Friday, April 24, 2009

The End of Christian America?

The April 13th issue of Newsweek featured a cover with the blaring headline: “The End of Christian America.” The title was not a question but a declaration. A subheading for the story stated, “The percentage of self-identified Christians has fallen 10 points in the past two decades.”

An old axiom reminds us that he who defines the terms wins the debate. Whether the article represents reality is entirely predicated upon how one understands the descriptive “Christian nation.” If the predominant religious make-up of a nation determines its label, then assuredly we remain a Christian nation.

76% of Americans still identify themselves as Christians, rendering comparatively insignificant the 1.2% Jewish and 0.6 % Muslim segments. India’s identity as a Hindu nation is never questioned, despite Hindus comprising just over 80% of the population.

One cannot escape the sense that Newsweek made its case with some relish. Indeed, many in the secular media choose to portray conservative Christians as being out-of-touch with the sophisticated worldview of 21st century humanity, one which assumes that there is no such thing as absolute truth. Christianity’s exclusive claims are abhorrent to those who relativize all beliefs and lifestyles.

There is no denying that the influence of the Christian worldview, so formative in the founding of our nation, has been in decline. If present patterns continue, we will follow in the footsteps of Western Europe where Christianity has dwindled to merely a sideshow to the dominant secularism.

But the sleeping giant of American Christianity is slowly awakening. The theme for a major national conference this summer is “The Great Reversal: How Christians Will Change the Future”—the third such annual event in this series (see Despite the prognosis that the impact of Christianity in the U.S. has been relegated to the dustbin of history, a groundswell of revival is calling our nation back to her spiritual roots. It remains but wishful thinking for the enemies of the faith to declare the era of Christian influence in America over.

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