Monday, May 18, 2009

Major religious trends in the 20th century

I just finished an interesting article by Walter Sundberg, a professor of church history, who identified what he thinks are the three major religious trends in 20th century US. They are:

1) The decline of mainline churches and the growth of evangelical churches. Membership rates in mainline denominations, such as the Episcopal, Methodist, and Presbyterian, has dropped considerably while rates in Evangelical churches has increased.

2) The divisive effect of political activism. Some churches (especially mainline, I think he's saying) have formally institutionalized political activism, and this divides churches into liberal and conservative wings, such that the liberals (or conservatives) in a particular denomination have more in common with liberals (or conservatives) in other denominations than conservatives (or liberals) in their own.

3) The separation of church and state. Due to various Supreme Court decisions, we have increasing separation between church and state. So, we no longer have school prayer, public displays of religious symbols, etc....

What do you think? Are there other changes to add to this list?

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