Christianity’s Imminent Downfall




      As John Lennon once said, “Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue with that; I’m right, and I will be proved right.” Shortly after John made this bold and unpopular declaration in the 1960s, society began to reveal the truth in his words. Since 1990, the percentage of Christians comprising the US population has been dropping rapidly. For this reason, we should look at recent trends in religious affiliation and extrapolate what they might indicate on an individual basis. We’ll also examine various proposals as to why Christianity is starting on a downward trend and speculate as to which factors may play a part in an individual’s decision to leave the practice of blind faith.


The Numbers

      The United States has finally become the absolute last modernized country to see a sharp drop in the proportion of Christians comprising its population. The landmark ARIS 2001 study indicates that the percentage of Americans who consider themselves Christian has dropped about one percent every year, from 86.2% in 1990 to 76.5% in 2001. Less than half that number will ever satisfy the simplistic purported requirements of entering Heaven. Meanwhile, the percentage of Americans who have no religion grew about one-half percent every year, from 8% in 1990 to 14% in 2001. Furthermore, 13% of Christians joined the faith after belonging to a different religion, while 17% of Christians will eventually leave the faith. On the other hand, 23% of those with no religion left Christianity or some other belief, while only 5% will eventually leave a state of agnosticism/atheism to join a religion.

      What factors could account for the sudden drop in Christian percentages and the increased observance of secular views? If anything, it seems that the percentage of Christians would be rising in America given the dramatic influx of immigrants from predominantly Roman Catholic Mexico. The immigration of people from nations with non-Christian views isn’t high enough to account for this decline. In fact, Hindus and Muslims have only increased an additional 1-2% in the US over this eleven-year span, while the non-religious have acquired an additional 6% over the same period.

      There are also millions of instances where individuals switch from one religion to another. Polls have shown that the most common reason for such changes is the wish of the partner in a relationship. In other words, people are switching religions to please someone else, not God. Without a doubt, there are a large number of people sitting in church every Sunday who couldn’t care less about the preacher’s message, yet the church unknowingly counts them in their Christian census. On the other hand, how often would Christians renounce their faith if an atheist or agnostic partner made a similar request? Consequently, it’s far more likely that a person will switch into a religion to please someone than the other way around. This point allows us to assume that the number of non-religious individuals joining an organized belief artificially inflates the percentage of Christians in America above its already dwindling share.

      To explain this recent positive phenomenon, I propose that an increase in enlightened thinking about scientific discoveries contradicting the Bible and an increasingly global culture have given people a more accurate view of the world as it truly exists. The Internet, for example, has been instrumental in distributing harsh critiques of the work undertaken by Christian authors. Regardless of the cause, one fact is certain: children are no longer remaining with their parents’ Christian religion, as they once were, just because cues in their environment told them that the belief system is true. Some undetermined factor has obviously begun working in America to free people from the bondage of this blatantly false religion. Once a person finally sees the ancient religious myths from an impartial perspective, they’re highly unlikely to return to the previously sacred belief system.


Who Will Be Among The Millions This Year?

      I believe that the decision to denounce the faith and leave the comfortable confines of Christianity has a strong correlation with a combination of two factors: high levels of intelligence and low levels of exposure. From my anecdotal observations, I’ve noticed that individuals who leave Christianity are either fairly intelligent or received relatively less conditioning from their parents. Once I made this discovery, I noticed that those who had both of the aforementioned qualities left at an exceedingly early age, while those who had only one quality left the religion in their late teens or early adulthood. Christians probably won’t deny that a strong influence persuades a person to remain active in church. Likewise, it’s only logical to conclude that a lack of the same influence increases the chances a person will leave the faith. The intelligence element to my hypothesis, on the other hand, is surely insulting and certainly difficult for Christians to swallow. Even so, I strongly feel that a line exists where a certain level of intelligence and a certain level of influence reach equilibrium.

      As I just mentioned, an intelligent person with a low level of Christian influence has the best chance of leaving the religion at a young age, whereas an unintelligent person with a high level of influence is almost certain to remain within the church for life. The interesting scenario created with this hypothesis is that an intelligent person with a high level of influence would have two competitive forces at work. One would seemingly free the individual from bunk religious thought while the other would presumably fight to keep the individual within the faith. Since there are more people who stay within the church than those who leave, we can reasonably assume that the influence is a stronger factor than the intelligence. Similarly, an unintelligent person with a low level of influence has no competitive internal forces at work. Consequently, this individual wouldn’t develop groundbreaking theories on the existence of God or have external influences pressuring them to believe one way or another.

      Weeks after I thought I had written the final draft of this book, I came upon a wealth of experiments collected by Burnham Beckwith and published in the Spring 1986 issue of Free Inquiry that effectively demonstrated parts of my hypothesis. Nearly three-fourths of all studies since the 1920s that investigated a correlation between intelligence and religious affiliation have found that the proportion of atheists, agnostic individuals, and deists increases dramatically as you move up the scale in school grades, exam scores, and IQ tests. The remaining fourth of the studies show no correlation; zero reviews suggested that people in organized religions are more intelligent than those with secular beliefs. The apparent conclusion to draw from the data is that people who are more intelligent tend to disbelieve religious superstitions.

      Additional recent polls, such as the Harris 2003, suggest that individuals who attend college, live in regions of the country where standardized test scores are higher, or belong to the male gender are less likely to believe in the Christian god. (A side note explanation for those of you getting in a huff: Men comprise more than 50% of the extremely intelligent and extremely unintelligent ends of the spectrum. In other words, while the average man and woman are of equal intelligence, men are more likely to be extremely intelligent/unintelligent and less likely to have normal intelligence. Because I suppose that only those near the highly intelligent extreme of the spectrum have an increased chance of escaping the religion, this may explain why the data are skewed toward men.)


We Will Overcome

      As we’ve recently witnessed millions of people becoming more aware of their surroundings by breaking the restraints of the conditioning commonly associated with religion, the percentage of those affiliating themselves with Christianity is currently dropping at a tremendous rate within the United States and the rest of the world. On an individual basis, achieving freedom from this conditioned way of thinking is probably more likely if the individual has a high level of intelligence and/or a low level of Christian influence. For the previously discussed reasons, Christianity has begun quickly losing ground to enlightened and rational thought. However, the deceitfully sinister and scientifically erroneous religion holds its position as an influential and dangerously robust juggernaut in our society. As Thomas Paine once lamented, “These are the times that try men’s souls.” For those of you who are aware of his intended connotation, his statement seems to have taken on an entirely new meaning.