New research from Harvard University shows that despite the dominant narratives about American Christianity’s shrinking numbers, Christian faith is actually strengthening in the United States.
The study, which was published late last year and titled “The Persistent and Exceptional Intensity of American Religion: A Response to Recent Research” tested the “secularization thesis” — the idea that the United States, like other advanced economies in the world, has dispensed with their once active culture of religious faith. Researchers Landon Schnabel of Indiana University and Sean Bock of Harvard found that the U.S. “remains an exceptional outlier and potential counter example” to that thesis.
And the reason for this is because of the degree of seriousness and the particular kind of faith that Americans believe and practice.
The Federalist noted Monday that mainline Protestant churches are indeed declining rapidly but that does not mean people are abandoning faith altogether; they are going somewhere else, often more distinctly evangelical congregations.
“Because of this shifting, other very different kinds of churches are holding strong in crowds and have been for as long as such data has been collected. In some ways, they are even growing. This is what this new research has found.”
For the past 50 years, the percentage of Americans who pray every day, attend church once a week or more, and who believe the Bible to be reliable and bring it to bear on their lives has remained steady, patently persisting to this very day. The United States stands in stark contrast with respect to faith in that approximately one in three Americans prays multiple times a day, whereas only one in 15 does in other comparable nations on average.
SOURCE: Brandon Showalter