The walls of Evangelical Christianity are crumbling, and have been for several decades. It’s always astounded me how some Christians blame the queers and unwed mothers for this instead of their own doctrines, which seem completely devoid of the love Jesus lived and taught. Saddling followers with fear, judgement, and guilt is not the way to keep them coming back.
A recent study in The Christian Post shows just how far the disintegration has advanced. The following passages jumped out at me:
Only 16 percent of non-Christians aged 16 to 29 years old said they have a “good impression” of Christianity
Only 3 percent of 16- to 29-year-olds who are not of the Christian faith express favorable views of evangelicals. In the previous generation, 25 percent of young people had positive associations toward evangelicals.
Common negative perceptions among non-Christians is that present-day Christianity is judgmental (87 percent), hypocritical (85 percent), old-fashioned (78 percent), and too involved in politics (75 percent).
Even more telling was what Christians themselves said:
Half of young churchgoers said they perceive Christianity to be judgmental, hypocritical and too political. Also, one-third said it was old-fashioned and out of touch with reality.
…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.
Young Christians largely criticize the church, saying it has made homosexuality a “bigger sin” than anything else…
There can be no question that Christianity’s survival (especially in the West) depends on the willingness of its leaders to evolve. Perhaps these leaders could take a few queues from Unitarianism:
- The life and teachings of Jesus Christ is the exemplar model for living one’s own life.
- The works of the Bible are inspired by God, but were written and edited by humans and therefore subject to human error.
- No religion can claim an absolute monopoly on the Holy Spirit or theological truth.
- Reason, rational thought, science, and philosophy together with religion and faith are not mutually exclusive.
- Human nature in its present condition is neither inherently corrupt nor depraved, but capable of both good and evil, as God intended.
- All of creation is interconnected and should be respected.
The adoption of any of these points on a widespread scale (and I mean doing, not just preaching) could help restore credibility to the Church and keep people in the pews. But this won’t happen until most Christians let go of the need to be “right” and start living and teaching the love their religion is apparently based on.