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CHRISTIANITY IS A LUXARY GOOD

Ryan Burge is the author of the newsletter Graphs About Religion which appears on Substack. As the name suggests, Ryan's newsletter is a treasure trove in graphs and informative explanations regarding the state of religiosity in the USA. While Australian trends are not always in lock step with America, something we should all be thankful for, it is still the case that we are not often far behind the American experience in some things, and so data such as Ryan provides does have some relevance for us in Oz.


Recently Ryan’s newsletter described religion in America as a luxury good, making the claim that, "Religion in 21st Century America has become an enclave for people who have done everything right". He makes many conclusions to support this claim, three of which stand out.


Number 1 - The commonly accepted fact that the more educated someone is, the less likely they are to believe in God is not true.


Number 2 - People who most likely attend services on a weekly basis are middle class professionals, that is, educated and making around $60-100 thousand a year.


Number 3 - Married people are much more likely to believe in God and attend services than divorced, widowed or never-married people.


It is pretty interesting stuff, and for Christians who have become accustomed to the usual taunts about religion being the enclave of stupid and or desperate people, to have data that says otherwise is nice.


But is this trend a good thing? As Ryan pointed out, the Bible makes it pretty clear that one's faith in God necessitates a concern for the marginalised members of society, and Jesus made a point of bringing those types of people into his ministry. The question therefore must be asked why those sections of society are turning away from the Church and God or not identifying with the gospel message. There are many possible answers, some not so good and some not so bad, but it is a trend Church leaders should consider.


Ryan also provided data regarding the relationship between religion and politics. In America in particular, religion has played an important part in defining that country's politics. However, in recent times it would appear that many religious folks have ceded the political arena to non-believers. As Ryan’s data shows, it is becoming more apparent that atheists are becoming more politically engaged and believers are not.


The reasons for this are certainly varied, and in some cases, one could argue even justifiable. But as Eric Metaxas has often said recently, Christians have a duty to get involved with the politics of the day, as the consequences of not doing so are all too often tragic.




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