Not Walking the Talk

There was an obvious clue (in hindsight) that the survey numbers were hugely inflated. Even as pundits theorized about why Americans were so much more religious than Europeans, quiet voices on the ground asked how, if so many Americans were attending services, the pews of so many churches could be deserted.

Above is a quote from a Slate article that provided some answers to questions I’ve had for years on the subject of the U.S.’s supposedly runaway religiosity.  The article is good enough, and informative enough, to make me break my promised silence during the holiday season.  I think you should read it:

Why do Americans claim to be more religious than they are?

Having grown up in a family where the subject of religion was loudly dominated by a large flock of nasty, drunken, hypocritical, vehemently Catholic elderly flappers, all sisters — not nuns but siblings — who attended church without fail but, (with one exception), to the ends of their lives but had no notion of actual Christianity, this article hit home with me in many ways.

But the one line of the article that really stands out is the one that I quoted at the beginning of this post, which identifies a problem that may on the surface seem to be the opposite of what I’ve just said: if we are so religious, why are so many churches standing nearly empty?  Honestly, the only ones that are routinely filled in my area are the ones that tailor their services to certain groups of immigrants as well as some mega-churches that soundly reject the immigrants, which opens up another can of worms entirely.

Read the article and be enlightened.

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