The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Christianity in America: “remarkably resilient”

That’s the assessment of a new poll, which finds a surprising number of people in “unchurched” parts of America still describe themselves as “Christian”:

While it’s no surprise that the highest proportion of self-identified Christians reside in the South, a new survey reveals that even in the most unchurched U.S. cities, nearly three out of four people say they’re Christian.


According to Barna Group, the most unchurched cities – where around four out of ten adults have not been to a religious worship service in the last six months – are San Francisco; Portland, Maine; Portland, Ore.; Boston; Sacramento; and Seattle. Many of these cities also have the highest percentage of atheists or agnostics.

Yet in each of these cities, 68 to 76 percent identify as a Christian.

David Kinnaman, who directed the research project, concluded that Christianity in America is “remarkably resilient and mainstream.”

“Nearly three out of four people call themselves Christians, even among the least ‘Christianized’ cities. Furthermore, a majority of U.S. residents, regardless of location, engage in a church at some level in a typical six-month period,” he said in the report Monday.


“The real differences spiritually between various regions are not so much what they call themselves; the faith gaps are more likely to be issues of belief, practice, politics and spiritual emphasis – how people think about, prioritize and express their faith.”

Read on.

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Sensus Fidei

posted October 11, 2010 at 10:22 am

The word resilient conjures up images of those who have suffered and remarkably endured. However, they are markedly changed by that challenging experience. So while it is encouraging and comforting to read a sizable percentage cling to Christianity it may not be in the form and matter some wish it were. But we’re thrilled and encouraged!

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Gail O

posted October 11, 2010 at 5:44 pm

This leads to the question of “Can one be a genuine Christian if one doesn’t attend a Church?”

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posted October 11, 2010 at 7:20 pm

Gail O.: IMO, why is it necessary to attend church to be called a Christian? If a person sincerely believes what is taught by Christianity, then why can’t they be considered Christian? Sitting in a religious building each Sunday and maybe on Wednesday nights, do not Christian make. Living what one believes does. That can happen whether one worships in public (church building) or privately somewhere—home, woods, beach, mountain streams etc.

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posted October 11, 2010 at 7:22 pm

correction to the above: does not a Christian make.

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Ed B

posted October 11, 2010 at 9:21 pm

I can relate to those that have elected not to worship in the local communities. In short, religion has become a business. Bishops and district superintendents have ear marked special projects in expanding God’s Kingdom to the point where apportionments from our local community tithes and offerings neglect our duties of caring for our widows and orphans. Apportionments that have forced our smaller churches to radically change their pastoral leadership, or elect the alternative of permanently closing their church and merging with the larger communities. When I sit in a pew on Sunday mornings, I am there to worship, and not there to listen to a dialog recaping the weekly events of a pastors family. Preach God’s Word, not worldly events. We hunger for the true manna found in the Word of God.

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posted October 11, 2010 at 10:37 pm

Christians need to seriously recalibrate their sense of oppression. “Resilient”? To what terrible setback? Not being allowed to replace the Constitution with Leviticus?

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posted October 12, 2010 at 9:59 am

On the question of whether you have to go to church or not, Jesus Christ answers the question forever. He said “you must follow my commandments” referring to the decalogue (10 commandments)One of them says to keep holy the sabbath. If you look up how to do this, there are some specific things you must, must , must do. One of the this is to go to a church or a synogogue. Look it up for yourself. Unless you do not believe in the authority of Christ’s words of the authority of the 10 commandments. You then must give yourself the authority to change 2,000 yrs of tradition and teaching.

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God is not a wimp and neither should you be

posted December 30, 2010 at 7:33 pm

Most of these comments are amazing in their capacity to rationalize and therefore offer their reasons for not conforming to traditional Christianity. God only needed one reason to send His Son to die for you people: love. One hour of one week is not that much to ask. For most of 2000 years the majority of Christians around the world have manifested their belief in God according to His precepts, not their own. That means, for the clueless, being on your knees in Church. And this is what separates living, breathing, ACTIVE Christians from most of you and what will separate you later when Jesus very actively separates the sheep from the goats on Judgment Day. You see, over and over in scripture it says that people will be judged on their works, for good or for evil. Most of you, who aren’t particularly bad people in any sense are not wholly good people with works to offer God on how they helped to build up His kingdom either. So you arrive on Judgment Day with empty hands. Empty. Felt more at home in the woods among God in nature than in Church, did you? You received your spiritual sustenance from squirrels and woodchucks did you? Explain that one. I’m waiting – …… never mind. Or maybe the relentless “hypocrisy” of Christianity and running Churches like businesses turns you off. Did you not realize that Churches are in the business of saving souls and that somebody has to pay the light bill? This is so much like the first lie to our original parents I don’t know when to stop laughing: “You don’t have to do what God wants to go to heaven. In fact, do just the opposite!” Either go back or shut up and go home. But refrain from commenting on anything Christian because frankly, most of you are unqualified. Above all, please stop paining the LORD with the idea that Church is not necessary. He went to a great deal of trouble to found a Church (MT 16:18-19) for your benefit and salvation. Stop pretending you don’t need it. You do. More than ever.+

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