If this is not a call to action, I don’t know what is!

Going through my morning reading routine caused me to stumble across an article called “Organized religion ‘will be driven toward extinction’ in 9 countries, experts predict” on CNN Belief Blog on CNN.com.

Organized religion will all but vanish eventually from nine Western-style democracies, a team of mathematicians predict in a new paper based on census data stretching back 100 years.

It won’t die out completely, but “religion will be driven toward extinction” in countries including Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands, they say.

It will also wither away in Austria, the Czech Republic, Finland and Switzerland, they anticipate.

They can’t make a prediction about the United States because the U.S. census doesn’t ask about religion, lead author Daniel Abrams told CNN.

But nine other countries provide enough data for detailed mathematical modeling, he said.

“If you look at the data, ‘unaffiliated’ is the fastest-growing group” in those countries, he said.

via religion.blogs.cnn.com

For those of you who are interested in the academic paper that was presented, here it is.

Given the decline of the mainline denominations in the United States, this is a deadly serious trend that most have been ignoring.  We have been burying our heads in the sand for too long.  We have ignoring the problem and hopin it goes away.  We attempt to blame others for the decline, instead of taking a long look in the mirror.

Christ called us to “make disciples of all nations.” We are in the process of losing nine countries. What are you willing to do about it? Or will we do nothing and fade into obscurity?

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4 Responses to “If this is not a call to action, I don’t know what is!”

  1. Dee
    May 10, 2011 at 8:09 pm #

    Some argue that one of the modern church’s biggest obstacles is unshackling from a tendency to serve self (organized church?) and turning to serving others. Being comfortable in “our pew” is not part of the mandate Jesus provided to His followers. Reaching out to those in need is. Does the organized church have a role in modern Christianity? It can. Experienced it this week in churches practicing radical hospitality by housing mission workers, feeding them, and providing supplies.
    Organize around who we are now – not who people were at the turn of the last century…

  2. Dee
    May 10, 2011 at 8:01 pm #

    Are we ready to accept that “unaffiliated” means that the church is dying? For about 10 years I was very active in the organized church but chose not to affiliate. It was not the first time I had taken a membership hiatus – despite taking a very active role. I saw no reason to “join.”

    At some point, “not belonging” became an obstacle to getting training and having the legitimacy required to serve in mission. Luckily, being affiliated with one denomination has not stopped me from serving with other denomination as recently as this week. (In fact this week, the other denomination lent far more to the mission work than did my own.)

  3. September 13, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

    Methodism began as a movement, not a denomination(as did many of the others). Many denominational congregations stay within the four walls, but Jesus told those who wanted to follow Him that he had no place to rest his head…we were to go out into the world, instead of trying to draw the world into the buildings by becoming more like the world. Perhaps those leaving the “Organized church” are doing so in order to “be the church” and not just be members of what has become an organized business.

  4. September 13, 2011 at 2:20 pm #

    Keith,

    I agree that we as “Christ-followers” need to get out into the world to reach the lost. A denomination is a organizational construct meant to create a group of common theology, practice and resource sharing.

    The connectional system of the United Methodist Church can be a very powerful one, but we are too stuck fighting with one another vs. focusing on our true mission to “re-present” Christ’s love to the world.

    I think the mainline denominations need to get back to their roots. As a Methodist, I’d love to get back to basics and focus on the core of mission vs. the “denominational schizophrenia” we have today.

    Thanks for the comment!
    Eric

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