Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I Don't See it?

I am not an evangelical Christian so I don't really have a dog in this fight, but the Christian Science Monitor's Michael Spencer seems to think that Evangelical Christianity will disappear in the next 10 years:
We are on the verge – within 10 years – of a major collapse of evangelical Christianity. This breakdown will follow the deterioration of the mainline Protestant world and it will fundamentally alter the religious and cultural environment in the West.

Within two generations, evangelicalism will be a house deserted of half its occupants. (Between 25 and 35 percent of Americans today are Evangelicals.) In the "Protestant" 20th century, Evangelicals flourished. But they will soon be living in a very secular and religiously antagonistic 21st century.
I don't buy it at all.

As a Catholic, I have been hearing and reading about predictions of the Roman Catholic Church dying off or shrinking to irrelevance, but I haven't seen it. Will the population of evangelical Christians in America decline? Yeah, maybe, but a complete collapse in the next 10 years, I just don't see it.

Do I think evangelicals have been outside the mainstream on a series of issues? Yeah, I think so. I tend to think that most Americans view abortion with a health dose of skepticism, but are reluctant to completely ban it. I don't like abortion, and would never counsel a woman to have an abortion, but really, in the end, it is not my choice (unless it is my underage daughter--which I pray never happens). But by the same token, I think most Americans find themselves in teh camp of abortion should be legal in some cases, rare in all cases and certainly safe.

I also tend to think that Evangelicals tend to make too big an issue about school prayer, conservative values in schools, etc. I do believe that schools have tilted too far left and the general lack of presentation of religion, even as a social force (leaving aside religious doctrine) in our own history is shocking and shameful. But really, I think that most evangelical Christians are actively engaged in the upbringing of the children than those points of view are rarely missed.

The fact is that Evangelical Christians will remain a potent social and political force in this country and like it not, some of the moves by the Obama Administration are certain to galvanize that community even more.

So, a collapse of evangelical Christianity in the next decade? I just don't see it.

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