Southern Religion

Christians in decline; ‘Nones’ ascendant

Christians are in decline, says the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS), which was released this week. ARIS is one of the largest, most authoritative assessments of the state of religion in American society. It concludes:

The percentage of Christians in America, which declined in the 1990s from 86.2 percent to 76.7 percent, has now edged down to 76 percent. Ninety percent of the decline comes from the non-Catholic segment of the Christian population, largely from the mainline denominations, including Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Episcopalians/Anglicans, and the United Church of Christ. These groups, whose proportion of the American population shrank from 18.7 percent in 1990 to 17.2 percent in 2001, all experienced sharp numerical declines this decade and now constitute just 12.9 percent.

Replacing the the dissipating Christians are the nones:

The 2008 findings confirm the conclusions we came to in our earlier studies that Americans are slowly becoming less Christian and that in recent decades the challenge to Christianity in American society does not come from other world religions or new religious movements (NRMs) but rather from a rejection of all organized religions. . . . The non-theist and No Religion groups collectively known as “Nones” have gained almost 20 million adults since 1990 and risen from 8.2 to 15.0 percent of the total population. If we include those Americans who either don’t know their religious identification (0.9 percent) or refuse to answer our key question (4.1 percent), and who tend to somewhat resemble “Nones” in their social profile and beliefs, we can observe that in 2008 one in five adults does not identify with a religion of any kind compared with one in ten in 1990.

March 10, 2009 Posted by | Religion, Science | Comments Off on Christians in decline; ‘Nones’ ascendant

Baptists graying out . .

Baptists are graying out, says the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey. The Associated Baptist Press’s Bob Allen writes:

. . . 21 percent of the people who identify themselves as Baptists are 70 and older. That compares to 12 percent of the general population, 13 percent of Catholics, 14 percent of mainline Christians and 10 percent of Mormons who fall in that age range. Forty percent of the national population is 50 or older, while 58 percent of Baptists fall into that age bracket.

Losing out too, among Hispanics and Asians:

Seven percent of Hispanics self-identified as Baptists in 1990, compared to 3 percent in 2008. Asians were 9 percent Baptist in 1990 but now make up 3 percent of Baptists. Asians were also the group most likely to profess no religion.

And, yes, “the percentage of Baptists who are widowed is 12 percent, twice the national average.”

In this cloud. Allen found no silver lining.

March 10, 2009 Posted by | Churches, Religion | , , , | Comments Off on Baptists graying out . .

Reluctant to diagnose Lyme Disease?

Disturbing twists occur in the debate over how Terry Joe Sedlacek’s behavior was affected by his Lyme Disease. Sedlacek is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Pastor Fred Winters at First Baptist Church in Maryville, Illinois and has Lyme-Disease-related brain damage and behavior problems.

“There are a lot of physicians who are reluctant to diagnose Lyme disease,” said Dr. Daniel Cameron, president of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society. “They don’t want to get involved in something that has psychiatric and medical issues.”

March 10, 2009 Posted by | Churches, Crime, Health | , , | Comments Off on Reluctant to diagnose Lyme Disease?