For the GFK Public Affairs research project for the resurgence report 1000 people were contacted. Of this number 741 classified themselves as de-churched and 259 classified themselves as un-churched.
De-churched is defined by: attended worship services every few months or less often and regularly attended worship services as a child.
Un-churched is defined by: attended worship services every few months or less often and did not regularly attend worship services as a child.
Among these people surveyed five main objections to Christianity emerged:
These findings are not too entirely surprising for those who have been keeping up with other posts I have made. These views are being held predominately by people who walked away from the church after being raised in it.
Each of these objections poses a slightly different problem that the church needs to deal with (if it can) in order to satisfy those walking away.
The first issue is that (some) Christians are too intolerant. I can understand why some people would hold this objection when we have churches like the Westboro Baptist church that protests in public regularly with signs that say “God hates fags.” Because these kinds of churches exist and because the media likes to highlight them, it is important that we set a public example in the ways we walk out our faith as Christians in public. If people don’t get any other exposure to what Christians look like it shouldn’t surprise us that this is their impression.
The second issue is a really unfortunate and complicated issue. This is because much of these topics are emotionally charged for many individuals. I believe the bible makes it very clear where we are to stand theologically on these issues, but it is even more important that Christians build relationships with those who disagree with them in love.
The third topic is interesting because of the blending of the political right and Christian evangelicalism. They have in recent history become the same thing at times. I wonder why some Christians are politically aggressive and put such hope in the government of our day. When I look at the life of Jesus I see that his main concern was to build impactful relationships with those people around him.
It’s true that many Christians are hypocrites. I believe those on the outside are right to accuse us of this. We have for the last 50 years placed an extremely heavy focus on a decision to believe in Christ rather than a life dedicated to following and becoming like him. When I look at the American church on a large scale today, I am afraid that too many people are only believing in him rather than becoming like him. I understand Christians can never be perfect, but we can be better.
Lastly people are wondering if Christianity is the one and only way. This is a deeply theological question that we need to address. If the people walking away from church spent their childhood attending, we have made a grave misstep. Our lives and the truth of scripture should effectively communicate that Jesus is the only way. If people are missing that we need to better communicate from the pulpit and more importantly in our own lives.
Hopefully this information will be beneficial when you are evaluating the relationships you have with non-Christians. Let me know what you think. Also be sure to check out the resurgence report at theresurgencereport.com