Progressive Christianity On The Rise

A recent Brookings Institute study has found that in the United States the number of religious progressives is increasing, while the number of religious conservatives is declining. While religious conservatives still take the lead in America, at 28% of the population, progressives are not far behind at 19%.

Studies also show that the number of religious conservatives is declining in America with each new generation. For example, today 47% of the ‘Silent Generation’ are religious conservatives, while only 17% of ‘Millennials’ consider themselves conservatives—a 30% decline in just a few generations. Not only have religious conservatives been declining, but being part of an affiliated religion has also declined with each successive generation.

Research conducted this year has shown that the number of Americans who do not consider themselves to be part of an organized religion is at the highest rate it has been since the 1930s—the first time data was collected on the subject. This trend and politics seem to be undoubtedly intertwined. Many see traditional religions as being outdated and not staying in tune with modern day thinking and social/cultural values.

Religious progressives are spread across America, and unlike the religious conservatives, religion is not a top priority in their lives. They believe that religion should not be associated with public debate, and they generally do not have a close connection to religious institutions.

The study poses the question of whether religious conservatives would be able to overcome this decline in popularity; however the Public Religion Research Institute claims that would be very challenging and highly unlikely.

From the perspective of someone who is included in ‘Generation Y,’ as we grow and expand as a human race, so do our minds and attitudes towards religion. Most of the younger generation may not find it desirable to be a conservative, or even have a religion, because it gives us more freedom and allows us to be more open-minded. Religion is also at the center of a lot of conflict, especially when it is involved in politics on a global scale. It should be noted that just because someone is not affiliated with a religious organization, that does not mean that they do not consider themselves to be spiritual beings. I can appreciate the direction religion is going in, as explained in this article. I believe that with progressive Christians on the rise, and with less social-cultural emphasis on the importance of belonging to an organized religion, there will hopefully be less conflict and discrimination, not only in North America but throughout the world.

S.C #uwreligions #349

Article Link: – ‘Religious Progressives Predicted To Outnumber Conservatives, Survey Finds’

References: – ‘Religion Among Americans Hits Low Point, As More People Say They Have No Religious Affiliation: Report’


3 thoughts on “Progressive Christianity On The Rise

  1. I agree with the stance that both you and the article alluded to, which was that conservative religions most likely will not be as popular among younger future generations and thus it is highly likely that they will get phased out. However, there were a few points that I would like to raise for discussion.
    Firstly, as indicated by you and mentioned in the article, most individuals are moving away from an institutionalized religion as it promotes too much social conservatism and maintains an anti gay attitude. Based on this you drew the conclusion that essentially, churches over time will all die out. However, progressive churches hold the exact opposite stance that people expect religious institutions to have. Is in not possible then that as progressive churches gain more popularity and notoriety that those people who have rejected a religion will try these institutions? As you mentioned there are still many individuals who are spiritual but not attached to a religious organization. Therefore, I do not think that it is unrealistic to assume that some of these people could be looking for a church that aligns with their beliefs, and progressive churches may be their answer. As such, I think that it is more than possible that we may see a revival of the number of progressive church attendees and thus a shift back to organized religion. I also find it interesting the way in which even conservative churches are trying to take a more progressive stance, as is evident from recent statements made by Pope Francis. So, although conservative churches maybe losing popularity I do not think the death of all churches is necessarily as inevitable as you make it sound.
    A second issue I wish to discuss is how you make it seem that without conservative religions or even religions at all, the world would be a better place. I think that, especially due to the occurrence of recent events, it is easy to blame religion for a lot of the negativity in the world. However, I think that is both unfair and a little ignorant. There are many extremists who have used religion in a negative way to reach political ends, as well as individuals who have hidden behind religion to discriminate against others, but there is no religion that is based on hate and conflict so there is no reason to blame religion as a whole. Furthermore, without religion these people, or groups of people, would merely adopt another way to gain what they want, or protect their beliefs. How can you say that without religion there will be “less conflict and discrimination” when there is simply no way to prove that? Maybe it would even get worse; there is no way to know. There are a lot of religious groups, organizations, and intuitions which try to promote tolerance as well as help those who are disadvantaged. I do not know about you, but I do not think the world would be better without them.

  2. This is a very interesting topic. I agree that society has progressed greatly and that people nowadays, especially the younger generation, are becoming much more open-minded towards religion. This is very good as it provides a promising outlook for future generations to come. Discrimination and hostility towards others who share different beliefs will begin to diminish as people develop more tolerant and unprejudiced attitudes and mindsets. However, it is difficult to ignore the members of the younger generation who are developing extremist views and are actually becoming involved in radical organizations such as ISIS. Recently, several incidents have been brought to light involving young people who have converted to Islam and have joined as foreign fighters for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. A number of Canadians, who had no prior affiliation with ISIS, or even the Muslim community, have suddenly left their families and homes behind to become ISIS fighters. Such drastic changes, especially in such a seemingly short amount of time, are extremely concerning to say the least. I believe that this has something to do with the way the younger generation has become more open to different ideas and religions, making them more susceptible to manipulation. Furthermore, these young people are more naïve and less educated. Hussein Hamdani, an active member of the Muslim community, and one of the founding members of the government’s cross-cultural roundtable on national security in Canada has already counselled and prevented ten young people across Canada from joining radical groups such as ISIS. It is very important for people to become aware of and recognize the signs of violent and extremist views in order to help thwart the perpetuation of terrorist groups. In this day and age, anyone can be swayed through findings on the internet and through the use of social media, so while the progressiveness of people and their attitudes towards religion is generally viewed as a positive thing, there is evidently a dangerous aspect to it.

    – WC #349

  3. I find it interesting that there is a huge decrease in religious conservatives in America. Though, unfortunately many of those conservatives hold large amounts of political power, it is still encouraging to see a decrease in the number. I largely agree with your opinion that it is encouraging that the potential decrease in religious involvement in politics will decrease global conflicts. As we see today, there is many large-scale conflicts that have very strong undertones of religious affiliation and involvement. I agree that each generation continues the decreasing trend of religion in politics, and it’s encouraging. I hope that with the globalisation and ‘press-of-a-button’ access to news stories worldwide, we are able to better understand and respect cultures from different areas of the world. And hopefully with the increase of cultural understanding and respect, we can in turn decrease the conflicts that arise due to religion.

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