young adults leaving church article 2

The first post is here.

The New York Times covers the same Pew Forum study in this article: Poll finds a fluid religious life in US

Interesting take from Boston University professor Stephen Prothero

Prof. Stephen Prothero, chairman of the religion department at Boston University, said large numbers of Americans leaving organized religion and large numbers still embracing the fervor of evangelical Christianity pointed to the same desires.

“The trend is towards more personal religion, and evangelicals offer that,” Professor Prothero said, explaining that evangelical churches tailored much of their activities to youths.

“Those losing out are offering impersonal religion,” he said, “and those winning are offering a smaller scale: mega-churches succeed not because they are mega but because they have smaller ministries inside.”


Published by Guy M Williams

Christian | Husband, Father | Pastor | 8th-Gen Texan | Texas A&M ‘96 | Asbury Seminary ‘01 | Enjoy family, reading, running, golf, college football

3 thoughts on “young adults leaving church article 2

  1. Prothero’s book is about how ignorant Americans are about religion. This is especially true of the young. Undisciplined yearning for “personal” religion won’t really cut it now, will it?

  2. Richard:

    True dat.


    Welcome, thanks for taking the time to comment. Pardon my lengthy engagement with your short comment. I happen to be among “the young”, though I think the data suggests that my bias is not the only driver in my interaction.

    This is a true and fair critique of the young. And I would certainly agree that in any generation, “undisciplined yearning for ‘personal’ religion won’t really cut it.”

    But, remember, when Prothero was doing interviews and promoting his book, his concern was less centered on the young (though they were definitely a concern) but upon the generation in societal leadership today. His lament considered what a reasonable amount of religious literacy would do (or would have done) for political and business leaders in engaging geopolitical situations (like the Middle East, Islamic society, and the war in Iraq) and globalization. That critique is clearly leveled at persons age 45-75 in prominent positions of leadership. So, while I would not exclude the young from the critique, the problem Prothero has identified for us is brought to the fore by its nasty manifestations in the not-so-young.

    One wonders, then, how much discipline and what sort of religious yearnings were and are at work in driving that age demographic.

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