Friday, May 30, 2008

Can't Blame Everything on the 60's

As noted by Michael Kruse, vice chair of the PC (USA) General Assembly Council, according to Roger Finke and Rodney Stark mainline decline in relation to the population growth can be traced back to much earlier. Growth is not enough to prevent denominational decline. The question is whether growth occurs at a rate similar to the growth in the general population. In their recent book The Churching of American, 1776-2005: Winners and Losers in Our Religious Economy, Methodist decline is traced back to around 1850 when circuit riders were exchanged for more settled educated clergy and efforts were made to be accepted by those with status in society.

The authors also point to the little recognized fact that America is NOT becoming less religious.

1 comment:

Crys said...

Very interesting graphs. So if I understood right, among the congregations listed in the first graph their following is decreasing relative to the growth of the population, but in general people are increasingly affiliated with some (less traditional?) religious denomination. Is this due to the growth of new religious denominations or sects?