A new study from Pew Research Center has some unfortunate news for American churches.
As soon as 2045, Christians will very likely lose majority status in the country.
From the Christian Post:
Barring any limiting event such as war or economic depression, if the pace at which Christians abandon their faith before the age of 30 were to accelerate beyond its current pace, America could no longer be a majority Christian nation by as early as 2045.
And Christians wouldn't just lose their majority status in America in this scenario. They would also be outnumbered by the religiously unaffiliated, also known as "nones," according to the findings of a new analysis by the Pew Research Center.
The findings are based on work from the Pew Research Center which projects religious composition in the United States under multiple switching scenarios for the first time, as part of the Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures project. The project analyzes religious change and its impact on societies around the world.
Regardless of what you think of the numbers, a dwindling Christian influence in America is not a good thing.
In the study, Pew highlights four hypothetical scenarios out of several possibilities to demonstrate how the U.S. religious landscape might change over the next half century. The impact of younger Christian adults abandoning their faith without limitation was modeled in one of those scenarios.
While the other three scenarios reflect varying degrees of religious disaffiliation, "they all show Christians continuing to shrink as a share of the U.S. population, even under the counterfactual assumption that all switching came to a complete stop in 2020." The ranks of the unaffiliated, however, are projected to grow under all four scenarios.
"Of course, it is possible that events outside the study's model — such as war, economic depression, climate crisis, changing immigration patterns or religious innovations — could reverse current religious switching trends, leading to a revival of Christianity in the United States," the researchers noted. "But there are no current switching patterns in the U.S. that can be factored into the mathematical models to project such a result."
Christians have already moved into the "negative world" by Aaron Renn's typology, but the negative world will become even more unwelcoming to Christianity once it is a true minority.
Christians are about to become outcasts in society.
Data highlighted in the research show that while Christianity remains the "stickier" religious affiliation for older Americans, among younger adults it is the religiously unaffiliated identity that is enduring. If that trend is sped up with nothing to stop it, according to projections of the third of the four main models, the number of Christian adherents in the U.S. is likely to decline at a much faster rate.
"If the pace of switching before the age of 30 were to speed up throughout the projection period without any brakes, Christians would no longer be a majority by 2045," Pew researchers said.
In this model, the religiously unaffiliated would be America's most dominant faith expression by 2055, with about 46% of the population claiming that identify. Christians would represent just a 43% share of the population. By 2070, 52% of Americans would be unaffiliated, while only 35% would be Christian.
Christians need to prepare for life as a disliked minority.
The good news is, that's where Christianity shines the best.
Empires have come and gone, but the Gospel and the Kingdom of God remains.
"Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me...
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." – John 16:2b-3;33
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