Why is church/religion increasingly ineffective?

In my experience, I am seeing church become less and less relevant, less and less the place where people find community and belonging, less and less influential in local and or global communities. This leads me to question
“Why is this so”?

I don’t claim to have answers to this, but I do have my opinions. Before I begin to throw in my two-cents, I wanted to ask and see what others think. I am hopeful to have comments from people who are part of organized religion and from people outside of that demographic.

So what, increasingly, is the disconnect with church and/or organized religion and people today?

November 2: Wow! I didn’t expect a ton of responses, but I expected a few more than 6 (some here on the blog / others on Facebook). Aren’t there folks out there who are in the church and struggling, or not in the church because of some reason that they would offer up for consideration?

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2 thoughts on “Why is church/religion increasingly ineffective?

  1. Hey Kelley,
    This is a great idea.
    I found a great Gallup page that shows information relating to your topic here:
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/1690/religion.aspx

    Why is religion now less effective? I think the books by Dawkins and Hitchens “God Delusion” and “God is not great” may have had some impact. Although I moved away from the church and belief before I had much exposure to the atheist world view my exposure to it now has really changed my way of thinking. I now appreciate the awesomeness of the universe and the beauty of natural processes and can communicate with others online who think the way I do.
    Information is now more readily available and maybe this is causing people to question the metaphysical claims made in church. We are now more exposed to viewpoints online that originate from outside our localized social circles. I think it is like the story you told me of those two men visiting your class at C.H.C. and asking questions that in a roundabout way caused you to start exploring some of your own beliefs and resulted in you thinking differently. I think that may be what is happening with people now. Judging by the numbers in the Gallup poll it is not a sea-change, but a steady shift.
    You also said the church seems to have less influence in our community than it had previously. I would argue that the church still enjoys a great amount of influence in the community. Churches and church leaders still receive tax breaks that help them to focus their time and effort on spreading their world view. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter all act as a periodic reminder of the christian God. And most influential of all, churches leaders and parents are teaching children to believe the same irrational things they themselves do. This when the children are at an age of unquestioning trust. Although I appreciate the sense of community the church creates for its members, and I agree that this may decline in the coming years, I think that this decline of influence may be to the benefit of mankind in the end.
    Even though I look at the question from a different position, I am interested to hear what people in the church have to report about what is happening. I wonder if the feeling you are getting is part of the same phenomenon recorded in this poll.
    Best of luck with this project!

  2. I’ve always found it helpful to consider this perspective first, before encountering my own frustrations and/or hopelessness about the Church in today’s society… The Church — while we seek to praise a perfect, loving God — is a human institution, run by imperfect humans who will always be trapped by human habits and human tendencies.

    Unless shaped by significant mission-reflection and community outreach, the longer an institution exists, the more it turns inward. What’s unfortunate in my worldview and faith life is that the Church holds a great message and great reason to share it (Jesus) with the world. Sometimes it’s just easier to sit together with the people we’ve known for years, eat our potluck meals, and live in familiarity. Takes many years for us to realize that too much familiarity with no new-ness brings staleness, decline, and death.

    Here’s a blog I read that also speaks to this issue. I really like what he has to say about the old church of 12 people who made a courageous mission decision.

    http://scottlinscott.wordpress.com/2010/10/18/churches-need-to-stop-thinking-with-their-buts/

    http://scottlinscott.wordpress.com/2010/10/24/we-are-leaving-first-baptist-church/

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