-christian-america-77125.

16. Meacham, Jon. “A Nation of Christians Is Not a Christian Nation.” Opinion. New York Times, October 7, 2007. https://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/07/opinion/07meacham.html.

17. Wirzba, Norman. “Why We Can Now Declare the End of ‘Christian America.’” Opinion. Washington Post, February 25, 2016. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/02/25/why-we-can-now-declare-the-end-of-christian-america/.

18. Jones, Robert. “White Christian America Ended in the 2010s.” Opinion. NBC News, December 27, 2019, 12:06 p.m., EST. https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/2010s-spelled-end-white-christian-america-ncna1106936.

 

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. Biblegateway.com.