Date: July 15, 2023 05:24PM
Before the covid pandemic, church attendance in the U.S. was around 56% for people who attend at least once a month.
After the pandemic, at least once-a-month attendance is at 35%.
When I was TBM, I attended every week, as I'm sure you and most TBMs did. Once a month is wishy-washy at best.
So, people got used to staying home on Sunday, having a leisurely breakfast, walking the dog, letting the kids sleep, taking it easy. They had time to think.
Some denominations preach you are already saved. It's a done deal. If that's true, then why go to church?
Many people are waking up to the fact that you don't need to be saved. You don't need to go to church. This is a controversial idea that churches strongly argue against.
LDS attendance is also down. I think members are waking up.
Date: July 15, 2023 07:53PM
I wouldn't say the religious right "wears religion like armor;" I'd say they wield religion like a sword.
The problem is that Toqueville saw the US at a time of confidence. The religious did not perceive others, religious or not, as an existential threat. The looming division was over slavery, not confession.
But the confessional threat was always present in the shadows. If you ignore all the warm and fluffy stuff in Jesus, you can fasten on the minor theme of "I come to bring a sword." And there is a certain logic to it, for if there is only one God and one truth it is mine and not yours. And if I am God's chosen, you'd better sign up or get out of the way.
The truth is today's American evangelical extremism is a result of religious weakness and not strength, as billy Graham and Jerry Falwell and their ilk no longer thought they could achieve their aims without state compulsion. Gone, therefore, is the "one nation under God" and "e pluribus unum" aspiration of the early 19th and early 20th centuries, supplanted by "replacement theory" and theocratic aspiration.
The United States resembles 1618 Germany and 1789 France a lot more than the America of Toqueville's and Smith's 1830s America. For the present, at least, the latter is ascendant.
Date: July 16, 2023 12:57AM
>> Part of this, but certainly not all of it is the fact, other than consumerism, our country no longer has any cultural norms, no glue to hold it together, America is disintegrating.
The U.S. can hold its own in pretty much any artistic or cultural endeavor -- art, architecture, music, dance, cuisine, fashion, books, movies, the theater, etc. We also have more lowbrow cultural norms such as uniquely American sports (i.e. NFL football, basketball, and baseball.)
I think the American spirit, at its best, could be described as innovative, entrepreneurial, exploratory, and adventurous.
We are generally speaking a prosperous society, but so are many others. Where people have money to spend, they will spend it (consumerism.)
Date: July 16, 2023 09:58AM
The original post was about the decline in church attendance.
We are certainly pushed to buy and consume as much as possible, and we do that quite well.
However, the glue that holds us together as Americans, are the freedoms guaranteed to us in writing: freedom to own property, of speech, of the press, freedom of religion, to keep and bear arms, and many more. We are taught this in school. We know this.
Whether or not America is disintegrating is a good subject for debate. Nothing lasts forever, but as long as the constitution is in tact, and our rights are guaranteed, we should be OK.
I'm free to join or leave any church I want to. I like that.