Acton Institute Powerblog

Acton Commentary: End Times for Christian America?

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Once again, sociologists and journalists are predicting the demise of Christianity as a major influence in the public life of America. Hunter Baker pokes holes in that theory, and observes that these persistent predictions are coming from “those anxious for it to occur.”

Read the commentary at the Acton Website and comment on it here.

Brittany Hunter


  • GL

    >>>The meme will make for good newsprint (or maybe I should say newspixels as the papers are dying much more rapidly than Christian America ever could), but it is all severely premature. Consider the work done in 2006 by Baylor University with funding from the Templeton Foundation and fieldwork by Gallup. Their findings countered the secularization narrative and tellingly showed that even among the religiously unaffiliated, nearly two-thirds believe in God or some higher power.<<<

    With all due respect, there is a big difference between “believ[ing] in God or some higher power” and being Christians. The pagan Romans and Greeks “believe[d] in [gods] or some higher power.” The Muslims “believe in God or some higher power.” So do the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Mormons, and many other cults.

    Further, much of what passes for Christianity in early 21st century America is a mile wide and an inch deep. There can be no doubt that Christians who support Scriptural standards of morality have lost considerable influence in our culture, whether the numbers of those claiming to be Christian is rising, falling or is stable.

    Christianity most definitely is not dying, but American Christians should not kid themselves that our influence hasn’t weakened and that God somehow needs us to keep His promise that the gates of hell will not prevail against His Church. Christians in America have much for which to repent. If we refuse to do so, we should not be surprised if God continues to allow our influence in America to weaken and to grant to Christians in other lands, Christian who have suffered for their faith, the task of carrying on the faith into the future until our Lord comes to judge the quick and the dead . . . including we 21st century American Christians who failed to defend the faith.


    The following URL suggests that Pope Paul VI is right, and the secularists, atheists, scientists, etc. are irrelevant

  • Jack Haefner

    Wait, haven’t we heard this before? Try in the 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries…. Proof is in the puddin’.

  • serfer62

    I am a Christian…I just don’t go to church

  • Felix

    Many Americans may consider themselves to be religious or Christian, but very few mean this in the traditional sense. They certainly do not mean it in the sense that our founding fathers meant. Only a few go to church every Sunday, and the rest make up their Christianity as they go along. Even Obama who went to a “church” listened to and was influenced by the hatred of Jeremiah Wright. So, even those who claim to practice Christianity are greatly deceived. So much so that they voted for the greatest promoter of the killing of innocents ever to hold the office of president. Nevertheless, he gets an award and a platform from one of the countries premier Catholic universities.

  • Civilization is born in poverty, chastity and obedience; it matures in prosperity, marriage and self-government; and it dies in dissipation, promiscuity and anarchy.

    We are experiencing today the death throes of our Western Christian civilization, which was born in the monasteries of Europe, flowered in the Renaissance, and bore fruit in the Reformation and Enlightenment. We are all living today in that time poetically expressed by Shakespeare, 

    “When yellow leaves, or none or few do hang
    Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
    Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.”

    The question on all of our minds, expressed more clearly and urgently with each passing day, is this: How can we save ourselves from the overwhelming catastrophe now bearing down upon us?  And the answer, more clearly and urgently evident with each new crisis, is this:  We cannot save ourselves. If God does not intervene to save us, we are indeed lost. If there is no God, there is no hope.

    Before we can bring ourselves to accept this answer, however, we must disillusion ourselves of the vain hope that there is some other solution to our problems. This is a difficult thing to do. Men (and now women) want to be masters of their own destiny. If they cannot be God themselves (indeed many today think this is the solution) they prefer gods they can manufacture or at least manipulate. Before God can save us therefore, He must first shatter our illusions. He is very good at doing this, and He has been doing a very good job of it in our times. Daily and on a grand scale we are seeing our plans thwarted, our hopes blighted, our illusions dissolved. 

    For the past century or more we labored under the illusion that Science was going to save us. Even today a die-hard rear guard still clings to this bleak hope. But the more clear-eyed among us long ago saw the handwriting on the wall:  Science is no savior. It is only a tool — a tool which we are using to destroy ourselves with an efficiency unmatched in previous history. 

    For most of the last century millions labored and fought under the illusion that Marxist communism was going to save them. They placed their trust in the remorseless drive of Dialectical Materialism to bring them into the promised land of peace, prosperity and universal brotherhood. It was a powerful but pitiful illusion. Just how pitiful can be gauged by the fact that even if all its goals had been achieved and all its promises fulfilled, the Marxist heaven would have endured not for eternity, nor even for a thousand years, but for a mere threescore years and ten. It was the atheist and materialist Paul was describing in his first letter to the Corinthians: “If we have hope only for this life, we are of all men most to be pitied.” (1 Cor. 15:19)

    Meanwhile, on this side of the Iron Curtain, we have been celebrating an illusory victory in the Cold War. We proclaimed the triumph of Democratic Capitalism and congratulated ourselves that we had reached “the end of history” (Francis Fukuyama, “The End of History and the Last Man”). Within a few short years however the end of history is looking more like a tragedy than a triumph. We are having to face the fact that Democratic Capitalism is not going to save us either. The inescapable fact is that governments are only as good as the governor. A monarchy is no better than its monarch, and a democracy is no better than its people. A benevolent monarchy is better than a venal democracy. This is a fact, the dire consequences of which we in America are beginning to experience with a vengeance. 

    Venality is a disease–a sickness of the soul. It is like cancer in the body politic, which if not immediately excised invariably proves fatal. We have doctors who can remove cancer from our bodies, but who can operate on our souls? This is the urgent question of our time. It is not so much cancer, or heart disease, or AIDS that is killing us. It is SIN, the AIDS of the soul — Acquired Immoral Deficiency of the Spirit.

    The good news is that a cure has been found for this disease. There is a Physician who can operate and who is not afraid of the disease. He has never turned a patient away who wants to he cured. In fact, he is advertising for patients–on TV and radio, in books and tracts, by telephone, direct mail, e-mail and word of mouth, at mass rallies in stadiums, great cathedrals, storefront churches, on street corners and in private homes, the message is being delivered: the Savior has come, the Doctor is in. Do you want to be cured of the deadly disease of sin, the AIDS of the spirit, that afflicts you? Come to Jesus. He is able to heal you. He will not turn you away.

    Where is this Jesus? 

    He is in every person who has accepted Christ as his Savior, has been born again of His holy Spirit, and patterns his life on the Word of God (Col. 1:27). Don’t be put off by the hypocrite and the phony. Everyone knows there are phony Christians, just as everyone knows there are quack doctors. This doesn’t prevent us from going to a doctor if we think we have cancer. Why does it prevent us from going to Christ when we know we have sinned?  The Bible tells us that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). It tells us also that the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23).

    If you never get sick, of course you won’t need a doctor. And if you never die, you won’t need Christ. Most of us get sick at sometime in our life however, and all of us are going to die, whether in bed or a nuclear holocaust. A person who never goes to a doctor for a physical examination therefore is considered foolish by the world, and the Bible tells us that a person who never goes to Christ for a spiritual examination is a fool in God’s eyes (Luke 12:16-21).

    Don’t be a fool. God has said, “In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you” (Isa. 49:8). And since Christ has come, He has been saying to everyone who will listen: “Now is the time of God’s favor; now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 5:20–6:2). 

    Time however is running out. Ecclesiastes tells us there is a time for everything (Ecc. 3:1-8). But time does not stand still. It has a beginning and an end. Today we are closer to the end than we were yesterday. And tomorrow?

    Tomorrow may never come. 

  • Charley

    The strength of evangelical Christianity has always depended on parents, schools and churches controlling information and filtering out competing world views and criticism of religion. The internet has blasted a gaping hole in that filter, exposing many to ideas they were previously shielded from and connecting them with communities of atheists and other enemies of Christianity.

    Christianity won’t go away, but it will increasingly become the domain of the less well educated, the poor, the elderly and others who don’t spend time online.