White Christians are now a minority — but they’re getting more isolated and less tolerant

By Amanda Marcotte

Last week, the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) put out a new report on religion in America that measured a truly remarkable shift: For the first time, almost certainly in the country’s history, people who identify as white Christians are a minority of Americans. Four out of every five Americans were self-described white Christians in 1976, but now that group only constitutes 43 percent of the U.S. population.

There are a lot of reasons for this shift, study author Robert P. Jones, who heads PRRI and is the author of “The End of White Christian America,” explained to Salon in an interview. To a large extent, Jones said, it’s the trend of “young, white people leaving Christian churches that is driving up the number of religiously unaffiliated Americans.”

This reflects, he added, “a culture clash between particularly conservative white churches and denominations and younger Americans” over issues like science, particularly climate change and evolution, and especially the rights of LGBT people.

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12 COMMENTS

  1. To a large extent, Jones said, it’s the trend of “young, white people leaving Christian churches that is driving up the number of religiously unaffiliated Americans.”

    So next time some religious pundit comes up with “atheism is just another religion”, suggest that “empty seats” are the fastest growing church congregations!

  2. It seems Jesus is losing his sex appeal among the young ? Just like in Western Europe, too many other diversions from the straight and narrow path ? TV, internet, Twitter, Game of Thrones, Football, sex, rock n’ roll, drugs, learning, etc etc. Funny how both my parents rejected religion without any of those things. In my mother’s case through boredom, and in my father’s case because of a bullying RCC priest.

    I look forward to the first Southern Baptist Church in Alabama being turned into a pub, or flats, as is happening to CoE churches in England !

  3. Mr DArcy

    Jesus is losing his sex appeal

    Huh?! WHAT sex appeal? The guy has “lousy lay” written all over him. Jesus is the kind of guy who sends women into a boredom coma. Every one of your examples of “diversions” listed above provide numerous presentations of guys who are very hot and actually alive! How in the world could bland not-alive Jesus compete with our super sexy badass singers, artists, actors, athletes, etc. ?! A few simple magic tricks could never attract the screaming hoards of women that the Beatles did.

    If the churches want women to get off on Jesus then they should distribute posters of the guy in a Playgirl pose along with a free vibrator.

  4. LaurieB #5
    Sep 21, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    Huh?! WHAT sex appeal?
    The guy has “lousy lay” written all over him. Jesus is the kind of guy who sends women into a boredom coma.

    That kind of depends on which myth is telling the story!

    https://www.livescience.com/51954-gospel-of-jesus-wife-origins.html

    Origins of ‘Gospel of Jesus’s Wife’ Begin to Emerge

    The truth may be finally emerging about the “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife,” a highly controversial papyrus suggesting that some people, in ancient times, believed Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene. New research on the papyrus’ ink points to the possibility that it is authentic, researchers say, while newly obtained documents may shed light on the origins of the business-card-sized fragment.

    Debate about the credibility of the “gospel” began as soon as Harvard University professor Karen King reported her discovery of the papyrus in September 2012. Written in Coptic (an Egyptian language), the papyrus fragment contains a translated line that reads, “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife …'” and also refers to a “Mary,” possibly Mary Magdalene.

    King had tentatively dated the papyrus to the fourth century, saying it may be a copy of a gospel written in the second century in Greek.

  5. Even though a man, I must agree with Bonnie that Jesus has no sex appeal ! In my defence I will say that the term ‘sex appeal’ was sexed up. A no boner is guaranteed by following Jesus into the desert having given away all my possessions ! I am a socialist, but that ain’t socialism !

  6. Jesus has no sex appeal.

    That final S&M trope offers a little frison for many. Pity he forgot his safe word or he’d be forgotten himself by now…

  7. Alan

    Good luck convincing the true believers of this world (Christians and Muslims) that a business-card-sized fragment of papyrus with “possibly authentic” writing holds the true explanation of Jesus’ relationship with women. The Bible (as far as I know) presents a picture that is completely different. Jesus of the Bible was cold and dismissive of women and that includes his own mother. If he didn’t appreciate the company of women then that’s his business. I don’t care. But as the son of God, why couldn’t he at least speak up for basic women’s rights?

    If this view of Jesus as either gay or asexual is so bothersome to our on-the-fence- accomodationists that they have to search around the “holy” lands and dig up evidence that addresses their discomfort then they are destined to find the “evidence” that they desperately desire. Maybe Jesus had a wife or maybe he never existed at all, but the Bible story stands as the accepted and required view of the moderates and orthodox at this point in time. It’s too dangerous for the church to allow Jesus to be lowered in status to that of a normal man with “base” desires that go along with that. He wouldn’t be special anymore.

  8. the papyrus fragment contains a translated line that reads, “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife …’” and also refers to a “Mary,” possibly Mary Magdalene.

    If I only had a dime for every incidence of a female named Mary/Mirium I’d be a wealthy woman. A favorite name of believers of the big three monotheisms that came out of the Middle East. The name Jesus – translation to Arabic is Aissa – Aye-sa, (trying to spell it phonetically for the anglophones) is still popular there to this day. A fragment turns up with the names Jesus and Mary, because maybe people named Jesus and Mary and Bathsheba were a dime a dozen, just sayin.

  9. LaurieB #10
    Sep 21, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    Alan

    Good luck convincing the true believers of this world (Christians and Muslims) that a business-card-sized fragment of papyrus with “possibly authentic” writing holds the true explanation of Jesus’ relationship with women.

    Come on Laurie! There are loads of them we cannot convince of climate change and evolution, with whole libraries of valid documents!

    There is however more evidence that just one scrap, but like other “gospels” from the “wrong” Xtian sects, the “gospel of Mary” did not make the final edition in the 4th century Roman edit, selecting texts which were politically useful to the empire!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Magdalene#Gospel_of_Mary

    In her introduction in The Complete Gospels, Karen King names the manuscripts available for the Gospel of Mary. She writes that only three fragmentary manuscripts are known to have survived into the modern period, two 3rd-century fragments (P. Rylands 463 and P. Oxyrhynchus 3525) published in 1938 and 1983, and a longer 5th-century Coptic translation (Berolinensis Gnosticus 8052,1) published in 1955.[55]

    First discovered in 1896, the Gospel of Mary exalts Mary Magdalene over the male disciples of Jesus. The Gospel of Mary provides important information about the role of women in the early church,[55] although it is missing six pages from the beginning, and four from the middle.[56] It is usually dated to about the same period as that of the Gospel of Philip.

    The identity of “Mary” appearing as the main character in this Gospel is sometimes disputed, but she is generally believed to be Mary Magdalene. The Gospel of Mary presents her as one of the disciples, says she has seen a private vision from the resurrected Jesus[57] and describes it to other disciples

    As you know, the Roman Church was not into women authority figures, and its leadership still isn’t!

    Medieval dualism

    The 13th-century Cistercian monk and chronicler Peter of Vaux de Cernay claimed it was part of Catharist belief that the earthly Jesus Christ had a relationship with Mary Magdalene, described as his concubine:

    A document, possibly written by Ermengaud of Béziers, undated and anonymous and attached to his Treatise against Heretics,[125] makes a similar statement.[126]

    Also they [the Cathars] teach in their secret meetings
    that Mary Magdalene was the wife of Christ.
    She was the Samaritan woman to whom He said, "Call thy husband".
    She was the woman taken into adultery, whom Christ set free
    lest the Jews stone her, and she was with Him in three places,
    in the temple, at the well, and in the garden.
    After the Resurrection, He appeared first to her.

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