Evangelical Collapse Damned Unlikely
Michael Spencer, a self-evowed evangelical Christian, predicts the end of his kind.
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.
This collapse will herald the arrival of an anti-Christian chapter of the post-Christian West. Intolerance of Christianity will rise to levels many of us have not believed possible in our lifetimes, and public policy will become hostile toward evangelical Christianity, seeing it as the opponent of the common good.
And he says it’s their own fault. By failing to rigorously enough instill core Biblical values in their children and foolishly trying to blend in with the secular world with such newfangled ideas as rock-and-roll music, they’ve corrupted their own tradition. And tying themselves in with conservative politics hasn’t helped, either.
The trends to which Spencer points have been with us since, oh, the Enlightenment. Modernity is inherently hostile to religiosity, especially the more literal forms. Yet, religion seems to have survived despite the pressures from the secular world.
Indeed, I would argue, precisely because of it. People naturally rebel against the smarty pants set. As I noted when Barack Obama created a backlash with his remarks about “bitter people who cling to god and guns,”
Class bias works both ways. Urban elites tend to view rural America, especially Southerners, as a bunch of yahoos. Rural Americans, meanwhile, think big city types are elitist snobs who don’t love America. There are similar resentments between rich and poor, educated and not, and even Ivy League – State College. In private gatherings, where people think they are among the like-minded, one hears shocking bigotry along those lines.
Will the elites become more openly anti-religion in the coming years? Probably. But that’ll just spur a backlash. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the ranks of the evangelical churches grew as a result.
Photo by Flickr user nika, used under Creative Commons license.